31st August 2002
No vote will teach FF/PD government a lesson - Ó Caoláin
Sinn Fein TD and party group leader in Leinster House Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin speaking this afternoon at a party conference on the Treaty of Nice said that this Government has treated the electorate with contempt. He said ``The Government defied democracy in the wake of the last Nice referendum. They totally disregarded the trust placed in them by the electorate and they did so once again in the wake of this year's General Election.''
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
``In the forthcoming referendum the people of this State have the opportunity to reiterate their decision and to send a positive and powerful signal throughout Europe that the direction of the EU project must be fundamentally re-examined. A second NO vote would be a victory for the ordinary citizens throughout the EU and in the applicant countries. It would place the citizens and the electorate where they should be ? in the driving seat. It would help to reclaim democratic control of an EU which is not accountable to the people and which is burdened with bureaucracy and centralisation.
``A second NO vote will teach the Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats government a badly needed lesson. This Government has treated the electorate with contempt. When the people voted against the Treaty of Nice the government refused to implement their decision. Worse than that, they openly defied it. Within days of the vote the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs told the other EU governments to proceed with ratification of Nice despite the rejection of the Treaty by this State.
``The very holding of this referendum is a travesty of democracy. The people are being asked to keep voting until they come up with the right result from the Government's point of view. This devalues the entire referendum process.
``The fundamental issue in the Nice Referendum Mark 2 is democracy and trust. The Government defied democracy in the wake of the last Nice referendum. They totally disregarded the trust placed in them by the electorate and they did so once again in the wake of this year's General Election.
``During the General Election we were promised that there would be no cutbacks in public services. Since polling day, and while the Dáil has been in recess, we have seen a series of cutbacks in health, education, housing and international aid - all in flagrant breach of the pre-election commitments of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. Once again they have broken trust with the people.
``How can we possibly trust them when they claim that the Treaty of Nice does not undermine Irish neutrality, Irish independence and Irish democracy?''
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