17 July 2008 Edition
Sarkozy in Ireland : Sinn Féin seeks face-to-face meeting
EU presidency must be told loud and clear – Lisbon Treaty is dead
SINN FÉIN TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described comments attributed to French President Nicholas Sarkozy that “the Irish will have to vote again” as deeply insulting to the people of Ireland.
France currently holds the presidency of the European Union and Sinn Féin has sought a meeting with Sarkozy on his visit to Ireland next week in this capacity.
“In the month since the Irish people voted overwhelmingly to reject the Lisbon Treaty we have listened to a succession of EU leaders lining up to try and bully and coerce us into doing what they want,” Aengus Ó Snodaigh said on Tuesday.
“The fact is that the people have spoken and the Lisbon Treaty is dead.
“The ratification process should stop and the leaders of the EU must negotiate a new Treaty. The rules are very clear – if one or more states rejects a treaty it cannot come into force and the 27 EU heads of government must return to the negotiating table.
“The people voted against the Lisbon Treaty because they believe it is a bad deal for Ireland and the EU and it needs to be changed. There can be no question of rehashing the Lisbon Treaty and putting it to the people again. EU leaders need to listen to what the people of Ireland, France and the Netherlands have said about the contents of this treaty. They need to deal with concerns about democracy, neutrality, workers’ rights and public services.
“President Sarkozy is due in Ireland next week. Sinn Féin has sought a meeting with him to put these points directly to him. It is clear that the Irish Government has no appetite for dealing with this issue properly so it is important that President Sarkozy understands that the Irish people demand that our vote is respected and, more importantly, our concerns addressed.”
On Monday, Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald confirmed that the party had met with the French Ambassador to Ireland, Yvon Roe d’Albert and requested a meeting with President Sarkozy when he visits Dublin next Monday.
According to McDonald, the Ambassador indicated that the French would meet with Sinn Féin but that arrangements would have to be made through the Irish Government as it is hosting the visit. Sinn Féin has been in touch with the Taoiseach’s office to ask them to facilitate the meeting and is awaiting a response as An Phoblacht goes to press.
The Dublin MEP said:
“We want the opportunity to set out to President Sarkozy the main reasons behind the Irish people’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty and the substantive issues which now need to be addressed around the loss of power, neutrality, workers’ rights and public services.
“When France and the Netherlands rejected the EU Constitution in 2005 their governments did not want to negotiate a better deal. In both countries their governments were able to ratify the Lisbon Treaty by parliamentary vote, bypassing the democratic will of the people. In Ireland this is not possible – any new treaty must be put to the people.”