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Taoiseach running scared on EU Constitution referendum date -Mary Lou McDonald

13 April, 2005


Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today accused the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern of 'running scared of calling a date for the EU Constitution referendum'. Ms McDonald made her comments after the Taoiseach answered a question by Sinn Féin Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin in the Dail yesterday in regards to a specific date for the EU Constitution referendum.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms McDonald said:

"There is much worry in pro-EU federalist circles that a No vote in the forthcoming French referendum in May could create a ripple effect in other member states, leading to further opposition to the EU Constitution across member states.

"The date for the referendum in Ireland should not be determined by referenda in other countries. I am calling on the Taoiseach to put this referendum to the people this autumn, regardless of the impending French outcome. The fact that the Taoiseach is running scared is reflected in his refusal to name a date for the EU Constitution referendum.

"The Taoiseach also stated that 'we have an obligation to pass the European Constitution here'. I want to remind Mr Ahern that people are under no obligation to do anything of the sort. They must be allowed to make their judgement on this treaty free from pressure or coercion. I would also challenge the Taoiseach to confirm that his government will not re-run the referendum if they do not get their desired outcome. The people of Ireland must have the final decision on this treaty." ENDS

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