[Sinn Fein]

28ú Feabhra 2002

EU convention - Opportunity to highlight Irish concerns

Sinn Fein's representative on the Forum on Europe, Aengus O'Snodaigh has called on the government to use the EU convention, which begins today, to highlight the concerns of the Irish people on the direction that the EU is taking. Speaking at a meeting of the Forum on Europe in Galway Mr. O'Snodaigh said:

``The people of this state rejected the Nice Treaty yet the government has failed to respect their wishes. The EU convention must be informed of Ireland's decision and of the concerns that the electorate expressed when voting against the Nice Treaty.

``The Irish representatives to the convention, Proinsias De Rossa, John Bruton, and Ray McSharry would hardly inspire confidence in those of us who campaigned for a no Vote during the Nice campaign. The fact that the government failed to include somebody from the `No to Nice' side as a full delegate is another indication of the contempt that this government has shown towards the democratic wishes of the people.

``However, the reality is that the current representatives still have an opportunity to articulate the views of the majority of those who voted. They must state that it is the lack of democracy in European institutions and not the issue of enlargement that resulted in the No vote.

``The EU convention discussions are extremely important. It is vital that the Irish people are fully aware of what issues will be raised and that the process if fully open to democratic accountability.  If the Irish representatives fail to outline the concerns expressed during the referendum campaign they will be doing the electorate and the convention itself a disservice.''

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