[Sinn Fein]

15th July 2002

Labour TD accused of ``stoking the fires of racial tension''

Sinn Fein spokesperson on European Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has accused Labour's Kathleen Lynch of ``stoking the fires of racial tension'' with her remarks about asylum seekers and immigrants and of ``pandering to a minority view'' that wished to ``cynically'' use the issue in the run up to the second referendum on Nice. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``Kathleen Lynch is cynically using the issue of asylum seekers and immigrants in the run-up the second referendum on Nice to create an artificial debate and to cloud the central issues on which people rejected the referendum the first time around.

``The reasons for the Nice Treaty's rejection were many: concern at the future loss of Ireland's commissioner, the democratic deficit of the European Union, the creation of a two-speed Europe and the increasing erosion of Ireland's neutrality. ``But immigration is not an issue in this referendum.

``Indeed the primary issue is democracy. Not only did the government not implement the referendum result they openly defied it. democratic sovereignty, the creation of a two-tier Europe and the implications ``Ms Lynch could be accused of stoking the fires of racial tension and of pandering to a minority view that seeks to lay the blame for society's ills at the door of asylum seekers and immigrants. ``As elected representatives and people in leadership positions we all have a responsibility to ensure that the `race card' plays no part in this referendum campaign. I would call on the Leader of the Labour Party, Ruairi Quinn to instruct his Cork North Central deputy to desist from making such comments in the future.''

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