[Sinn Fein]

21 June 2001

Second Nice referendum would be defeated - Ó Caoláin

In his meeting today with EU Commission President Romano Prodi Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin stated that if the Nice Treaty was put in a second referendum it would be defeated by an even larger majority. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``I told Romano Prodi that Sinn Fein welcomed the outcome of the referendum as a victory for Irish democracy. I made clear to him that public opposition to the Nice Treaty has, if anything, increased since the referendum. This is because there is widespread anger at the way in which the Irish government and other EU governments have reacted to the result.

``I put it to him that if the French people or the German people had rejected the Treaty in a referendum they would not be told by the other governments and the Commission that the ratification process must carry on regardless and when every state had ratified the Nice Treaty it would return to France or Germany a second time. This is what we are being told in Ireland because we are a small state.

``If the referendum is replayed with the same Treaty put before the people then we would campaign against it once again and we believe that it would be rejected by an even larger majority. There has to be real debate and real change in the direction of the EU. page 1 of 2

``Romano Prodi claimed there was nothing in the Treaty about neutrality. I totally reject that claim and the Irish electorate has rejected it by their No vote. The response of the EU and member states, and most especially of our own government has only confirmed us in our view that though a part of the EU we have no democratic say as to its structuring and development.''

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