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11 December 2003 Edition

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Sinn Féin launches Euro 2004 team

Sinn Féin's five candidates pictured with Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin's five candidates pictured with Gerry Adams

Just 12 days after the hugely successful Assembly elections, Sinn Féin wasted no time in getting back to business this week, setting its sights firmly on next year's European Union elections.

On Monday, the party launched its EU team, along with a 13-point plan that prioritises the areas Sinn Féin believes should be dealt with in the upcoming six-month Irish Presidency of the European Union.

Present at the launch in Dublin were the party's five EU candidates: John Dwyer (Leinster), Bairbre de Brún (Six Counties), Marylou McDonald (Dublin), David Cullinane (Munster) and Pearse Doherty (Connacht/Ulster) as well as party president Gerry Adams.

Speaking to the media, Adams said: "Building on the party's success in the Assembly elections and the General elections, Sinn Féin has for the first time a real opportunity to secure our first ever representation in the European Parliament."

He pointed out that the party has been a leading voice in the debate on the future direction of the European Union, and has made a detailed submission on the draft EU Constitution.

Dublin candidate Marylou McDonald, used the launch to urge Bertie Ahern and the government to use the Irish Presidency to pursue a social justice agenda across a range of areas.

"Sinn Féin is putting out the call here today — and we hope that the government will take up the challenge," said McDonald.

The 13 recommendations in Sinn Féin's plan call for the government to:

• Initiate a Global Social Justice Agenda equivalent to the Lisbon Agenda, whose priorities would include UN reform and fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals, including developing country debt cancellation

• Initiate a process of human rights proofing of all EU policies

• Seriously address the problems caused for particular Member States by the fact that some are in and some are out of the eurozone

• Address the need for a renegotiation of the Stability and Growth Pact, in order to allow Member States to deal effectively with specific problems facing their economies

• Ensure the CAP reform proposal agreed at Luxembourg is fully implemented, including full decoupling; and ensure that the Accession States enter the CAP on an equal basis

• To establish a full range of complementary rural development programmes to aid farmers and rural communities n adapting to the changes brought about by CAP reform

• Put complete reform of the Common Fisheries Policy on the agenda

• Campaign to make the EU a GM-free zone

• Reduce emissions on an EU-wide basis

• Campaign against the privatisation agenda of the EU and for the defence of public services

• Push for harmonisation of workers' rights, including trade union recognition, workers' health and safety, and protection for temporary and migrant workers

• Push for further EU equal rights instruments, including a specific gender equality directive and a disability directive, while prioritising commitments to eradicate poverty and homelessness

• Ensure that Irish is recognised as an official EU language

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