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Government needs to get over EU Constitution grieving process

23 November, 2005


Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláín has said, “The EU Constitution is dead and this government needs to get through the grieving process and move on.” Speaking in the Dáil today he said, “Sinn Fein has an electoral mandate to engage with EU policy, challenging the democratic deficit and all those policies that are adverse to Irish interests and promoting an agenda of equality and meaningful active citizenship within Europe.”

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “The EU Constitution is dead and this government needs to get through the grieving process and move on.  Sinn Féin wants Ireland to move on and begin a long overdue debate on the future of Europe.  This debate must be based on an acknowledgment that the referenda in France and the Netherlands, and opinion polls from other European countries, demonstrate that the current socio-economic model i.e. the content of the Constitution is not working and is unacceptable.

“Sinn Féin is not afraid to stand up against EU measures that are damaging to Irish interests. Our policy on the EU is one of ‘principled critical engagement’.  This means that we decide to support or oppose the many and complex developments in the EU each on its own merits, using the criteria of democracy, transparency and accountability, equality and human rights compliance, the effect on Irish sovereignty and potential for promoting Irish unity. 

“One such area is the Hague Programme. The Hague Programme is fundamentally flawed and these flaws are being exacerbated by an action plan which frontloads contentious measures relating to, for example, the transfer of sentenced persons and judicial and police co-operation ahead of measures relating to minimum standards in the taking of evidence, pre-trial detention procedures and work with respect to police standards.  Elements of this action plan are dependent on the EU Constitution.  In light of its defeat a moratorium should be introduced on the passage through this House of all further EU measures stemming from the Hague Programme, pending the outcome of a full review and debate.   So I will reiterate the demand I have made on numerous occasions for a full debate on the Hague Programme, the necessity for which has been acknowledged by Michael McDowell and his department officials.  And I would ask the Minister to include in his closing remarks a guarantee that this debate will indeed take place and an indication as to the date.

“Sinn Fein has an electoral mandate to engage with EU policy, challenging the democratic deficit and all those policies that are adverse to Irish interests and promoting an agenda of equality and meaningful active citizenship within Europe.  In the coming period Sinn Fein will continue to encourage genuine debate in this House and throughout the country on the Europe Union, its current policies and neo-liberal policy trajectory and on the quality of the government’s representation of this and engagement with it.” ENDS

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