[Sinn Fein]

11th October 2002

Sinn Fein to table Dáil motion supporting enlargement

The leader of Sinn Fein in the Dáil, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, has announced that the party is tabling a Dáil motion declaring support for enlargement of the EU. He said they were seeking the support of all parties and Independents for the motion which, he said, should be passed before the referendum on the Treaty of Nice. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``The Dáil should reflect the view of all parties and the vast majority of citizens that EU enlargement is positive. Both sides in the Nice Treaty referendum debate favour enlargement. We welcome new member states to the EU if their people vote for membership. They must, of course, also meet the democratic and human rights standards stipulated in the Copenhagen Criteria.

``When the idea of a Dáil declaration of support for enlargement was raised by EU Commission officials this week, the Tánaiste Mary Harney rejected it and said that such a declaration after the referendum would flout the will of the people. This is rich coming from a member of the Government which deliberately defied our referendum decision last year. But it also raises the question: `Why not make the declaration before the referendum?'

``This Dáil declaration of support for enlargement would make it crystal clear to all EU member states and applicants that the Irish people support enlargement and that if the Treaty is rejected by referendum a second time, it will not be on the basis of opposition to enlargement.

``I have today written to all party leaders and independent deputies seeking support for this motion in the Dáil next week.''

Text of motion

``That the Dáil fully supports the enlargement of the European Union and welcomes the forthcoming accession of new States to the Union, providing that is the expressed will of their people in referenda in each applicant State, and that they fulfil the democratic and human rights standards stipulated in the Copenhagen Criteria.''

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