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Sinn Féin Response to IFA Decision on Lisbon

3 June, 2008

Speaking following the announcement by the IFA that it would recommend support for the Lisbon Treaty to its members Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Ferris TD said that the government, despite its last minute capitulation, will not be able to fulfil its commitment to Irish farmers as the veto will be lost with Lisbon.

Deputy Ferris said:

"Assurances from Brian Cowen on the use of Ireland's veto on international trade agreements not in Ireland's interests are simply not worth the paper they are written on. The Irish government commit to using a veto if in fact that veto does not exist.

"I put it to Brian Cowen that the reason the government has spent months hand wringing on this issue and has made today's commitment to the IFA at the eleventh hour is because he knows that the treaty text does not support his claim on the veto.

"Sinn Féin stands over its argument that the Lisbon Treaty removes Ireland's ability to veto the kind of international trade agreement currently being negotiated by Peter Mandelson at the WTO. Article 188 removes the general veto on services such as health, education and social services. It is replaced with a restricted veto, which could only be applied if this state could prove that the inclusion of such services risked 'seriously disturbing the national organisation of such services.' Such a restricted and conditional veto could not be used to block the current WTO trade deal.

"The veto which could be used today to block a bad WTO deal will be gone if we ratify the Lisbon Treaty. Sinn Féin's message to the farming community is if you want to keep Ireland's veto on trade agreements the best course of action is to vote no on June 12th to send the government back to renegotiate a better deal. Rural Ireland deserves better." ENDS

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