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E Voting must not be allowed to cloud EU Referendum debate - Mary Lou McDonald

13 December, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today said that the possible introduction of Electronic Voting for the Referendum on the EU Constitution should not be allowed to detract from the very serious issues which are at stake.

Ms McDonald was responding to reports that the Government is continuing with tests on E Voting with a view to its implementation in time for a future EU Constitution Referendum. Ms McDonald said that the debate on E Voting 'must not be allowed to cloud the EU Referendum debate'. She further called upon the government to either 'scrap electronic voting or get it right'.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms McDonald said:

"In its current form, the Electronic Voting System is fundamentally flawed. The Government found this out to its cost, and the cost of the taxpayer in the run up to the recent EU elections.

"If reports are correct that the Government is still insisting that there is no need for a paper trail with E-Voting, then once again they have failed to heed all the warnings regarding this system. An inordinate amount of money has been spent on E Voting, and we are still no further forwards in verifying the accuracy of the system.

"A system that instils public confidence is required, not one which remains divisive. What we do not need is a European Constitution Referendum campaign dominated and clouded by a debate on E Voting. A clear focus is required in the run up to any referendum on an EU Constitution, which has clear political and socio-economic implications for Ireland. This government should either scrap electronic voting or get it right.

"Sinn Féin will do all its in power to ensure that the referendum campaign focuses on the real issues - namely further diminishing sovereignty, increasing EU militarisation and threats to public services" ENDS.

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