[Sinn Fein]

26th September 2002

Adams launches Sinn Fein No 2 Nice Campaign

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking at the launch of the party's No to Nice campaign described the government's decision to re-run the referendum as an `a lá carte' attitude to democracy and called on people to come out and vote No to Nice for a second time.

Commenting on the statement from the 10 applicant states Mr. Adams said he recognised the desire of the applicant states to join with us in the EU. And in calling for a No vote we are seeking an inclusive EU, where all states - current members and accession states - are treated equally. He welcomed the fact that the applicant states respected the right of the Irish people to take our own sovereign decision which is more than the Irish government did following the referendum defeat last year. Mr. Adams said:

``On October 19th people are going to the polls for a second time to vote on the Nice Treaty. This is a vital vote for the Irish people. It is an opportunity to have a real say in the future development of the European Union. Over the last few weeks we have listened to a lot of scaremongering, bullying and negative campaigning but we have heard very little positive debate, very little discussion on issues central to the long term future of the EU.

``Sinn Fein is an Irish republican party. We value our sovereignty and want to see it strengthened, not eroded. The EU already has a huge democratic deficit, one which Nice did absolutely nothing to redress. On the contrary Nice would move decision making even further away from the individual citizen, from the local communities they live in and from the governments they democratically elect.

``More and more people are beginning to ask if the gradual erosion of our sovereignty and our neutrality has gone too far. Many more people are beginning to see that we have ceded too much control to unaccountable institutions.

``These are isues that not only affect Ireland and current EU members, they also impact on the applicant states. Sinn Fein is for an incusive Europe. We are in favour of enlargement with all states being treated equally, not a two tier superstate.

``Sinn Fein wants to see a new EU Treaty based on the EU as a partnership of equals. We want to see our democratic rights protected, not eroded. We want to be part of an EU that does not prevent us from deciding how to spend our own money.

``I am calling on people to come out and rejecte this treaty for a second time in order to build a better Europe for all.''

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