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Citizenship Referendum will enshrine inequality within the Constitution - Mary Lou McDonald

31 May, 2004

Sinn Feín EU candidate for the Dublin constituency Mary Lou McDonald has this evening expressed her concerns regarding the forthcoming Citizenship Referendum. Ms McDonald argued that the "Citizenship Referendum would enshrine inequality within the Constitution".

Ms McDonald made her comments before her attendance at the launch debate of the Smurfit Debating Society in UCD, attended by representatives of the other main political parties this evening at 7.00pm.

Speaking this evening Ms McDonald said:

"I look forward to this evenings debate on the forthcoming Citizenship Referendum, to put forward the Sinn Féin view on the issue. We are calling upon people to reject Justice Minister McDowell‚s racist referendum on June 11th. His justification for the referendum does not stand up to scrutiny ˆ he has not provided any concrete evidence for his claims. His statistics do not prove his case.

"This proposal will enshrine inequality and race-based citizenship into the constitution. Sinn Féin is concerned that the proposal also undermines the Good Friday Agreement and jeopardises the peace process.

"The Citizenship Referendum moves us away from the tradition of citizenship by birth shared with over 40 other democracies including the US and Canada, and towards race-based or bloodline-based citizenship, which is offensive to the republican principles of equality.

"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."ENDS

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