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Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael run away from debate on European Constitution

25 May, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has accused Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of running away from a debate on the proposed European Constitution after key figures in both parties refused to participate in a keynote debate on the proposed EU Constitution. The debate was due to take place at a major conference, which is taking place in Dublin city this weekend. She challenged both parties to stop hiding on the issue and attend the weekend conference.

Ms. McDonald said:

"This weekend Sinn Féin is hosting a major conference on the proposed EU Constitution and among those participating in the event are academics, Non Governmental Organisations and MEPs from across Europe.

"As part of the weekend we had hoped to have a keynote debate 'The EU Constitution: Yes or No' with politicians arguing opposite sides of the debate. Key figures in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were invited to participate in the debate but refused to do so.

"It is not good enough for public representatives to run away from debating this issue and surely if they are confident enough of their arguments they would be more than willing to participate. Neither is it good enough for these parties to pay lip service to the notion of a full and frank debate on the EU Constitution if they are not prepared to stand up and argue their case.

"In the coming days the people of France and Holland are voting on the Constitution and in the coming months the people of Ireland will be voting. It is crucial that there is a full and open debate on the consequences that this constitution will have for Ireland and the European Union.

"I am challenging Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to stop hiding on this issue and to participate in this weekends conference." ENDS

The conference will take place in the Irish Film Centre on Eustace Street in Dublin on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May.

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