Sinn Fein has questioned the direction of the EU as it confirmed that its current MEP in Northern Ireland will run again for her seat.
Party president Mary-Lou McDonald insisted Sinn Fein is “euro-critical”, but that leaving is “not the answer”.
“There are fundamental questions to be asked about the direction of the EU,” she told the Sinn Fein selection convention at the Balmoral Hotel in Belfast.
“The north leaving is not the answer. Leaving was never the answer.
“All of Ireland should be in the EU, leading a fair and social Europe, opposing federalisation and the creation of an EU army.”
Elections to the European Parliament are going ahead in May despite the United Kingdom’s imminent exit from the European Union.
Martina Anderson, who has been one of Northern Ireland’s three MEPs since 2012, said she is honoured to be selected by her party to run to defend her seat.
Ms McDonald reiterated her opposition to Brexit, pointing out that a majority in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, and criticised the Conservative Party and Democratic Unionists for “dragging” it out.
“This election is an opportunity to say clearly to the Tories and DUP – Your time is over. Your Brexit is over,” she said.
“Brexit demonstrates the undemocratic nature of partition. It also demonstrates the power that we have to shape change. Let us continue to be a strong, unyielding voice in the Europe.”
Ms Anderson described the poll as an opportunity to send a message to Brussels, London and Dublin that the people of Ireland “will not be left behind”.
“We are facing into an election the British government didn’t want to happen,” she said.
“The DUP didn’t want EU elections either. Their Brexit involves stripping people of their rights including the right to vote.
“Not only do they refuse rights that everyone else in Britain and Ireland enjoy, they also want to remove EU rights too.
Martina Anderson just got nominated to stand again for Sinn FÃ©in in the upcoming European Election. No better activist to do it. The right person, in the right place, at the right time to represent Irish interests in the continuing Brexit chaos. pic.twitter.com/HmpCByjhB9— Gerry Kelly (@GerryKellyMLA) April 13, 2019
“We have continually fought against Brexit and made sure the voice of the people of the north has been heard and the interests of the people of Ireland have taken centre stage.
“We have stood up for all our citizens from right across the community in full confidence challenging and confronting all that is wrong with the EU and supporting and advancing all that is right for Ireland.
“This election offers an opportunity to send a message to Brussels, London and Dublin that we will not be left behind again.”