Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has congratulated the Men's Sheds movement on being nominated for a European Citizens Prize. The Ireland South MEP pledged her support to the group as she hosted a delegation of representatives from Men's Sheds across the country to the European Parliament in Brussels.
"Firstly, I want to congratulate the Men's Sheds movement on the well deserved nomination," she said. "For years Men's Sheds have been quietly providing an invaluable service to communities across the country and it is long past time that service was recognised. I have been a long time supporter of Men's Sheds, having visited several of them across my own constituency and I have never failed to be impressed by the incredible work they do, especially considering the meager government support they are given. That's why I felt it was important to bring this delegation out here so that representatives from the movement themselves could explain directly to EU and Irish Government officials the hugely important work they do and the support they need to keep doing it. Men's Sheds are facing a number of issues threatening their survival, including a lack of facilities and greedy insurance companies holding them to ransom with outrageous premiums. These are all issues that local and national government can help with. Local councils could row in behind the movement simply by providing disused council land or buildings for the sheds. This would be an inexpensive way of helping to provide a priceless service to local communities. Similarly, the Government could examine the actions of insurance companies when it comes to Men's Sheds to ensure there are no unscrupulous business practices happening. Indeed, there are precedents for such actions. Last year I raised the possibility of a cartel operating within the motor insurance industry and asked the European Commission to launch an investigation which was subsequently carried out, so there are things we can do to challenge these premiums. It is my hope that these discussions, coupled with the publicity they will receive from the European Citizen's Prize nomination, will bring the Men's Sheds to the attention of the Government and get them the support they deserve."