Thursday 18 January 2018

Party facing wrath of UEFA over Euro 2012 treaty poster

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

SINN Fein could be in trouble with European football's governing body over its 'Euro 2012' referendum posters advocating a No vote.

The party last week unveiled new posters urging people to reject the fiscal treaty, illustrated by a photograph of unidentified Irish players pictured from the waist down in a pre-match line-up. The posters say: "Euro 2012: Support Ireland -- Vote No."

A spokesman for the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said it had not yet made any formal complaints about the posters, but added UEFA may not be impressed by the move.

"I think UEFA may have taken issue with the use of 'Euro 2012'," he said.

A spokesman for Sinn Fein said the party was unaware if there had been any contact from UEFA, since all staff had been away from party headquarters for the weekend because of the Ard Fheis in Killarney, Co Kerry. UEFA could not be contacted for comment last night.

Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman Charlie Flanagan already called on Sinn Fein to remove the posters, labelling them "deceptive".

"They feature a picture of what is clearly supposed to be the Irish soccer team, with a Euro 2012 banner, calling on voters to support Ireland and reject the treaty," the Laois-Offaly TD said. "They are clearly trying to link support for our national football team, and a rejection of the treaty. This is a very low tactic."

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams singled out the Labour Party for particular criticism in his keynote address to around 1,100 delegates at the Ard Fheis on Saturday night.

"What would James Connolly think of the Labour leadership's implementation of right-wing austerity policies?" he asked.

Sinn Fein is often criticised by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail for opposing cuts in the Republic but implementing them as part of the executive in Stormont -- but Mr Adams blamed cuts in the North on the British government.

"The absence of fiscal powers and cuts by the British Tory government have made the executive's task more difficult. In this State, the Government gives fiscal powers away."

He also said the Government needed a job-creation strategy and claimed Sinn Fein had a costed €13bn stimulus plan that could create 130,000 jobs.

However, while saying the plan would be funded by the National Pensions Reserve Fund, Nama and the "private pension sector", Mr Adams did not provide a detailed breakdown of where the jobs would be created.

"The projects are there," he said. "Vitally needed schools, creches, roads, regeneration projects, broadband and a water system that needs to be modernised."

Irish Independent

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