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Electorate must be given choice to support or reject EU Constitution

17 June, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has today called the suspension of the EU Constitution referendum as a 'con Job' and called for the electorate to 'be given the opportunity to either support or reject the EU Constitution'.

Mr. Adams made his calls after European leaders last night agreed to push back the ratification period for ratification of the EU Constitution from November 2006. The decision was taken at last nights European Summit meeting in Brussels.

Speaking today he said: "It has become increasingly clear that European leaders, including the Irish Government are running scared of the electorate on this issue. Now is the time for real debate on the EU Constitution, not 'cold storage'. European leaders hope that by placing the EU Constitution in deep freeze that they can resurrect it in their own time and re-sell it to the electorate. The 'period of reflection' being mooted is nonsense, especially when the question has not even been put in Ireland. It is an undemocratic exercise aimed at undermining the legitimacy of the French and Dutch rejections.

"Sinn Féin is calling for the Taoiseach to announce a referendum this autumn and let the people decide. The Government cannot hide behind other European leaders and say that the process has been suspended. He has the opportunity and ability to put the referendum to the people.

"Many Irish people are concerned about the direction in which the European project has been taken. It promotes a Europe obsessed by increasing its military spending and capacity, has a clear privatisation agenda and takes power further away from its citizens. Sinn Féin stands ready to articulate the concerns currently held by many people in Ireland.

"People's confidence will be further undermined by this latest move by European leaders; they can see that suspension of the ratification process is nothing more than a big con job." ENDS

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