[Sinn Fein]

27 July 2001

Fine Gael out of touch with electorate

Sinn Fťin spokesperson on EU Affairs Sean MacManus has described Fine Gael’s Jim O’Keeffe’s comments on Morning Ireland in relation to the proposed EU Forum as “deeply insulting and completely out of touch with people’s concerns regarding EU political and economic integration”.

Alderman MacManus said:

“Listening this morning it was unclear whether Jim O’Keeffe’s was being deliberately insulting to the electorate or whether his party is entirely out of touch with the concerns of ordinary people and the alienation that they feel from EU politics. “Mr. O’Keeffe said that we now need to re-formulate proposals, go back to the people with another referendum and then we can discuss the post Nice issues.

“It is clear that many of the electorate were concerned about key issues including the lack of democracy and accountability within European institutions, the process of political and economic integration itself and the undermining of this state’s neutrality.

“Furthermore there was much confusion as EU ministers put forward diametrically opposing views on where the future of Europe lay. It is important that we know the views of Irish political parties in this regard. Are they content to along with integration without comment or do they support a federation of states, a European government or some other new structures?

“People want a full debate now on the future of Europe and what it means. The purpose of the Forum should be to raise informed public debate and to come forward with proposals for a long-term institutional framework for debate on EU laws and policies rather than agreed solutions to the future of Europe.”

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