[Sinn Fein]

16 April 1998

Sinn Fein call for postponement of Amsterdam Treaty

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP is contacting the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to ask that the referendum on the Amsterdam Treaty be postponed to ensure that a proper debate can take place regarding the provisions of the treaty and its negative consequences for the Irish people.

Mr. Adams said:

``The Irish government are currently proposing that the referendum on the Amsterdam Treaty take place on the same day as the referenda on Articles, 2, 3 and 29 of the Irish constitution. Both these referenda involve significant changes to the political structure and environment of the 26 counties and will impact on the whole island. They require seperate and extensive public debates.

``In the case of the Amsterdam Treaty voters are being asked to decide on something that needs a 176 page White Paper to outline the proposals and declarations in it.

``In recent months we have voiced our concern that voters in the 26 Counties have had access to very little information regarding the Amsterdam Treaty. There has been almost no public debate regarding its consequences for Irish sovereignty and neutrality. Clearly this is not a correct manner in which to conduct a referendum.

``I am contacting the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern this evening to ask that the Irish government postpone the Amsterdam Treaty and ensure that all voters are properly informed as to the provisions of the treaty. Furthermore in facilitating this debate it is essential that equal resources are given to opinion for and against the treaty.

``Sinn Fein are calling for a No Vote in the Amsterdam Treaty. We believe that if passed it would have profound implications for Irish sovereignty and neutrality and would commit Ireland to a European military alliance.

``Sinn Fein are totally committed to a position of neutrality and non-alignment, both in the context of the 26 Counties and in a future 32 County state. We believe that the Irish government should aim to promote European and International Security through a policy of disarmament and demilitarisation.''

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