[Sinn Fein]

17 October 2001

Government must respect wishes of electorate on Nice

Sinn Fein representative to the Forum for Europe, Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described comments from Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowen, that there  will be no change in the text of the Nice Treaty, as deeply insulting to the Irish electorate who rejected the Treaty last June. He said it is time for the government to accept the will of the people and formally request that the other EU governments halt the process of ratification of Nice.

Mr.Ó Snodaigh said:

``Brian Cowen's comments yesterday show a complete disregard for the wishes of the Irish electorate who rejected the Nice Treaty last June.  What he is in effect doing is telling the Irish electorate that because we are small in numbers our voice can be disregarded. The government should be standing up for the wishes of the electorate and not trying to railroad through the Nice Treaty.

``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. Cowen's comments will just add to such concerns.''

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