[Sinn Fein]

12th December 2002

McDowell hardline on QMV ``better late than never'' - Ó Snodaigh

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Justice Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has welcomed Justice Minister McDowell's statement opposing the extension of Qualified Majority Voting to matters of substantive criminal law, and insisting that Ireland must retain a veto over EU measures in Justice and Home Affairs. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``The Minister's public recognition that the removal of veto powers is a move towards an EU superstate is better late than never. It is unfortunate that the Minister was unwilling to argue this position during the most recent Nice referendum. However, I welcome his statement today.

``I would agree that retaining Ireland's veto over matters of criminal law is a cornerstone to protecting Irish sovereignty in the EU context. I agree this is a crucial issue in the next phase of developments on the future of the EU. Therefore I have indicated to the Minister that I would be willing to participate in any discussions on this matter between himself and the party spokespersons on justice, and the EU.

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