Sinn Féin says name the date
Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald speaking at the launch of the National Forum's on Europe's guide to the Lisbon Treaty called on the government to set the date for the referendum so that a proper debate can take place.
Ms. McDonald said, "Today the National Forum on Europe is launching a guide to the Lisbon Treaty. Unfortunately Sinn Féin is unable to support this document because in our opinion it does not provide a fair and balanced representation of the facts.
"Weekend polls agreed on one key fact -- the vast majority of people are concerned at the lack of information in relation to the Lisbon Treaty. This is a serious problem only a few months out from a referendum which will have profound implications for this country.
"I want to call on the government to set the date for the referendum and to call for a mature debate on the implications of the Lisbon Treaty for Ireland and Europe. While the Treaty is detailed and cumbersome in how it is presented, it is more than possible to represent the facts in a straight forward and direct manner so that people can make up their minds.
"We have had a number of discussions with the Forum, including it's Chairman Maurice Hayes and Sinn Féin has produced an alternative report which the Forum has agreed to distribute alongside the main report. Sinn Féin will also play a pro-active and positive role in the regional meetings, which the Forum is announcing here today.
"Sinn Féin believes that Ireland's place is in Europe. We recognize that there have been benefits to our membership of the EU. But not everything has been good and we believe that the Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland. It involves a massive transfer of powers away from the Dáil to the EU and the loss of our automatic right to a commissioner. It establishes a Minister for Foreign Affairs and a common security and defence policy. It has implications for our economy and the provision of public services.
"The next few months will be very important and I hope that the debate which takes place will reflect our maturity and confidence as a nation." ENDS