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Government should use Europe Day to call upon EU to support Irish reunification

9 May, 2006

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today called upon the Irish Government to use 'Europe Day' as an 'opportunity to urge the EU to support Irish unity and to adopt a strategic approach to reunification'.

Ms McDonald made her comments in light of a Dail decision to set aside speaking time tomorrow (10.05.06) devoted entirely to European issues as part of 'Europe Day'.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"I want to welcome the decision to devote Wednesday‚s Dail business to a debate on a wide range of European issues. Sinn Féin has said consistently called for such engagements and initiatives to address the EU‚s democratic deficit. Given that the EU has become such an integral and over-bearing component of national political life, we must embrace any debate which makes the EU more accountable to Irish citizens.

"Given that this Government has publicly stated that it is in favour of Irish unity, it should use Europe Day as an opportunity to urge the EU to support Irish unity and to adopt a strategic approach to reunification. Over this past number of years a clear consensus has emerged that all Ireland cooperation is not only common sense but essential.

"Sinn Féin has said consistently that the economic prospects for a united Ireland look very promising. Therefore it is in the interest of the EU to do what it can to encourage this development and to act as advocates for Irish unity.

"A strategic approach to reunification will ensure that the costs involved will diminish as Irish society and the Irish economy integrate. Such costs are far outweighed by the costs of a continually divided Ireland, with its policy mismatches, back-to-back infrastructural development, partitionist planning, ongoing economic distortions, discrimination against and marginalisation of people and communities and a range of other problems.

"This should be the focus on Europe Day, the Irish Government making a clear statement of intent on unity and a commitment to pressing the EU and its institutions to invest politically and economically in the integration of the island." ENDS

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