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McDonald tells Taoiseach EU negotiations not the time for tepidness

17 October, 2007

Speaking from Lisbon today ahead of this weeks EU Inter Governmental Conference to agree the content of the proposed Reform Treaty Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has demanded that the Toaiseach use his position as an EU Head of State to ensure the best interests of the Irish people are secured.


MEP McDonald said:


“Taoiseach Ahern can and should play an informed and robust role as Ireland’s chief negotiator over the next few days’ debate which will probably conclude with its sign off by the end of the week.


“This is no time for tepidness. The Reform Treaty if it comes to be will radically change the direction of Europe for ordinary people.


“Sinn Féin will carefully consider the text of the new Treaty, which retains the substance of its EU Constitution predecessor.


“However at this stage we have a number of serious concerns with the draft that make it impossible to support in its present form.


“The question now is will Taoiseach Ahern deliver on his government’s commitment to protect the interests of the Irish people.


“Bertie Ahern needs to ensure that the Treaty will not allow the European Council to transfer even more areas of competence to the EU, effectively bypassing member states parliaments when it comes to decisions in the country’s strategic interests being made.


“Will Ahern demand a stronger defence of Irish neutrality to be enshrined in the Treaty? Will an Irish opt out of making any financial contributions to the European Defence Agency or any other area of military expenditure?


“EU economic policy is expressed through liberalisation of public services and state assets. Will the Taoiseach negotiate an opt out from provisions in the Treaty that restrict state aid? National governments must be allowed some leniency to intervene to save industries in crisis.


“Taoiseach Ahern has the weight of the Irish people’s interests on his shoulders.  This is a massive responsibility and one that warrants a very different approach to EU negotiations than the Mr Ahern has exampled in the past.” CRÍOCH

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