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Sarkozy must Listen and Learn

10 July, 2008

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has this afternoon slammed comments by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy to the European Parliament that there can be no new Treaty negotiations following the Irish rejection of Lisbon.

The Dublin MEP said:

“If President Sarkozy intends to put himself centre stage in the public debate on how to tackle the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the Irish people he needs to understand early on that empty gestures and meaningless words will not be acceptable to us.

“The Irish people want a substantive debate on the concerns they clearly articulated during the Lisbon Treaty campaign. In turn they want those concerns to be addressed in a substantive fashion. Meaningless declarations and empty words will not satisfy the protections they demand for Irish neutrality, workers rights and the protection of public services, democracy and the safeguarding of EU agriculture.

“Ruling out a new Treaty negotiation and indeed any future Inter Governmental Conferences to progress such negotiations was ill judged by President Sarkozy. The fact is that is not his call to make. The Treaty needs the ratification of all member states and the Irish people have rejected it. The only way forward is to negotiate a new Treaty deal.

“Mr. Sarkozy’s comment that the holding of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty was ‘wrong’ in the first place illustrates just how detached European leaders are from the people they are supposed to serve the interests of. The Treaty has been put to five referendums and on three occasions it fell. Rather than chastise the people a productive and positive route forward would be to simply listen and learn.” ENDS

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