Sinn Féin begins preparations to return all-Ireland team to Europe
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking at the launch of the party's candidates for next year's European Union elections said 'Building on the party's success in the Assembly elections and the General Elections Sinn Féin has for the first time a real opportunity to secure our first ever representation in the European Parliament.
Sinn Féin's candidates are: Mary Lou McDonald - Dublin, Bairbre de Brún - Six Counties, John Dwyer - East, David Cullinane - South and Pearse Doherty - North West.
Mr. Adams said:
"I am very pleased to chair this launch of Sinn Féin's candidates for next year's European election. This is an important election, probably the most important EU election that Sinn Féin has ever faced. Our party has been a leading voice in the debate on the future direction of the European Union. We played a leading role in both the Nice Treaty referendums and made a detailed submission on the draft European Union Constitution.
"We are also putting forward a clear demand for an all-Ireland approach towards the European Union and its institutions.
"The next six months will see the Irish government taking over the Presidency of the European Union. It is an important time for debate and consultation.
"For example, the proposed changes in EU structures and institutions envisaged under the new Constitution pose a significant challenge for us all and there is an opportunity for Sinn Féin and others to clearly explain why we don't want an EU that is a military or economic superpower.
"We do want an EU that can be a model for democracy and justice.
"We must ensure that there is a real debate and discussion about creating a democratic Europe that can be accountable and transparent in its policy making and decision taking.
"We want to be part of the best possible EU, a Union that works towards full employment, housing and the education of all its citizens with institutions that promote national and individual rights.
"We want to build a Europe that leads the way on the cancellation of debt in the developing world, that is nuclear free, that protects the environment and that welcomes and trades fairly with other regions.
"In the last decade Sinn Fein has gone from strength to strength as our agenda for change begins to have a real impact. We want to bring this agenda for change to the heart of Europe. We are contesting this election to win, to return Sinn Féin's first ever MEPs to Europe. This is a realisable goal."ENDS