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EU Presidency Must Leave Legacy of Social Justice - de Brún

23 January, 2004

Speaking during a presentation on the Irish EU presidency by Director General of the Institute of European Affairs Alan Dukes, Sinn Féin spokesperson on European Affairs Bairbre de Brún called for the 'Irish government to leave a legacy of social justice after its term of office in the EU presidency'. Ms de Brún's comments were made during a presentation by the former Fine Gael leader at Queens University.

Ms de Brún said;

'The EU Presidency provides the Irish government with the opportunity to make a major impact on policies across a range of areas and sectors in Europe. It can choose to set in place measures to promote social justice and the eradication of poverty not just in Europe but around the globe.

'I want to take today's opportunity to emphasise the need to rise to this challenge, both for the Irish government and all those who are involved in the debate surrounding how the Presidency should be developed.

'It is vital that the EU Presidency is used to push a positive social justice agenda and to promote initiatives in the socio-economic, political and human rights fields.

'It is also important that the Presidency is used to combat the negative impact of the economic constraints placed on Ireland, north and south and indeed other states by EU rulings, especially in relation to the future development of infrastructure.

'Adequate attention needs to be given in the coming months to the full implementation of the CAP reform proposals agreed in Luxembourg last June.

Issues such as the need for specific gender and disability directives also need to be given greater priority, as well as the harmonisation of workers rights and trade union recognition. The recognition of the Irish language as an official working language of the European Union also needs addressed.

'Today's seminar is a welcome opportunity to heighten public awareness of the importance of the EU Presidency for the island of Ireland as a whole and hopefully will lead to a greater understanding and debate around many of these issues in the run up to this years European elections.' ENDS

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