[Sinn Fein]

29th September 2002

Taoiseach losing the run of himself on Nice

Sinn Fein TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe, on the canvas trail in Tallaght this afternoon, has accused the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern of losing the run of himself and deliberately misleading the public on the Treaty of Nice. He said: ``With statements like this coming from the Taoiseach this morning, it is time to ask who are the real dim bats in this debate. Deputy Crowe said:

``As the Taoiseach is well aware this referendum is not about our membership of the EU and there is nobody advocating that Ireland be anything less than active participants. For him to suggest that the rejection of the Nice Treaty for a second time would represent a withdrawal from full engagement with Europe is disgraceful and inaccurate. In an increasingly desperate approach we have seen their campaign reduced to doomsday scenarios and bullyboy tactics.

``The Nice Treaty is about fundamentally changing the structures of the EU in favour of the larger states and at huge cost - politically and economically - to Ireland and others, including the applicant states. It is about ending the EU as a partnership of equals.

``On October 19th the people will decide on the Nice Treaty and it is the duty and responsibility of the government and other EU members to respect this decision.''

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