Manifesto

May 1999



SINN FÉIN
ON THE ROAD TO EUROPE

A Chara,

This election comes at an important time both in the search for a lasting peace in Ireland and the far reaching political and economic changes that are currently taking place within the European Union. In these elections the people of Ireland will have to decide what our priorities are for the future both in terms of a changing Ireland and a changing Europe.

As the only party standing candidates in all five constituencies in Ireland Sinn Féin are working to build an inclusive, just and equal society.

We want to see a European Union which is representative of its people. The European Union of today is dominated by the larger states and acts in the interests of international finance. We want a European Union where the aim of policy and the goals of its institutions is to improve the quality of life for people.

It is only by electing strong and hard working representatives who will stand up for Ireland's rights that real and positive change will be achieved in reforming and restructuring the European Union.

Is mise,
Gerry Adams MP

 

Sinn Féin and the European Union

Sinn Féin 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.

We are keenly aware of the dangers for Ireland as more and more decisions regarding political, economic and military matters are ceded to the unaccountable structures of the European Union.

Sinn Féin's position is one of engaging with the European Union and its institutions in a critical manner. One of the core issues facing voters is what kind of Europe we want and how best this can be achieved, particularly in relation to key policy areas - EMU, CAP, Agenda 2000, regional policy, Peace and Reconciliation Funding, the environment, and social inclusion. Sinn Féin are committed to:

 

EU and 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 Féin have been central. We saw the evolving of the Irish peace process, two IRA cessations, negotiations in 1998 leading to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. An Agreement which was endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland.

Sinn Féin committed ourselves to the full implementation of the Agreement and have participated in the process in good faith. We have honoured all of our commitments. However, the last year has been one of missed opportunities and broken promises. We have seen an absence of political progress, the ongoing siege of the residents of the Garvaghy Road by the Orange Order and hundreds of attacks on the nationalist community by loyalist death squads.

The failure to establish the Executive and the all Ireland Ministerial Council is as a result of the refusal of the British government and the unionists to implement all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement.

While much has been achieved in the last five years a lot more hard work is required. The Good Friday Agreement needs to be implemented. Equality and Justice must become a reality. Sinn Féin has shown our willingness to take difficult and hard decisions and to lead from the front. We are committed to the transformation of Irish society and are working to develop agreement among the people of Ireland. We are confident that we can make this happen

Sinn Féin is working for:

 

Neutrality

Sinn Féin 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. We are for positive neutrality in action. We have a world view, as well as a distinctly Irish view. We make common cause with oppressed people throughout the world against economically and militarily powerful states.

Sinn Féin believes that the NATO bombing of Serbia should end. Slobodan Milosevic is a gross violator of human rights but the bombing of Serbia 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 European Union and in the United Nations to secure a diplomatic solution.

Sinn Féin believes we should:

 

Accountability in Europe

The resignation in recent months of all of the members of the European Union Commission has highlighted the democratic deficit within the European Union. This is just one of a complex series of institutions and power structures which have superseded national parliaments and the rights of citizens, a situation referred to as the `democratic deficit'.

Sinn Féin is opposed to these undemocratic structures. We are against the present structure of the European Union Commission which is a hugely powerful and unelected executive, beyond the control of elected members. Sinn Féin oppose institutions such as the European Central Bank which is unelected, unaccountable and unrepresentative.

The ongoing transfer of economic and political power and sovereignty from individual states to the European Union is a matter of grave concern and is something we are working to reverse. Sinn Féin believes:

 

Economy

Sinn Féin has been highly critical of European Union economic policies and in recent years have voiced our opposition to Economic Monetory Union and the EURO. We believe EMU will limit the right of Irish people to control their own economy. If implemented EMU will represent a backwards step with potential costs for Ireland, north and south. EMU is contrary to our socialist, republican objectives of national sovereignty in political, economic and social terms.

Our vision of EU economic policy involves:

Our opposition to the EMU is for the following reasons:

 

EU Structural Funds

The 26 Counties will receive total structural and cohesion funds of £ 2.97 billion between the years 2000 and 2006. The Six Counties will receive £1.5 billion for the same period. The EU Peace and Reconciliation Fund will receive an additional £400 million.

Sinn Fein believes that the Dublin and London governments have missed a great opportunity in the latest round of structural fund negotiations to maximise the benefits to the people of Ireland. Sinn Féin is calling for:

 

CAP reform

The recent negotiations on Agenda 2000 took no action to end the inequities of the CAP. There was no recognition of the problems facing small farmers and there was little to assist the almost 5,000 people who are leaving farming annually or indeed those farmers throughout Ireland who are facing collapsing incomes

Sinn Fein proposes:

 

Environment

Sinn Féin is committed to the principles of sustainable development. The aim of environmental policy both within Ireland and the European Union must be to create less pollution, use energy wisely and to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

Sinn Féin are calling for:

 

Equality

Parallel to the moves towards economic and political union by European Union member states is the programme to create a Social Europe. While some progress has been made efforts to tackle social exclusion have yet to be given sufficient priority.

Sinn Féin believe that equality and bringing an end to exclusion and discrimination must be at the heart of European Union social policy. Sinn Féin is calling for:


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