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McDonald - Government must leave legacy of social justice after EU presidency

8 December, 2003


Sinn Féin EU candidate for Dublin Marylou McDonald speaking at the party's EU candidate launch in Dublin today called on Bertie Ahern and the Government to use Ireland's upcoming Presidency of the European Union to pursue a social justice agenda across a range of areas. Detailing a 13-point plan of proposed priorities for the six month Presidency Ms McDonald called on the Government to make the drive for social justice and poverty eradication the main focus of its Presidency and ultimately its legacy.

Ms McDonald said: "The upcoming EU Presidency provides the Irish Government the opportunity to make a major impact on policies across a range of areas and sectors in Europe. It can choose to set the pace in relation to social justice and the eradication of poverty not just in Europe but around the globe.

"Sinn Féin is putting out the call here today - and we hope that the Government will take up the challenge - for Ireland to use it's term of the Presidency to push a positive social justice agenda and to promote positive initiatives on socio-economic, political and human rights.

"In our 13-point plan we are calling for the Presidency to be used to promote and pursue the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals and the eradication of poverty within EU borders and beyond. We are also calling for the introduction of Human Rights Proofing in relation to all EU law and policies focusing particularly on recent so-called anti-terrorist measures adopted by the Union, and the proposed Common Migration and Asylum Policies.

"To combat the negative impact of the economic constraints placed on Ireland and other states by EU rulings, especially in relation to the future development of infrastructure we are also calling on the Government to seek a renegotiation of the Stability and Growth Pact.

"We are calling for the full implementation of the CAP reform proposals agreed in Luxembourg last June and the placing on the agenda a proposition to completely reform the Common Fisheries Policy, which is continuing to have a devastating impact on our fishing industry, most recently evidenced by the ruling to allow fishermen on the Irish Sea fish only 15 days a month.

"Continuing with our policy of critical engagement with the EU we will push for further EU equal rights instruments including a specific Gender Equality Directive and a Disability Directive; and the development of a mechanism for equality- and poverty-proofing all EU legislation. We will push for the EU-wide upwards harmonisation of workers rights, including trade union recognition.

"Also in our top 13 recommendations is for the Irish Government to pursue with a vigour and determination which shamefully hasn't manifested itself to date a policy of ensuring the recognition of the Irish language as an official language of the European Union."ENDS

SINN FÉIN'S TOP 13 RECOMMENDATIONS

FOR POSITIVE INITIATIVES DURING THE IRISH EU PRESIDENCY

Prioritising Global Social Justice

  • Initiate a Global Social Justice Agenda (Dublin Agenda) equivalent to the Lisbon Agenda whose priorities would include UN reform, fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals including Developing Country Debt Cancellation
  • Initiate a process of Human Rights Proofing of all EU policies

Economic Sovereignty

  • Seriously address the problems caused for particular Member States by the fact that some States are in and some are out of the euro-zone.
  • Address the need for a renegotiation of the Stability and Growth Pact in order to allow member states to deal effectively with the specific problems facing their economies.

Implementing CAP Reform and supporting rural regeneration

  • Ensure that the CAP reform proposal agreed at Luxembourg in June is fully implemented including full decoupling; and ensure that the accession states enter the CAP on an equal basis.
  • To establish a full range of complementary rural development programmes to aid farmers and rural communities in adapting to the changes brought about by the CAP reform.
  • Put complete reform of the Common Fisheries Policy on the EU agenda

Protecting the Environment

  • Campaign to make the EU a GM-Free Zone
  • Reduction of emissions on an EU wide basis

Social Protection

  • Campaign against the privatisation agenda of the European Union in the Lisbon Agenda and for the defence of public services
  • Push for the EU-wide upwards harmonisation of workers rights, including trade union recognition, workers health and safety and protections for temporary and migrant workers.
  • Push for further EU equal rights instruments including a specific Gender Equality Directive and a Disability Directive while prioritizing commitments to eradicate poverty and homelessness within the EU

Irish Language

  • Ensure that Irish is recognised as an official and working language of the EU.

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