[Sinn Fein]

23rd September 2002

``Responsibility for deception is wider than Finance Minister'' - Ó Caoláin

``We need a second general election not a re-run of Nice''

Sinn Fein's Dáil leader and Finance spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the government's deliberate deception of the public means there is need for a second General Election not a re-run of the Nice referendum. He said:

``The secret memos issued by the Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy TD shortly after the General Election clearly show that the Minister and the Government as a whole deliberately deceived the public in order to secure office. It is inconceivable that the Minister for Finance and the Taoiseach did not know the true state of the public finances in the run-up to the General Election when they promised that there would be no cutbacks.

``Are we expected to believe that proposals for ¤900 million in public spending cutbacks were being prepared without the knowledge of the Minister or the Taoiseach?

``The State is currently going through a second referendum on the Treaty of Nice on which we have already voted. It is a second general election we need, not a re-run of Nice, because the government secured office under false pretences.

``The Government is fooling itself if it believes these revelations will not impact on the Nice referendum. People should vote on the basis of the content of the Treaty and on that basis they should Vote No. But trust is also an issue. The Government asked people to trust them that there would be no cutbacks. They asked people to trust them that they would implement their decision on Nice 1. They asked them to trust them with Irish neutrality. Having failed to keep trust with the electorate they cannot now expect them to ignore that record.''ENDS

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