Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Fine Gael leader selling out rural Ireland

10 May, 2008

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today met with party leadership in Dublin to discuss the final phase of Sinn Féin's Vote No to Lisbon Campaign.

The party President also outlined to the media the roll out of Sinn Féin's campaign which will include national and regional press events, door to door canvassing, public debates and a state wide leadership tour. Part of today's meeting was taken up with reviewing the various Yes campaigns arguments to date.

Mr. Adams was particularly critical of Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny who he charged with "selling out rural Ireland to appease faceless EU bureaucrats."

Speaking in Dublin Mr. Adams said: "Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny is urging rural Ireland to vote in favour of a Treaty that will remove the Irish government's right to veto EU trade negotiation agreements that are not in the interest of Irish farmers.

"Recently Mr. Kenny urged the government to use its veto at the EU Council of Ministers if the outcome of the WTO trade talks is bad for Irish farming. Yet it is this very veto that will be lost with the Lisbon Treaty.

"Article 188 of the Treaty replaces unanimity decision making on the Council of Ministers with qualified majority voting (QMV) on trade decisions. This removes Ireland's ability to veto decisions not in its interest.

"Farmers are right to compare the future of Irish farming to that of the Irish sugar beet industry. The approach of the current Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson is part of a pattern that emerged under his predecessors Pascal Lammy and Leon Brittan and will continue after he is gone. It is an agenda that aggressively promotes free trade irrespective of the costs to European family farms and rural communities, or the world poorest communities and countries.

"The Lisbon Treaty contains new provisions that will considerably strengthen the Commission in its pursuit of free trade over fair trade.

"Article 10(a) mandates the 'progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade' to be one of the EUs guiding principles in its interaction with non-EU member states. Restrictions would include agricultural subsidies, preferential treatment for developing world companies in government procurement contracts or environmental and workers protections. END

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