Sinn Féin to oppose EU as military superpower

22 July 2004
By Dan McGinn

SINN FÉIN will resist any move to turn the European Union into a military or economic superpower, the European Commission was warned yesterday.
The party’s first Irish MEP, Mary Lou McDonald, invoked the memory of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands in her maiden speech to the parliament as she warned that her party would also oppose any attempt to turn the EU into a superstate.

Sands was one of 10 republicans who starved themselves to death in 1981 in a bitter dispute over prison conditions with then-British Prime minister Margaret Thatcher and was elected as Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP during the hunger strike.

Ms McDonald, who represents Dublin, told MEPs: “As Irish republicans, following in the tradition of Bobby Sands MP, we are committed to the politics of equality, justice and freedom.

“We bring Sinn Féin’s agenda for change, for Irish unity and independence to this forum. Sinn Féin believes that the enlarged EU must adopt a new set of priorities.

“We oppose attempts to turn the EU into a superstate or a military and economic superpower.

“We support EU reform which gives power back to the people, the elimination of poverty, support for public services, revitalised rural economies, reform and strengthening of the United Nations.

“This, we believe, is the new direction for Europe. This is the EU that we will work towards.”

Sinn Féin secured seats on both sides of the Irish Border in June’s election, with West Belfast MLA Bairbre de Brun becoming an MEP in Northern Ireland.In the South, North-West candidate Pearse Doherty also came close to capturing a seat.

The party’s two MEPs will link up with the European United Left/Nordic Green Alliance in the European Parliament.

The group has drawn MEPs from the French, Italian, Greek and Portuguese communist parties as well as socialists in Denmark and Latvia.

During a debate on Ireland’s recent presidency of the EU, Ms McDonald wished the Dutch Government well as it took over the reins.

She told the debate that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s Government had much to contend with during its presidency.

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