Irish Republican News · January 21, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Dublin govt taken to task on EU agenda

Sinn Féin Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain said that many in the political establishment are ``more concerned with creating a United States of Europe than about achieving a United Ireland''.

He was speaking during the Dail statements on the Irish Presidency of the European Union, which began this month.

Deputy O Caolain also said that, ``The Government programme has disappointed Irish hopes for a distinctive and progressive Presidency that could be a source of pride for our people.

``This failure reflects the Government's characteristic lack of both vision and political will when it comes to Europe. Sinn Féin, on the other hand, believes that another Europe, a socially just and socially responsible Europe of Equals is possible.''

He went on to say that the Government, in agreeing the defence clauses of the draft Constitutional Treaty had ``failed to pursue a policy of positive neutrality in action''

The Sinn Féin Dail leader called on the Irish Government during its presidency to ensure that the Irish language becomes an official working language of the EU.

Welcoming the accession of nine new working languages from 1 May, Deputy O Caolain said that Irish should be among them and urged the Government to formally process this through the Council of Ministers and the European Commission.

The Sinn Féin TDs have tabled a Dail motion to this effect. The motion calls upon the Government to put a motion before the Council of Ministers to ensure that Irish will also be given recognition as a working language of the EU.

Speaking on the motion, spokesperson on the Irish Language Aengus O Snodaigh TD said it was ``imperative'' that the government asserted the right of its nation and its people to use our own national language in European affairs.

``There is absolutely no reason why we should not share the right, which other countries of the EU enjoy, in using our official language.

``The issue is not, nor should it be, how many people speak Irish in the EU when languages such as Maltese and Czech will also, naturally, be given official status in May.''

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© 2004 Irish Republican News