Sinn Féin - On Your Side

European Parliament Interfering in Constitution Ratification Process

12 May, 2005

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has accused the European Parliament of interefering in the Irish ratification process for the EU Constitution.

Ms McDonald made her comments before both Sinn Féin MEPs were due to vote on a report in the European Parliament today. The report by Luis Francisco Herrero-Tejedor is entitled 'on the implementation of the European Union's information and communication strategy'.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin will be rejecting this report in the European Parliament today. This report has a number of good suggestions on how the EU can reach out and communicate with the citizens. We support these elements. However the section on the European Constitution is contradictory and unaceptable.

"In the first instance it suggests that the EU has a duty to inform citizens 'clearly and objectively' about the content of the Constitution. In the next paragraph, it argues that the European Parliament, Council and Commission have 'the political responsibility to support the ratification of the Constitution'. Sinn Féin totally rejects this notion.

"The recent decision by the European Parliament to spend 8 million euros for a purely pro - Constitution campaign (March 2005) is deeply troubling and reinforces the fact that the EU is trying to intefere with the national ratification process in all Member States. Both the European Commission and many within the European Parliament are intent on using this money for the sole purpose of selling their view of the European Constitution.

"Only last month the Taoiseach stated that 'we have an obligation to passthe European Constitution here'. I want to reiterate to Mr Ahern, that people in this state 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. Tax payers money, whether in Ireland or at EU level must be used in an impartial and neutral manner.

"In light of the above, Sinn Féin will be voting against this report, and will continue to insist upon impartiality and objectivity as we move closer to the EU Constitution referendum date. If the EU is serious about reaching out to citizens, then it must accept and support the citizens' right to an open debate. Crucially, the decision of the people must be respected."ENDS

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