[Sinn Fein]

24th June 2002

Ahern should withdraw offensive remarks - Ó Snodaigh

Sinn Fein TD for Dublin South Central and party representative to the Forum on Europe, Aengus Ó Snodaigh has called on the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs to withdraw their grossly offensive remarks about Anti-Nice campaigners and to engage in a mature debate on the central issues surrounding the Treaty. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``The Taoiseach's comments at the Seville Summit about those who campaigned against the Treaty of Nice were grossly offensive and are far removed from the rationale debate that is needed on this issue. In his comments the Taoiseach is obviously questioning the integrity and sincerity of the Irish people who rejected a flawed Treaty. He should withdraw them immediately.

``Mr Ahern is using his insulting comments to try and cloud the issues of the Nice Treaty debate, which extend far beyond neutrality. But even on neutrality his government has failed the Irish people. His declaration on neutrality is not legally binding.

``Sinn Fein will continue to oppose this Treaty. We will not be bullied nor brow-beaten in to accepting what is a bad deal for Ireland, a bad deal for the people of Europe and a bad deal for applicant states. The arrogance of European leaders who have pursued this Treaty without seeking sanction from their own citizens is obviously reflected in the arrogant comments of the Taoiseach and his Foreign Affairs minister. The issues that were of concern in the first Treaty of Nice campaign are still there. They have not gone away. For our part we will again urge people to ignore the emotional and political blackmail and reject this treaty a second time.''

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