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Mary Lou McDonald welcomes funds to raise awareness of EU

10 August, 2005

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP has today welcomed the
announcement  by  European  Affairs  Minister  Noel  Treacy  of a scheme to
provide  local community groups with funding to promote a greater awareness
of the EU.

The  Government  today announced that it was making 200,000 euros available
to  encourage  "positive  public  debate”  about the European Union and its

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

“I  want to welcome today’s decision by the government to provide community
groups  with  funding  to  promote  a greater understanding of the European
Union and its functions. Any initiative which fosters genuine debate around
the  EU  is  welcome  and  I  would  hope that this initiative is part of a
broader  exercise  by  government  to  communicate  effective and impartial
information regarding the EU to Irish citizens.

“Sinn  Féin  has  long  called for a meaningful consultation with the Irish
people  on  this  issue.  The  EU plays an increasingly significant role in
Irish  political,  economic  and social spheres. It has been estimated that
70% of legislation emanating from the Dail originated in Brussels.

"The   recent   EU  Constitution  referendum  results  In  France  and  the
Netherlands  highlight the significant gap between the people of Europe and
its  institutions.  However,  initiatives  such  as  these  must not become
propaganda  slush funds for one opinion or ideology witin the EU. If we are
serious  about  bridging  the democratic deficit then it must take on-board
the thoughts and concerns of a diverse range of alternative opinions.

"Today's announcement can act as the catalyst for wider debate about the
European Union and its political direction and priorities." ENDS

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