SF wants euro to be currency of North


SINN FÉIN MANIFESTO:SINN FÉIN is calling for the replacement of sterling by the euro in Northern Ireland as part of its European election manifesto, launched in Dublin yesterday.

The manifesto expresses opposition to a rerun of the Lisbon Treaty in favour of “a new treaty for a new time”, and opposes integration of foreign and defence policy among EU states.

Party president Gerry Adams told a news conference in Dublin: “The Government have not brought forward the type of treaty changes which are required and which the people voted for.”

He added: “We need a treaty which protects neutrality, which sets its face against militarisation and the type of foreign and defence policies decided by Nato, but particularly we need to be about returning power to member-states and to citizens.”

Criticising the main Government party’s role in the election campaign, he said: “Fianna Fáil are fighting a dirty campaign here in this city.”

He described Fianna Fáil criticisms of Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald’s attendance record at the European Parliament as “just despicable”.

Responding afterwards, Fianna Fáil MEP Eoin Ryan, who is in contention with Ms McDonald for a seat in Dublin, rejected the comments from Mr Adams.

“My campaign is focused on what I can deliver in Europe in terms of creating jobs for the people of Dublin. This is in stark contrast to the campaign of Sinn Féin which will offer nothing in terms of job-creation.

“It is factually the case that Gerry Adams’s candidate, namely Mary Lou McDonald, has the lowest attendance record in the European Parliament of all Irish MEPS.

“Sinn Féin is running an anti- Europe campaign. This is the last thing that the economy of Dublin needs at this very difficult and dangerous time for Ireland,” Mr Ryan said in a statement.

Speaking at the manifesto launch with Mr Adams, Ms McDonald said “inaccurate figures” were being deliberately put about, and that in fact her attendance was comparable with that of her main rival Mr Ryan.

She said she had been attacked initially for non-attendance when in fact she was on maternity leave.

“I have no apology to make for myself as a mother, as a woman in politics, or a working parent.”

Her attendance level last year reflected her deep involvement in opposing the Lisbon Treaty in the referendum here at home.

“I took the decision that my big responsibility to the people of this city and this State was to be here in Ireland, vocal and active, to ensure that there was a debate on that treaty.”

She said the issue of whether or not she was standing for the Dáil in the next general election was a “red herring” introduced by her political opponents.

“The same people spent almost a year running about saying that I would contest in a byelection,” she added, pointing out that the Dublin Central byelection had now been called and she was not a candidate.

Pressed on the issue of possibly running for the Dáil, she said: “Look, I haven’t even considered that matter.

“And I want to be very upfront with people because I have said very clearly that at some stage I would like to play a part in the Dáil.

“But at this point in time I am putting myself forward for election to the European Parliament to continue the work that I have done in the past five years.”