[Sinn Fein]

18th February 2003

Dublin Sinn Fein show their support for Irish Neutrality

Sinn Fein members in Dublin will demonstrate their support for Neutrality in front of Leinster House at 6.30 this evening to coincide with a Dáil debate on the Sinn Fein Private Members Bill on Neutrality. The Bill seeks to enshrine neutrality into the Irish Constitution and to make the Government accountable to the Dáil in relation to facilitating or participating in any war or other armed conflict.

Speaking in advance of the debate, spokesperson on International Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said:

``Neutrality has been rendered meaningless by this Government allowing Shannon Airport and Irish Airspace to be used in the US war effort. The truth behind their lies in the Nice Treaty campaign is now clear for all to see.

``100,000 people marched against war and in support of Irish Neutrality in Dublin last Saturday. This proves that the government is not just out of step with the Irish people - they are walking in the opposite direction.

Sinn Fein is now offering the Government a second chance. We are giving them the opportunity to listen to the people and support neutrality. We are also calling on them to allow their members a free vote on the issue as it is clear that many in the senior Coalition party are uneasy at the stance being taken by the Government. ENDS

Sinn Fein Dáil Group Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD will introduce the bill in the Dáil at 7pm tonight, Tuesday 18th.

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