Spring hopeful on currency issue


THE Tanaiste, Mr Spring, has predicted that "substantial" progress will be made on moves towards the single currency issue at the EU Dublin summit this weekend.

He told the European Parliament yesterday that the momentum of progress towards EMU had been maintained during the Irish presidency.

During a debate on the protection of minors, the Fine Gael MEP, Ms Mary Banotti, said that the rights of animals were recognised in the Maastricht Treaty "and if we can do that, we can certainly do something for the children in our Community".

Ms Bernie Malone, the Dublin Labour MEP, said she hoped that the treaty negotiated by the IGC would include a separate provision dealing expressly with the rights of children.

She had been impressed by the presentation by the group Focus on Children, which had lobbied MEPs yesterday. Mr Sean Lawless of Focus on Children said the draft treaty had so far failed to give rights to children and he had expected more from the Irish presidency.

"After all the terrible things which have happened in Ireland I would have expected more. We need some courage and leadership from the Irish presidency to make sure that children's rights are included in the final treaty," he said.