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Gerry Adams calls for No vote in citizenship referendum

31 May, 2004


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called on people to vote No in the Citizenship Referendum on June 11th. Mr Adams said that if this referendum is passed it will "create a completely unequal society for future generations".

Mr Adams said:

"Sinn Féin wants a comprehensive immigration policy that is positive, compassionate, human rights-compliant and anti-racist. That policy must fully recognise the positive contribution of immigrants to Irish society and to the Irish economy.

"The sole reason for the Government running the referendum on this day is to deflect attention away from their miserable performance since coming into power. But look at what their selfishness will do. Irish children will be stripped of their rights, purely because of where their parents come from.

"Michael McDowell has not provided any concrete evidence for his claims. His statistics do not prove his case. In quoting figures for non-nationals giving birth in Irish hospitals the Minister is including many people from inside and outside the EU who are quite legally entitled to be here. We know the Minister believes in an unequal society but this referendum has racist undercurrents to it as well. He cannot be allowed to abuse the position of power the Irish people have given him, by pushing his own personal agenda.

"The Government has also tried to peddle the line that passing this referendum will make our citizenship laws similar to other countries. That is downright rubbish. 40 other countries share the citizenship laws we have now. If an Irish person has a child in America, that child will be an American citizen.

"This referendum will have serious implications for the Good Friday Agreement. Anti-Peace Process elements have already seized upon it as an example of how the Agreement can be tampered with. Is Michael McDowell trying to destroy the Good Friday Agreement?

"The Government is trying to feed into the misconceptions and the genuine concerns about immigration that do exist in our society. The referendum is an insult to the Irish people, and is an example, once again, of this coalition pushing through serious legislation, without engaging in any sort of debate first.

"This referendum makes a joke of our claim to be Ireland of the welcomes. If it‚s passed, we will be creating a completely unequal society for future generations."ENDS

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