29.7.08 - cowen must respect the people's will

Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan O'Brien today launched the party's "A Better Deal For Ireland and the EU" document in Cork. The document outlines what the party believes is the minimum that should be included in any new European deal to take account of the concerns of Irish voters after their rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. "The Lisbon Treaty is dead" Councillor O'Brien stated, "The Irish people have spoken, and a re-run of the referendum is not an option. New negotiations for a better deal for Irleand and Europe must begin."

 He continued:

"To date the Irish government has failed to listen to the Irish people following their rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. Throughout the campaign a number of key concerns were voiced across Irish society - concerns about democracy and Ireland's place within Europe, neutrality and militarisation, workers' rights and public services."

"Whilest there is no appetite for a new treaty among many EU leaders, including Brian Cowen, some member state governments, a wide variety of political voices and important social movements including the European Trade Union Confederation have expressed an interest in re-negotiating key aspects of the treaty. Indeed a majority of public opinion in France and the Netherlands continues to be opposed to the treaty and wants fundamental change."

"The space and the support for a new treaty clearly exists. If the Irish government were to take a lead in building a political and social alliance for a better deal it would reap substantial dividends both in terms of the content of any new treaty and in its standing among the peoples and governments of the EU."

"I do not underestimate the diffiiculties involved in building support for a new round of negotiations. Sinn Féin wants to play a constructive role and assist the government in what should be a truly national effort. The rejection of the Lisbon Treaty gives the government a strong hand in any future negoitations. The question now is how the Taoiseach will use that hand and whether he has the political will and courage to use it to maximum effect."

"When the European Council meets in October Brian Cowen must call for a new round of negotiations and a new treaty. If he does we will all take a step closer to a better deal for Ireland, the EU and the developing world."

"Sinn Féin's "A better deal for Ireland and the EU" document contains the minimum changes we believe would be acceptable to the Irish electorate in a new Treaty deal. These proposals are short-term strategic reforms that we believe are reasonable, practical and deliverable."

"Subtle threats of Irish isolation within the EU or a two speed Europe are nonsense. Our place is at the heart of Europe. Negotiations for a new treaty deal must begin."

Read the full text of the Sinn Féin document here

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