[Sinn Fein]

11 December 2001

Sutherland's threats to Irish people disgraceful

Sinn Fein representative to the National Forum on Europe Aengus Ó Snodaigh  has described Peter Sutherland's threats to the Irish people - when he warned of dire consequences if there is a second No vote on Nice - as `disgraceful'. Mr. Ó Snodaigh said:

``As a former EU Commissioner Mr. Sutherland is fully aware that the ratification of the Nice Treaty required the support of all EU member states. The Irish people voted no, therefore the Nice Treaty no longer exists. The government should be standing up for the wishes of the electorate and not trying to railroad through the Nice Treaty.

``Mr. Sutherland states that a failure to reverse the No vote would raise questions as to how we could remain full members of the EU. This is a disgraceful comment. I would ask if the people of France or Germany or Spain had refused to ratify the Nice Treaty would Mr. Sutherland's views be the same. Of course not, if it were any of these countries his reaction would be very different. Indeed the treaty would be back on the drawing board.

``Sinn Fein is totally opposed to a replay of the referendum. The people have rejected the Nice Treaty and therefore this State cannot ratify it. It is our view that the reaction to the referendum result reinforces what we have said about the undemocratic nature of the drive to deepen EU integration. Mr. Sutherland's comments will just add to such concerns.''ENDS

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