[Sinn Fein]

19 May 1998

Adams in referendum call

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking in Dublin today following a meeting of the party's Ard Chomhairle said:

``There are two important decisions to be made by the people of the island this Friday. One relates to the Amsterdam Treaty and the other to the Good Friday document. In relation to the Amsterdam Treaty we are calling for a NO vote. The government's handling of this issue has ensured there has been no informed debate and the result is that the majority of people know little or nothing about the Amsterdam Treaty. We are recommending that if you don't know Vote NO.

``The Amsterdam Treaty if passed will have major consequences for the Irish people both in relation to the creation of a European super state and in relation to neutrality. The only guarantee for further protection of our neutrality is for the people to reject the Amsterdam Treaty, for the government to return to the negotiating table and seek a protocol similar to that obtained by Denmark, and to hold a new referendum so that neutrality is protected by a definite clause in the constitution.

Commenting on the Good Friday Document Mr. Adams said:

``Sinn Fein are supporting the agreement. Our party's Ard Fheis endorsed the Ard Chomhairle's recommendation for a yes/yes vote north and south. Republicans and nationalists do have reservations and concerns about aspects of the agreement and the decision taken was not lightly. Sinn Fein has acted decisively and with political responsibility and courage. We have taken our responsibilities in this whole process very seriously and have lived up to them.

''There is real concern at the threats emanating from sections of Unionism that their intention is to halt progress in the assembly and in the setting up of the all Ireland bodies. I think there will be all sorts of efforts made to prevent the type of change which has been promised and which has the potential to move the situation towards a peace settlement.

``The real problem that Unionism has relates to the prospect of change, of equality and for the first time ever having to recognise Sinn Fein's right to represent those who vote `dfor us. There can be no preconditions put on Sinn Fein's right to exercise our mandate. But Sinn Fein is confident of our ability to keep up the momentum on all those aspects of the agreement that we fought so hard to secure - equality, demilitarisation, the all-Ireland dimension.

``I have tried to assure unionists that we want to deal with them and their leaders in a good faith way and I expect the same of them. Unionists leaders still won't talk to us. They still won't recognise the rights of that section of people who vote for our party in both states on this island. There has to be give and take in all of this. I would simply appeal to unionists voters who are doubtful about how they should vote to be motivated by their hopes for the future, to be motivated by their hopes for their children and not be motivated by their fears about the past.

``Let all of us look beyond Saturday and embrace the change that is coming.''

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