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20 December 2001 Edition

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Taoiseach told 'respect electorate'

Speaking in Irish at the final Forum on Europe session ,in Dublin Castle, on the eve of the EU Laeken summit, Sinn Féin's delegate, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, took the opportunity to again reiterate his call for the government to respect the decision of the Irish people in rejecting the Nice Treaty. He said that the Laeken Conference and the proposed governments' Convention on the Future of Europe should bear this in mind and not continue on the presumption that Nice is passed.

"I would appeal to the minister present and to An Taoiseach to call a halt to the rush towards an EU Federation of State, the greater militarisation of Europe, and the creation of a European Advant Garde, to call on our EU partners to respect the democratic wishes of the Irish people. The issues raised at the Convention should return to the various national parliaments for debate and then be but to the people in referenda. That is democracy. This is the democratic duty of An Taoiseach, as expressed by the people in rejecting Nice. We still have a chance to build a Europe of equals, thanks to the foresight of the Irish people."

Aengus also asked that EU governments' support be sought to oppose Britain's planned opening, today, December 20, of its MOX facility in Sellafield, not only on the grounds on its environmental dangers, but because it is contrary to the wishes and interests of the neighbouring country.

"The EU was to be a partnership of equals, aimed at co-operation, limiting disputes between nations, yet no stance has been taken by the EU to prevent Britain from threatening Ireland with the biggest nuclear disasters the world is ever likely to see."

In response to French Foreign Affairs Minister delegate, Pierre Moscovici's call for an EU Federation of Nation States. Aengus said:

"There can never be a federation of nation states, of states maybe. But nation states are sovereign and are by definition independent of each other. There are no nation states in the United States, and the very fact that the Soviet Union tried to impede nationhood and nation states led to its ultimate demise. Are we to supplant one empire with a new EU empire? Minister Moscovici talks of reuniting Europe - when was Europe united? Under the Caesars, under Napoleon, Hitler. Talk of reunification is talk of dominance not equality?"

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