Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Fine Gael turns its back on rural Ireland

13 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has this afternoon criticised Fine Gael's support of the Lisbon Treaty. Deputy Ferris said "this Treaty will impact negatively on rural Ireland, particularly for the farming and agriculture communities. I find it astounding that any political party would urge rural Ireland to vote for the loss of key vetoes and a Commissioner for five out of every fifteen years."

"Enda Kenny recently urged the Irish government to use its veto at the European Council of Ministers if the outcomes of the WTO trade talks are bad for Irish farming. Sinn Féin agrees with the Fine Gael leader on this issue, the Irish government should use its veto.

"But what we disagree on is the giving up of the ability to veto trade agreements not in Ireland's interests.

"Currently the Trade Commissioner goes to WTO negotiations with a mandate agreed at the Council of Ministers. The Trade Commissioner then returns to the Council who have to agree by unanimity to the negotiations outcomes. If the deal negotiated is a bad one for Ireland the Irish government can veto it.

"This ability for Ireland to veto decisions not in the interests of Irish farmers will be lost with the Lisbon Treaty. Article 188 of the Treaty replaces unanimity decision making on the Council of Ministers with qualified majority voting (QMV) on trade decisions. This removes Ireland's ability to veto decisions. This is a fact.

"We also firmly believe that agreeing to lose a Commissioner for five out of every fifteen years is an act of political recklessness. Each Commissioner brings his or her unique perspective of the social and economic needs of their own member state. The Commission is the power house of the EU; to lose you voice at the table for any length of time does not make sense." CRÍOCH

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