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Lisbon Referendum - SDLP should apologise for ‘head bangers’ slur

17 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Assembly group leader John O'Dowd MLA has said that the SDLP should apologise for their labelling of those who voted No against the Lisbon Treaty Referendum as 'head bangers'.

Mr O'Dowd said that it was unfortunate, but once again typical that the SDLP rather than trying to get a grasp of the feeling on the ground in relation to the whole Lisbon referendum, "resorted to their usual lowest common denominator by attacking and demonising Sinn Fein rather than focus on the issue".

Mr O'Dowd said:

"The Irish people have solidly rejected this Treaty - not because they were "head bangers" as the SDLP claim but because they decided the Lisbon Treaty was bad deal for Ireland.

"The SDLP claimed that Sinn Fein's No Campaign had been built on scares but people ignore at their own peril the genuine issues raised by not just the Irish electorate in this referendum but also by the French and Dutch in previous referenda on the EU Constitution.. This 'head bangers' comment clearly indicates a lack of knowledge and sincerity about the debate.

"There is now a real opportunity to get a better deal for Ireland. There is now a strong mandate to open up a positive debate about the future of Europe. The genuine concerns raised by the Irish people need to be addressed. Some have tried to suggest that there is no clarity about what Irish voters are concerned about. This is not true. Concerns about the loss of power, neutrality, workers rights and public services were raised repeatedly." ENDS

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