[Sinn Fein]

October 4th 2002

Taoiseach challenged to public debate on Nice

Sinn Fein MP for Mid Ulster Martin McGuinness speaking at the unveiling of a No 2 Nice banner on Parnell Square this morning challenged the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to publicly debate the Nice Treaty with Gerry Adams MP. Mr. McGuinness said:

``With only two weeks to go there has been very little debate on the Nice Treaty and there is very little public awareness on the matter. We believe that this Treaty and the issues, which it raises, are extremely important and need to be debated properly. Therefore I am calling on the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to engage in a public debate with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams on live television.'

Commenting on the issue of enlargement Mr. McGuinness said:

Over the last few weeks there have been many attempts at moral blackmail by those who quite falsely claim that a second rejection of the Treaty of Nice would plunge the enlargement process into chaos and deny the applicant states their chance to come in on an equal basis. This is pure nonsense.  Sinn Fein welcomes new states to the European Union on the basis of equality and it is clear that a rejection of Nice will not and cannot stop the process of enlargement.

``But our vote in this referendum is about the governance of the EU as it stands before enlargement.  It is about creating a two tier EU which will give more power to the larger states, it is about undermining our neutrality and it is about diminishing our voice politically and economically. We are calling on people to reject this flawed Treaty for a second time on October 19th.''ENDS

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