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Rural Ireland Deserves Better – Vote No to Lisbon

8 May, 2008


Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Martin Ferris TD and Senator Pearse Doherty today launched the party's 'Rural Ireland Deserves Better - Vote No to Lisbon' state wide leafleting campaign. Today's event in Dublin is the beginning of a national role out of the campaign targeting rural constituencies to highlight why Sinn Féin believes the Treaty is bad for rural Ireland.

Speaking at the launch this afternoon in Buswell's Hotel Martin Ferris TD said, "Sinn Féin is ambitious for Europe and it is with this vision that we come to the Lisbon Treaty debate. After serious analysis and internal debate we believe the Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland, for Europe and the wider world. Ireland must see its role in Europe as a champion of shared prosperity, fair trade and global justice. We may be a small country but we must think big.

"Sinn Féin is ambitious for Europe and it is with this vision that we come to the Lisbon Treaty debate. After serious analysis and internal debate we believe the Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland, for Europe and the wider world. Ireland must see its role in Europe as a champion of shared prosperity, fair trade and global justice. We may be a small country but we must think big.

"There are a number of Articles in the Treaty that are currently causing the farming community genuine concern. For example, Article 188 of the Treaty replaces unanimity decision making on the Council of Ministers, who mandate the Commission on its trade negotiations, with qualified majority voting (QMV) on trade decisions. This removes Ireland's ability to veto decisions not in its interest. Why would any government or political party urge its citizens to vote in favour of a Treaty that contains such a change to how the EU does business? To suggest, as some proponents of the Treaty have, that the current WTO negotiations have nothing to do with the Treaty is disingenuous.

Senator Pearse Doherty added ""The most recent opinion poll on voting intentions in the referendum showed that 43% of farmers intend to vote no to the Treaty. Whilst this indicates concern over the current WTO negotiations it also reflects the negative impact EU policy has had on rural Ireland. The sugar beet industry has closed; the decimation of the Irish fishing sector through unfair quotas is set to continue and the provision of vital services to rural communities including post offices has been undermined. EU policy has become synonymous with red tape and bureaucracy.

"The most recent opinion poll on voting intentions in the referendum showed that 43% of farmers intend to vote no to the Treaty. Whilst this indicates concern over the current WTO negotiations it also reflects the negative impact EU policy has had on rural Ireland. The sugar beet industry has closed; the decimation of the Irish fishing sector through unfair quotas is set to continue and the provision of vital services to rural communities including post offices has been undermined. EU policy has become synonymous with red tape and bureaucracy.

"To keep Ireland at the heart of Europe we need to keep a permanent EU Commissioner and maintain our voting strength. I believe the Treaty must be rejected and European leaders sent back to renegotiate a better deal for their peoples."

Sinn Féin wants to see a Europe that:

· Protects and promotes civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights

· Assists member states in building prosperity and equality

· Combats poverty, inequality, discrimination and social injustice

· Pursues environmentally responsible and sustainable development policies

· Promotes conflict resolution, peace building and global stability internationally

· Protects neutrality, opposes militarisation and the arms trade." ENDS

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