[Sinn Fein]

12th June 2002

Neutrality needs to be enshrined in constitution

Sinn Fein TD for Dublin South West Sean Crowe, speaking as Bertie Ahern visits Helsinki and Stockholm to discuss the contents of a declaration on Irish neutrality in advance of the EU summit in Seville has called on the Taoiseach to explain why the government will not support bringing forward legal protection for Irish neutrality. Deputy Crowe said:

``A key concern for the electorate, over the last number of years, is the ongoing militarisation of the EU and the impact of this on our neutrality. This is not just in relation to the Nice Treaty but successive treaties including Maastricht and Amsterdam.

``A declaration on Irish neutrality is a political move it will have no legal effect and more importantly has no effect on the Nice Treaty. Sinn Fein is proposing that Irish neutrality be enshrined in the constitution, only then can it be guaranteed.

``Key to Sinn Fein's position both on the Nice Treaty and the EU itself are the issues of democracy and transparency. These are not and cannot be subservient to the issue of institutional efficiency as some people seem to believe.''

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