[Sinn Fein]

24th May 2002

Sinn Fein TD rejects Bruton's comments

Sinn Fein TD for Dublin South Central and representative to the Forum on Europe, Aengus Ó Snodaigh has rejected John Bruton's assertion that Ireland will be treated as a ``problem child in Europe'' if we reject any future rerun of the Treaty of Nice referendum. He also described the level of debate engaged in by the pro-treaty parties around the central issues as ``contemptible''. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``John Bruton's comments yesterday that Ireland would be treated as a `problem child in Europe' if we reject a rerun of the Treaty of Nice shows how out of touch he is with the electorate. Following his party's disastrous election result the former Fine Gael leader has once again sought to blame others for both his own and his party's failings. Charlie McCreevy, Mary Harney and Michael McDowell were not the reasons why the people rejected the Treaty of Nice. The people rejected the treaty because they had and still have very real concerns about the future development of the European Union. They are particularly concerned about the threat to Irish neutrality that the treaty poses. They are worried about our loss of sovereignty and the right to control our own affairs. They are worried about the development of a two-tier Europe where smaller countries will lose out.

``John Bruton's comments are clear evidence of the contemptible attitude the establishment parties have for the electorate. Instead of tackling the central issues of concern, John Bruton's Fine Gael and others have sought to cajole the electorate into supporting this flawed Treaty with threats and bribery. If Mr Bruton has learned anything from the election campaign it is that he can not take the electorate for granted. Mr Bruton's time in Europe would be better spent ensuring that the Irish people's right to reject this treaty is respected and demanding that our concerns are listened to and acted upon.'' ENDS

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