[Sinn Fein]

20 April 1998

Informed debate on Amsterdam Treaty must begin immediately

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP this evening expressed disappointment that the government are continuing with plans to hold the referendum on the Amsterdam Treaty on the 22nd May, especially given the low level of public awareness on this important issue.

Mr. Adams said:

``The decision to hold the referendum on the Amsterdam Treaty on the same day as the referenda on Articles 2, 3 and 29 of the Irish constitution is misguided. Today's report from the Referendum Commission which indicated that only 11% of voters are even aware of the Amsterdam Treaty clearly shows that an insufficient level of public debate has taken place.

``The Amsterdam Treaty is highly complex and has far-reaching consequences for Irish sovereignty and neutrality. It is clear that it needs a detailed and extensive public debate, something that will be difficult in the current circumstances.

``There is now just four weeks to polling day and it is imperative that an informed and balanced public debate begins immediately. Sinn Fein will shortly launch our campaign for a No Vote.''

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