[Sinn Fein]

20 April 2001

Sinn Fein TD criticises Labour Party on Treaty of Nice

Speaking at an International Conference on the relevance of James Connolly in the 21st Century Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called for a NO vote in the Nice referendum and criticised the Labour Party for its stand on the issue. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``The Nice Treaty is a further major stage in the transformation of the EU from a community of partner states, each with an equal voice regardless of their population size, towards a single superstate, dominated by the largest EU countries. A NO vote in this State would allow for a renegotiation to protect Irish neutrality and to signal the opposition of Irish people to the creation of a militarised EU with its own army.

``When Nice was negotiated the leader of the Labour Party Ruairí Quinn described the outcome as ``a disaster'' and an ``appalling setback''. Then on 3 April in the Dáil Deputy Quinn pledged his party's support for a Yes vote in the referendum to approve Nice. The Labour Party's position has no credibility.''

Deputy Ó Caoláin also said that successive Irish governments had failed to achieve an equitable society as envisaged by James Connolly. He said: ``Where is equality in a society that has 30,000 people suffering illness and even death on public hospital waiting lists while wealth can buy instant access to the best care in the flourishing private healthcare business?''

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