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Sinn Féin MEPs set for historic first session in EU Parliament

18 July, 2004

Newly elected Sinn Féin MEPs Bairbre de Brún (6 Counties) and Mary Lou McDonald (Dublin) will travel to Strasbourg today, Sunday 18th July for this week's inaugural session of the European Parliament. Both MEPs will address the European Parliament on Wednesday morning, during the debate on the Irish Presidency. Speaking from Dublin this morning they said "we are looking forward to engaging with MEPs from right across the political spectrum and bringing Sinn Féin's agenda for change to the heart of Europe."

Speaking in a joint statement in advance of their trip, Ms de Brún and Ms McDonald said:

"We are very much looking forward to the first session of the EU Parliament. The Parliament presents Sinn Féin with yet another forum in which to advocate our agenda for change. We will also be pressing the Parliament on the need for the EU to intensify its focus on the peace process and advance the all Ireland agenda.

"Sinn Féin's priority is to represent our constituencies, to advance the peace process, build for Irish unity and work for equality in Ireland and across Europe. We are ideally positioned with members elected to five political institutions - an all Ireland team of MEPs, MPs, TDs, Assembly members and Local Government Councillors - to help deliver real change to our constituencies and bring the EU debate into all spheres of Irish life.

"We will be playing a leading role in the debate on the new EU Constitution, which will be put to referendum in the time ahead. We will also be continuing with our extensive outreach programme into the voluntary sector, farming organisations, trade unions, justice groups and local communities.

"This coming week will be a very busy one. We will be actively meeting and engaging with various MEPs, groupings and NGOs. On Tuesday 20th July the vote for EU Parliament President will take place and on Thursday 22nd the EU Commission President will be decided.

"The time ahead presents a considerable challenge for us. Sinn Féin MEPs stand ready to advance our positive social agenda for real change in both the EU and in Ireland. "ENDS

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