Further to my post "Nobody loves you..." I would like to do three things.
Firstly apologize to some people.
Secondly clarify the situation and thirdly stand by at least some of my guns.
The apology does and should come first. I apologize unreservedly for the following words in my comments
"What is not false is that even the civil servants who came to Strasbourg this week - and yes I can name them all - refused to meet Mary Lou. That is an incontrovertible and documented fact. (Yes I have the documents).",
and for the following words in my update,
"but the "senior officials" still snubbed".
As MLF (part of the final delegation) so clearly points out in the comments
"We didn't refuse to meet anyone. All meetings were cancelled when the delegation pulled out, there was no scope for meetings with civil servants in isolation, the thought wasn't even raised. You are making false allegations about the actions of the Irish civil service and implying political motivation in what is a fictional circumstance. We are a professional apolitical body and would not operate in the manner you claim."
At no point were the team of civil servants from the Dail's delegation offered a meeting with Mary Lou McDonald. They have behaved in a professional manner as should be expected of them and my comments were unwarranted, damaging and wrong. For that I am sorry.
From what I understand a group of TDs from the Dail's Scrutiny Committee expressed an interest to meet up with European Parliamentarian's who were involved in the Lisbon Process or area of Justice and Home Affairs. This interest was transmitted to the European Parliament. The recipient of the request forwarded the request to the secretariats of the relevant Committees and groups (Meetings were set up with Guntars Krasts MEP, member of the Co-ordination Group on the Lisbon Strategy and former PM of Latvia), Karl-Heinz Florenz MEP, Chairman of the Environment Committee, Edward McMillan Scott MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for Relations with National Parliaments, and Phillip Whitehead, Chairman of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection).
At the same time an attempted meeting was set up with the Committee on Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), this meeting was pencilled in for 16.00 hrs on the 22nd.
By the 27th January this message had been forwarded to the Committee;
"They would like to meet the Chair or a Vice-chair of various committees of the EP, among which, the LIBE committee.
I am sending you, for information, the preliminary draft agenda of this visit. For the time being the only indication I received wos (sic) from the GUE group (Mrs.Mary Lou McDonald)."
This information was sent back to the TDs, who made their decision.
When the final agenda was created the meeting with LIBE had been cancelled and in its place the meeting with Mr Krasts had been organised as a replacement.
Of course right at the end of the process the TDs pulled out due, I am informed, to the by-elections at home. Therefore the entire visit was rejigged partly for protocol purposes. The meetings with MEPs were pulled and instead the Dail delegation met up with appropriate civil servants.
Again I apologise unreservedly for the slur on the reputation for impartiality I made towards the final visiting delegation.
However I stand by the fact that the meeting with Mary Lou was cancelled by the TDs, before they decided not to come at all.