[Sinn Fein]

11th October 2002

Gerry Adams spoke to An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern

Irish government to press ahead with outstanding elements of Agreement

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP spoke to the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at lunchtime today and said that he had been assured that the Irish government is determined to press ahead with all the outstanding elements of the Good Friday Agreement. Mr. Adams is in Galway today to campaign for the rejection of the Nice Treaty. Mr. Adams said:

``I have been assured by the Taoiseach that the Irish government is determined to press ahead with all the outstanding elements of the Good Friday Agreement. 

``Obviously this will be disrupted, certainly as far as the institutions are concerned, by the unionist exodos but there can be no veto over justice, human rights, equality, policing and demilitarisation and other matters.

``The unionist gameplan, as agreed at the most recent UUC conference, is very obvious and has of course been aided by developments last week.

``This is a time for calm and measured leadership and for dealing with the needs of all the people and all of the issues of the Agreement, not following a UUP wishlist dictated by the electoral battle within unionism.''ENDS

Speaking to almost one thousand students in UCG this afternoon in relation to the Nice Treaty Mr. Adams said:

``Sinn Fein wants an EU where all the member states are equal partners, not one where the biggest states set the agenda and dictate the pace of development. We don∂t want to lose our EU Commissioner, We don∂t want to see a reduction in the voting rights for smaller states. However we do want to see an end to the undemocratic and unaccountable EU Commission, which was dismissed in disgrace three years ago, guilty of corruption, cronyism and misappropriation of resources.

``The Nice Treaty does nothing to start this process. In fact it gives us more committees with more unelected and unaccountable officials. It does nothing to tackle the lack of transparency in decision making within the EU structures.

``The Nice Treaty also has serious implications for neutrality. The Political and Security Committee creates a mechanism to run and plan the activities of the EU∂s 80,000 strong Rapid Reaction Force. We want to see the 26 Counties articulate a positive neutrality, to be a voice campaigning for nuclear disarmanent and against an international weapons industry leading states to squander valuable resources in needless defence spending. We want to see a strong UN making positive interventions on human and civil rights issues.

``It is our responsibility as a wealthy European state to recognise that through our membership of the EU and as part of the developed industrialized world, we too have an international responsibility to other nations and regions whose economies are less developed than ours and are suffering negative impacts because of policies pursued by the EU.

``We want the EU to think again and we want the Irish Government to return to the negotiating table and win a better deal not just for the 26 Counties but for all of the smaller states. These are all important issues that need to be discussed and debated by all the Irish people. Voting No to Nice again will force the political establishment to finally enter that debate.''ENDS

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