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Adams demands separate EU vote for North in event of Tory election win

4 May, 2015 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has demanded a separate, legally binding vote for the North on EU membership, if the Conservatives win the British General Election.

Speaking to Sinn Féin members in Belfast today Gerry Adams said a British referendum which took the North out of the EU would reinforce Partition and have major negative implications for the island economy, people living in the border counties, farmers and workers.

In the course if his address Gerry Adams said:

"If British Prime Minister David Cameron wins next Thursday’s general election, he has pledged that by 2017, he will hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

"This is of course, a paranoid political reaction to the perceived electoral threat of the eurosceptic UKIP.

"It is also further evidence that the political considerations of the Tories, and indeed Labour, are primarily about England and English issues.

"The stark reality of any EU referendum is that it could take the north of Ireland out of the European Union.

"The referendum will allow the views of English voters to dictate the future relationship of the north with Europe.

"This fact further underlines the total folly of the DUP  and UUP support for the Tories. It is selfish, insular politics in action with implications for Ireland as a whole.

"It would reinforce Partition. The already economically disruptive border would be reinforced by an international frontier staffed by passport checkpoints and customs control.

"Cameron's referendum highlights the fact that the real threat to the northern economy comes from Britain and the real threat to the island economy comes from Partition.

"An EU exit will hinder free movement and severely disrupt the day-to-day lives of people living along the border.

"Irish workers, farmers, and enterprises will pay the human, social and economic price.

"There will be no Single Farm Payment or Rural Development Fund, no Structural Funds and no Peace Funding.

"There are almost one million people living in our border counties who already, day and daily, pay the price of Partition.

"They pay it through roaming charges, the costs of using two currencies, and additional bank charges.

"They pay it through barriers to accessing the nearest public services, particularly health services, social housing and education. It is these people who will face increased challenges which are not of their choice.

"Island-wide trade, which currently generates £3bn, will be severely disrupted.

"The current Tory proposal for a referendum, without a separate binding vote in the north, denies people here the power to make decisions about their own lives.

"It is the people of Ireland who should decide the economic, social and political future of Ireland.

"This includes the right to a separate and binding referendum in the north on European Union membership.

"While some Unionists may support David Cameron's  proposition the fact is the economies of Ireland, north and south, are interlinked and interdependent.

"However, they are are not properly aligned. It is time to build and strengthen the island economy, not split and divide it.

"Ireland will be stronger and more prosperous within a single administrative and economic unit.

"Working together our economic output would be stronger. Splintering the island merely weakens the economy, public services and the spirit of the people.

"While Sinn Féin is critical of the EU's democratic deficit, the EU has the potential to provide a bridge towards the greater integration of Ireland, north and south, towards a single economic and political unit.

"It is past time that the European Parliament dealt with Ireland as one not two systems.  

"The potential for the north to positively reshape our relationship with Europe in the context of the limited and narrow British vote on EU membership should not be overlooked.

"Parties with no democratic mandate in any part of Ireland cannot be allowed the power to dictate the political or economic future of this country.

"That is why it is important that political and economic decision-making powers must increasingly be transferred from London to Belfast.

"Sinn Féin is focused upon delivering a prosperous united Ireland where everyone can fulfil their potential. This includes the right for the Irish people to determine our relationship with Europe.  

"That is why Sinn Féin is demanding that people in the north should have the right to express their will through a separate, legally binding vote on EU membership.  This is the only position that makes democratic sense."

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