1st November 2001
Nice rejection due to concerns at the dilution of Irish neutrality
Sinn Fein's representative to the National Forum on Europe Aengus Ó Snodaigh speaking following the publication of the results of a survey entitled `Attitudes and behaviour of the Irish electorate in the referendum on the treaty of Nice' said `This survey indicates that the reasons why people voted No to Nice have little to do with the enlargement issue and everything to do with the dilution of Ireland's neutrality.' He criticised the government's appalling handling of the campaign, which saw a substantial number of people not voting because they did not have sufficient information on the issue. Mr. Ó Snodaigh said:
``I welcome the publication of this report and it's finding that 40% of the people favour the strengthening of Irish neutrality, while only 19% would accept limitations on it. I also welcome the finding that 41% of the people say they are in favour of enlargement while only 15% are against it. It is obvious from these figures that the reasons why people voted No to Nice have little to do with the enlargement issue and everything to do with the dilution of Ireland's neutrality. I share their concern and believe that they judged wisely. I also share the concern that 50% feel that the larger member states have too much power. There is an urgent need to address the democratic deficit at all levels of decision making at European level. There is a need for greater democratisation of these institutions.
``I believe the most important finding of the survey is that, of the people who abstained from voting in the referendum, if they had voted 20% would have voted No, and only 10% would have voted Yes.
``The survey found that the primary reason people abstained in the vote is because they did not have enough information. This is an appalling indictment of the government's handling of the referendum campaign.
``What this survey does show is that even if the government attempt to ignore the will of the people and re-run the Nice Treaty it will be resoundingly defeated.''
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