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Sinn Féin TDs call for NO vote

9 June, 2004

In Sinn Féin‚s final pitch on the forthcoming citizenship referendum, Sinn Féin TDs Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Martin Ferris, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Arthur Morgan and Seán Crowe called on republicans, supporters of the Good Friday Agreement, supporters of equality, and anyone who is unsure about the Government's referendum proposal to vote NO.

The TDs said:

It's official. The Government have not made their case. They have not proven systematic and widespread abuse of the constitutional right to citizenship by birth. All along they have manipulated information and misrepresented statistics. They have built their case on anecdotes and opinions informed by prejudice. They have timed the referendum to minimise public debate about a profound reversal of constitutional rights, and the introduction of inequality into the constitution. And in the process they have done inestimable damage to the peace process by unilaterally reopening a key provision of the Good Friday Agreement.

"However the Government is right about one thing. Citizenship matters. Constitutional rights also matter. The right to citizenship by birth is not a loophole, it is a republican tradition shared by more than 40 states around the world. It is a right that Irish people‚s children have claimed in countries like the United States and Canada. It is a right that a confident nation like ours can extend without fear. And it is a right that Irish people of the 32 counties overwhelmingly endorsed a mere six years ago.

"We therefore appeal to the better judgment of the Irish people. If you believe in the vision of the 1916 Proclamation and support equal rights, if you voted for the Good Friday Agreement and don‚t want to see it dismantled inch by inch, Sinn Féin asks you to vote NO to McDowell's referendum.

"If you are still unsure of your position, we urge you to vote, and to vote NO. If you stay at home and withhold your vote, your silence is consent to the agenda and the tactics of Michael McDowell. Your NO vote will send a message to the government that by rushing this referendum without adequate time for informed public debate, they have treated you the voter, and also the constitution with total disrespect. Your NO vote will show McDowell and his cabinet colleagues that this is not an acceptable way to govern in a democracy."END

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