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Latest EU survey results represent monumental failure for Irish Government

9 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today reacted to the findings of the latest EU Barometer poll which reveals that 62% of people in the 26 Counties are unaware of the contents of the European Constitution. Ms de Brún said that the results represented the failure of the Irish Government and wider EU Institutions to 'effectively communicate with the people on matters of national importance'

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"The last EU Barometer poll in February 2005 revealed that 67% of respondents 'didn't know' whether they would support the EU Constitution or not. Preliminary findings from that poll also indicated that nearly 50% of Irish people were not even aware of the existence of the EU Constitution. This latest survey clearly shows that people are still none the wiser.

"There are those who will tell us that the EU Constitution referendum defeats in French and the Netherlands were a result of a lack of communication between the EU and citizens. However, it is much more serious than that. It is clear that a fundamental democratic deficit exists within the EU and its institutions. If an EU Constitution referendum is to be held in the 26 counties, then the Government needs to clearly inform people what they will be voting upon, in light of rejection by other EU member states.

"It is particularly worrying that many people are not even aware of the existence of the EU Constitution. This Government must commit itself immediately to a strategy of effectively communicating relevant and independent information on the ramifications of the EU Constitution to the people. If a referendum does take place, then communicating that information during the campaign will be much too late, and leaves no time for informative debate.

"Considering agreement on the EU Constitution was reached during Ireland's stewardship of the European Union then clearly these survey results represents a monumental failure on the part of the government." ENDS

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