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Crumlin to the Kremlin in an international focused debate

If politics typically tilts towards the local, the opening act of this debate had its eye firmly focused on international affairs.

Quite apt perhaps, as eight of the 23 candidates in the four-seat Dublin constituency were asked what unique skills they could bring to the European Parliament.

Obviously past records came under the spotlight too.

And with that came a piece of caustic advice from the usually mild-mannered outgoing Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews as he urged Independent Clare Daly to think more about Crumlin than the Kremlin.

Clare Daly was assertive in her reply and contended that sending weapons to Ukraine will only prolong the war.

She then asked Barry Andrews to set out his plan to end the war.

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The impact of wars is something that is leading to a big increase in the number of people seeking asylum here.

However, the response of Government and the rising levels of checks by gardaí at the border and elsewhere amount to nothing more than “performative cruelty”, according to the Social Democrats’ Sinéad Gibney.

She argued that the rising migrant numbers, so often referred to, are not the problem, but rather it is the system and the poor Government response that is creating difficulties.

Then the debate meandered its way to that subject which appears to have irked a great many Dubliners.

Yes, it is cycle lanes.

Although even that had an international tinge to it when the Greens’ Ciarán Cuffe lambasted Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty over her spiky comments that Dublin’s cycle lanes at times resemble the Berlin Wall.

As all sense of the government collective was dispensed with, he accused his coalition colleague of spouting things that one would hear at the end of bar at closing time around 30 years ago.

He did not leave it there and went to compare her to “George Hook on a bad day”.

Regina Doherty explained that the Greens had not brought the people with them and she contends that there are dangerous cycle lanes in Dublin these days.

And she suggested that Fine Gael had actually voted for more environmental laws in the European Parliament than, wait for it, the Green Party.

But the absence of unity on climate issues was not unique to the Government parties.

Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan took a different view to her colleague Chris McManus on the nature restoration measures passed by the European Parliament.

When asked to explain, Senator Boylan kept the focus on what she believes is the Government’s failure to plan for a just transition.

The root of most of the climate problems stems from the economic model according to PBP-Solidarity candidate Bríd Smith.

She complained that no one wanted to take down the big boys of capitalism for the sake of climate.

Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordán struggled to find his inner optimist in the face of such existential bleakness.

The paucity of solidarity on climate as demonstrated by the jousting Regina Doherty and Ciarán Cuffe left him particularly glum.

He pondered how they could bring the people with them if they can’t bring each other along the climate journey?

That’s a big question, but we do know that the Euro election campaign journey has just two days left to run.

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