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Bairbre de Brún to address economic forum on Europe

10 February, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will this evening speak at a conference on the challenges and opportunities for Ireland in Europe. Ms de Brún said that the EU can 'help alleviate problems associated with partition and promote an all Ireland economy'.

This evening's event has been organised by MBA Ireland's 'Guest Speaker' programme, and is sponsored by InterTradeIreland. Bairbre de Brún, Jim Nicholson MEP and Jim Allister MEP will speak on "Europe: Challenges and Opportunities for Ireland", along with Stephen Kinghan, Chair of Invest NI and Sir George Quigley, Chair of Bombardier Shorts' The event will be chaired by the BBC's Mark Carruthers.

Speaking in advance of the event Ms de Brún said:

"Tonight's event provides me with an opportunity to provide a Sinn Féin analysis of both the opportunities and challenges presented by the European Union. We have long argued that the EU is a more dominant force than ever in the political, economic and social life of Ireland.

"Sinn Féin has a policy of critical but constructive engagement with the EU. This means we decide to support or oppose the many and complex developments in the EU each on their own merits. We have supported EU and other Europe-wide measures that promote and enhance human rights, equality, protection of the environment and the all-Ireland agenda.  We have no hesitation, however, in campaigning against those policies
emerging from within the EU which actively undermine such goals.

"As an Irish Republican, I believe that the EU can provide a number of opportunities for Ireland. As an advocate for Irish reunification we should be looking towards the EU as a dynamic to promote all Ireland politics. In a practical way the EU can help alleviate problems associated with partition. The potential of an all-island economy has been
recognised by the business community for many years now, and is an ever-growing factor in the potential for prosperity in the North in the time ahead

"On the other hand, one of the biggest challenges facing the EU in recent times will be played out in the European Parliament in the coming days - a challenge which will have enormous consequences here at home. If endorsed by the European Parliament, the EU Services Directive will have a profound impact on the lives of workers and the quality of services available to the general public." ENDS

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