[Sinn Fein]

24 April 2001

Sinn Fein Mayor lashes Taoiseach over Tory slur

Mayor of Sligo and Sinn Fein spokesperson on the Nice Treaty, Sean McManus, today slammed the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for trying to whip up hysteria around the Nice Treaty referendum, and his suggestion that British Tories are financing the `No' campaign in Ireland. Alderman MacManus said:

``Mr. Ahern's accusation that Tory Eurosceptics are financing the `No' campaign in Ireland is an outrageous allegation. By using the bogeyman of the anti-Irish Eurosceptic Tory to create hysteria around the issue of the Nice Treaty the Taoiseach is treating the Irish electorate with utter contempt.

``The desperate nature of Mr. Ahern's remarks suggest that he is losing the `Yes' argument and is now trying to create a false debate around Tory Eurosceptics.

``The reality is that the No campaign in Ireland has nothing in common with Tory Eurosceptics. We are not anti-European but for a Europe of peoples and not big business. The No campaign is a broadbased campaign concerned with the issues of neutrality and soverignity within Europe and not with the gingoism and imperialism of the Tories.

``Mr. Ahern would better serve the people of Ireland by engaging in real debate around the core issues involved in the Treaty and address the real concerns which people have. For example how does the Taoiseach square Ireland's deeply held neutrality with the creation of a European Army.''

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