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September 11, 2008

Europe must reach out to Kildare’s young people - Fitzpatrick

Michael Fitzpatrick and Minister Michael MartinThe commitment of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, T.D. to continue consultations on our future within the EU is to be welcomed and will give people in Kildare an opportunity to have an input, according to local T.D. Michael Fitzpatrick.

“It is clear from the post-Lisbon research carried out by Minister Martin and his Department that there is a clear lack of knowledge about the EU in Kildare and throughout the country, and it is vital that this information gap is bridged.”

“The Referendum campaign was marked by general public confusion. With 42% of No voters saying they voted that way because of lack of knowledge or information.”

“Despite the fact that people are confused it is clear that Irish people remain positive about Europe, with 70% saying membership of the EU is a good thing. This result does not surprise me as it is in line to the reaction I get towards Europe in my constituency.”

“What is of concern is the large numbers of young people that voted down Lisbon. It is clear that in recent times people have become use to being members of the EU and may even be taking the benefits it has brought Kildare and this country for granted.”

“I warmly welcome the consultation’s Minister Martin has entered into with his colleague the Minister for Education with a view to ensuring that knowledge about Europe is taught effectively in our classrooms.”

“The Government and the main opposition parties are now progressing with work on how we move forward following June’s referendum. I welcome this initiative which gives all groups an opportunity to air their views. I believe it is only right that we continue to consult and debate a way forward and would encourage interest groups in Kildare to participate in this process. Details of how to participate will be made public shortly,” concluded Deputy Fitzpatrick.