Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for a better Europe - Ó Snodaigh
Following the government’s announcement that it will re-run the Lisbon Treaty referendum on October 2nd Sinn Féin European Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has accused the Taoiseach of failing the people of Ireland and Europe adding, “Until such time as we have a new Treaty that responds to the deeply held concerns, not only of the citizens of this member state, but the millions of people across the EU for a better Europe, Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for a better deal, for Ireland and the EU as a whole.”
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“Irelands place is at the heart of Europe. Those of us who campaigned against Lisbon and the overwhelming number of people who voted against the Treaty last year did so because of a belief that a better Europe is possible. A Europe that is democratic and accountable; that promotes workers rights; that protects public services and that seeks to play a role in the wider world that is positive and progressive.
“In June 2008 the Irish people gave Brian Cowen and his government a mandate for change and strong hand to play at the Council of Ministers. Following the example of the people of France and the Netherlands, we called on our government to reopen the Treaty negotiations and secure a better deal not only for Ireland but for the EU as a whole.
“But once again Brian Cowen and his government have failed the people. Like their disastrous mismanagement of the economy Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have squandered an opportunity to secure a better Treaty and a better for the future for all of us.
“In his statement to this House on June 24 following the European Council meeting, An Taoiseach told us that the Council had agreed a ‘package of legally-binding guarantees that respond comprehensively to the concerns of the Irish people. I wish that were true. If it were Sinn Féin would be taking a very different position in this debate today.
“The most salient fact to be drawn from the Council of Ministers meeting of last month is that Brian Cowen and his government failed to secure a single change to the text of the Lisbon Treaty.
“When we come to vote on this matter in October we will be voting on exactly the same Treaty as was rejected on June 12th 2008. No amendments, no additions, no deletions. Exactly the same Lisbon Treaty as was rejected by 53% of the electorate.
“The so-called ‘legally binding guarantees’ are in fact nothing more than clarifications of the Lisbon Treaty. For those of us who took the time to read it the first time round, they tell us nothing new, and in now way alter the content or our analysts of the Treaty.
“They are simple an attempt to provide the government with sufficient political cover to re-run a referendum on a Treaty that has already been democratically rejected by the people.
“There are also a large number of issues that the EU leaders studiously chose to ignore. No mention of the reduced influence of smaller member states as a consequence of the new voting arrangements at Council. No mention of the 60 or so member state vetoes that will end. No mention of the controversial changes to international trade negotiations that were opposed by farmers and trade justice groups alike. No mention of the opening up of vital public services such as health and education to the vagaries of the market.
“It is Sinn Féin’s firm view that Irelands place is at the heart of Europe. We have a responsibility both to our selves and our European partners to build an EU that meets the needs of its peoples. This member state is one of the few where the citizens are being asked their opinion. We have already expressed that opinion loud and clear. Until such time as we have a new Treaty that responds to the deeply held concerns, not only of the citizens of this member state, but the millions of people across the EU for a better Europe, Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for a better deal, for Ireland and the EU as a whole.” ENDS