[Sinn Fein]

25th September 2002

Call on Taoiseach for TV debate with Gerry Adams on Nice Referendum

Sinn Fein spokesperson on European Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has criticised the Government for not engaging in real and meaningful debate on the issue of the Nice treaty referendum. Deputy Ó Snodaigh speaking in Greystones this evening called on the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to engage in a TV debate with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``It is becoming clear that the Government parties are not prepared to engage on the issues with the electorate. The scare-mongering and mis-information of the first referendum is being re-commisioned. It didn't work the first time and it won't work now.

``The government parties continue to mis-inform the public by insisting that Ireland will lose power and influence if we vote `No'. The opposite is clearly the case. Another myth is that enlargement cannot take place if Ireland rejects the treaty. In fact there are other avenues available for those states to join, and this is something we fully support.

``Perhaps the biggest lie of all is that voting NO to Nice means withdrawing from the EU. This is simply not true, and the Government knows it. The whole YES campaign is built on a tissue of lies, and that is why they have so far suppressed genuine debate in favour of a glossy, big-bucks PR campaign.

`` We believe that this referendum is of great importance to everybody on the island, and as such deserves a high-profile, proper debate of the issues involved. I call on the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to debate the referendum with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams on live television''

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