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Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK


Sinn Fein



Sinn Fein

"Sinn Fein recognises the European Union as a key terrain for political struggle and one which we can use to advance our republican aims of national independence and economic and social justice."

"Sinn Fein's position is one of engaging with the European Union and its institutions in a critical manner."

Sinn Fein is committed to:

  • Working for the reform and restructuring of the EU.
  • Decentralising of power back to national parliaments.
  • Advancing national democracy and economic and social justice.
  • Promoting a 32-county political and economic identity in the EU.
  • Forging political alliances with other like-minded parties and struggles in the best interests of Ireland.

    The EU and the peace process

    "Since the last European elections in 1994 we have seen many developments and setbacks on the road to a lasting peace settlement, in all of which Sinn Fein have been central."

    Sinn Fein is working for:

  • The full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
  • A lasting peace settlement.
  • Irish unity and independence.

    Neutrality

    "Sinn Fein is committed to the maintenance of positive neutrality and an independent foreign policy both in the context of a 26-county state and in a future united Ireland."

    "Sinn Fein believes that the Nato bombing of Serbia should end . . . the bombing is not the solution to the complex political crisis in the Balkans. Instead of passive support for Nato Ireland should be part of the effort in the EU and in the UN to secure a diplomatic solution."

    Sinn Fein believes we should:

  • Oppose the militarism of the EU and the participation by Ireland in military alliances, for example Nato and Nato-led organisations - the Western European Union and Partnership for Peace.
  • Hold a constitutional referendum on the issue of Irish neutrality.
  • Promote European and international security through a policy of disarmament and demilitarisation.
  • Strengthen our unique position on the international stage as a neutral stage in Europe.

    'Accountability in Europe'

    "We are against the present structure of the European Commission which is a hugely powerful and unelected executive, beyond the control of elected members. Sinn Fein opposes institutions such as the European Central Bank, which is unelected, unaccountable and unrepresentative."

    Sinn Fein believes:

  • We need a decentralisation of power within the EU.
  • We need political institutions that are open, transparent and accountable.
  • There must be serious reform within all EU institutions to counter the current democratic deficit.

    The economy

    Sinn Fein's vision of EU economic policy involves:

  • Decentralisation of power and decision-making.
  • Strengthening of social provisions.
  • The introduction of an equitable taxation system.
  • A campaign to combat poverty through the introduction of a minimum wage and the expansion of public sector employment.

    The euro

    Sinn Fein is opposed to European monetary union because:

  • It will involve "even further centralisation of political and economic power in a European superstate with loss of power to member states.
  • The people of Ireland will "surrender control of domestic monetary policy to the European Central Bank".
  • "There is a complete absences of social priorities such as the need to eradicate unemployment and poverty".
  • EMU will result in "increased economic divergence within Ireland, north and south. This will create further obstacles to our objective of developing a single, fully integrated all-Ireland economy."

    EU structural funds

    Sinn Fein proposes:

  • An all-Ireland dimension to structural fund negotiations.
  • More spending on community initiatives.
  • Prioritising the areas and communities most disadvantaged, "rather than concentrating on high-visibility and flagship projects".
  • Maximising participation. EU funds should be administered, co-ordinated and planned "from the ground up".
  • Efficient, equitable and transparent funding mechanisms, "co-ordinated and administered to avoid criminal abuses".
  • All EU funding initiatives should be environmentally assessed before funding is allocated.

    Common Agricultural Policy

    Sinn Fein proposes:

  • CAP funding mechanisms reformed to help small farmers and rural communities.
  • A guarantee of a basic income for farmers who stay on their holdings, to guarantee their long-term future.
  • A funding initiative to promote organic farming in Ireland. Promotion and support for co-operative agricultural projects and broadleaf forestry.
  • Funds for rural enterprise projects.
  • An increase in funds for the EU LEADER programme.
  • An all-Ireland conference that could formulate a strategy to promote rural development in Ireland, organised on a community participatory basis.

    The environment

    Sinn Fein proposes:

  • An all-Ireland approach to environmental issues.
  • The closure of Sellafield.
  • A ban on the production and sale of genetically-modified foods.
  • Enactment of EU waste legislation.
  • A ban on the use of incinerators.

    Equality

    Sinn Fein proposes:

  • An EU-wide campaign against racism.
  • Legislation to ensure the provision of state childcare facilities.
  • Implementation of an EU-wide minimum hourly wage.
  • The extension of the social chapter to ensure workers' rights are fully protected.
  • Investment in education, housing, health and social services.
  • An EU-wide equality agenda.



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