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Sinn Féin response to ICMSA decision on Lisbon

2 June, 2008

Following the announcement by the ICMSA that it will be advising its members to vote Yes to the Lisbon Treaty Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson Martin Ferris Kerry TD described the decision as disappointing. Deputy Ferris acknowledged that there has been much debate within the organisation on Lisbon particularly regarding the impact of the Treaty on the current round of WTO talks.

Speaking from Kerry Deputy Ferris said today:

"Yesterday's decision by the ICMSA leadership following their meeting with the Taoiseach on the Lisbon Treaty is disappointing.

"However it is interesting that Brian Cowan did not commit to using Ireland's veto on the current round WTO negotiations during his discussions with the ICMSA. Of course he could not make such a commitment because Ireland will lose this veto if the Lisbon Treaty is passed.

"Sinn Féin stands over its argument that the Lisbon Treaty removes Ireland's ability to veto the kind of international trade agreement currently being negotiated by Peter Mandelson at the WTO. Article 188 removes the general veto on services such as health, education and social services. It is replaced with a restricted veto, which could only be applied if this state could prove that the inclusion of such services risked 'seriously disturbing the national organisation of such services.' Such a restricted and conditional veto could not be used to block the current WTO trade deal.

"The veto which could be used today to block a bad WTO deal will be gone if we ratify the Lisbon Treaty. On that basis my message to rural Ireland is if you want to keep Ireland's veto on trade agreements the best course of action is to vote no on June 12th to send the government back to renegotiate a better deal. Rural Ireland deserves better." ENDS

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