Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - As a member of Scotland's Party of Independence, the SNP, I congratulate the Irish Government for the exemplary manner in which it conducted its six-month presidency. Ireland, a member state smaller than Scotland, has provided inspiration to those of us who aspire to see Scotland resuming all of the normal powers of an independent nation, speaking for ourselves in the International Community, and cooperating with our neighbours on terms which suit Scotland's priorities - not London's. Ireland, with healthy economic growth, continues to demonstrate how to gain maximum benefit from EU membership, while Scotland lags behind in terms of job opportunities and is suffering a decline in population. I look forward to the day when Scots ministers will sit alongside Irish in the Council of Ministers, as equal partners with full rights to negotiate and vote, putting Scotland's interests first and not, as at present, merely acting as bag-carriers for their Westminster bosses.

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