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McDonald challenges Cowen to justify loss of power and influence

22 May, 2008


Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald will today challenge Brian Cowen at the National Forum on Europe on how the loss of power and influence in the EU is good for Ireland. The Dublin MEP will call on the Taoiseach to "explain how Ireland's interests are protected by losing a Commissioner for five out of every 15 years, halving our voting strength at the Council of ministers, giving away more than 60 vetoes, including on international trade agreements, and giving the EU the power to amend its own treaties."

Speaking at the Forum debate in Dublin Castle McDonald said:

"The Irish government secured a bad deal for Ireland. They failed to use the fact that this state would be the only one to have a referendum to their advantage. Instead of protecting our interests, they have signed up to a deal that weakens Irelands influence and power at the heart of the EU.

"The loss of a Commissioner for five out of every fifteen years, the halving of our voting strength at the Council of Ministers, the loss of more than 60 vetoes including on international trade agreements, and the self amending articles all amount to a significant loss for this state.

"However, rather than explaining how all of this will affect Ireland, the government are trying to bully and frighten people into voting for the Treaty.

"I am calling on the Taoiseach to explain how such a significant loss of power and influence is in Ireland's interests.

"Sinn Féin believes that a better deal is possible. A strong no vote on June 12th will give the Irish government a strong hand in any future negotiation with our EU partners. Any future deal must ensure that Ireland's vital interests are protected, including our right to a permanent Commissioner, our voting strength at Council and vetoes on key strategic policy areas, such as trade." ENDS

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