[Sinn Fein]

11 September 2002

Wood Challenges Distortions on Nice

Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle member Vincent Wood has challenged the distorted message coming from the YES side in the campaign for the re-run of the Nice Treaty referendum.

Speaking after the meeting of the Forum on Europe in Castlebar on Monday, Vincent Wood said:

``It was clear from the tone and content of the contribution of Professor Bridget Laffen, who spoke in favour of the Nice Treaty, that scaremongoring and selective quoting from the Treaty will be the way on which the government and its supporters will conduct this campaign.

``Professor Laffen spent much of her 10 minute opening address attacking Sinn Fein as a party. She also asserted the oft-repeated assertion that the Nice Treaty is necessary for enlargement and that Ireland would be shunned if we dared to vote no.

``This is patent nonsense. The world will not come falling down if the people of this state democratically decide to reaffirm their already expressed rejection of this Treaty. What would happen under these circumstances is that the governments would go back into session and speedily work out a way to facilitate the enlargement process. They would however, be obliged to take stock of what their own citizens are saying about other aspects of the way in which the European Union is developing and address these issues positively. We must surely expect that our government would have the skills and energy to do this.

``This debate is not about our continued involvement within the EU. We should continue to work with the other states in a partnership as equals. This does not mean that we cannot have a voice and Sinn Fein want to see a critical engagement with the EU in the interests of all its citizens and not just vested interests or those who want to see increased centralisation and militarisation.

``People should be alert to attempts by those advocating a yes vote to misrepresent the position of Sinn Fein and others. We will be campaigning vigorously throughout the county and indeed throughout the country to ensure that our position is abundantly clear.'' Said Vincent Wood.ENDS

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