[Sinn Fein]

26th October 2001

Ó Snodaigh challenges FF on Nice Treaty result

Sinn Fein's representative to the National Forum on Europe Aengus Ó Snodaigh, speaking following the Forum's second meeting, said that the government can run but they can't hide from the result of the Nice Treaty. He said that it is time that the government came clean and told us whether they respect the will of the people. It is time they asked the other EU countries to stop the process of ratification as Ireland has rejected this Treaty. Mr. Ó Snodaigh said:

``Yesterday at the second meeting of the EU Forum we were looking at EU enlargement and the lack of democracy within EU institutions. But what is the point of looking at the issue of democracy if there is already a pre-determined decision on the part of the Irish government to ignore the result of the Nice Treaty and to re-run it the earliest available opportunity.

``It was very revealing during yesterday's discussions when one of the Fianna Fáil delegation described the Nice Treaty referendum as a non-vote rather than a no vote.

And despite being asked repeatedly members of the government refused to state whether they accept or reject the result of the Nice Treaty and the will of the people.

``Last week's EU summit, which floated proposals for a new EU government, showed that the process of EU integration is gathering pace, rather than pausing and take stock of the Nice Treaty referendum result in Ireland, and the growing concerns of EU citizens across the 15 member states. These concerns were actually noted at the summit, yet is only getting lip service from within the EU's power structures.

``The fact that the Nice ratification process is still ongoing sends a clear message to the Irish people. It says that because we are small in numbers, our voice can be disregarded. The Irish government should immediately formally request the other EU governments to halt the process of ratification of the Nice Treaty.''

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