Irish Republican News · December 5, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Cowen planning Lisbon II
Cowen planning Lisbon II
lisb2.jpg

The Taoiseach Brian Cowen has been accused of “colluding” with European Union leaders as he pushes for a re-run of the Lisbon Treaty next year.

Cowen is in Paris today for talks with French president Nicolas Sarkozy on the future of the Treaty. After the meeting, he will travel to Brussels for discussions with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

Based on a previously rejected EU Constitution, the Lisbon Treaty is designed to allow the EU to expand further to the east, increase its military capacity while concentrating power in the hands of its larger nations.

In a shock defeat for all of the political parties in the Dublin parliament except Sinn Féin, and despite strong pressure from Europe’s political heavyweights, the treaty was rejected by Irish voters in June by a margin of 53.1% to 46.6%.

It has become clear that Mr Cowen intends to try to get the treaty past Irish voters relatively soon.

Mr Cowen said yesterday following a meeting with British prime minister Gordon Brown in Downing Street that he was hopeful next week’s European Council meeting will help him identify the “road map” to enable a second Irish referendum.

Mr Cowen stressed that discussions at political and official level were “ongoing” and represented “work in progress”.

Mr Cowen met German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday.

With further meetings of officials scheduled ahead of next week’s summit, Mr Cowen insisted: “These discussions are ongoing . . . Until conclusions are actually drafted for that [summit] meeting we can’t know whether we’re going to get there or not. I remain hopeful.”

As the Irish economy continues a downward spiral, with soaring unemployment and amid ongoing scandals over corruption, fraud and waste in the public service, Cowen’s decision to tour Europe to repackage the Lisbon Treaty has come in for intense criticism.

“Brian Cowen has repeatedly ignored the mandate given to him by the Irish people on their rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in June,” said Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald.

“He has refused to use his meetings with European leaders as an opportunity to address the peoples concerns around key issues of concern such as neutrality, workers rights, public services, democracy and Ireland’s loss of influence in the EU.

“He has refused to stand up for the interests of Irish people. He has refused to even open up negotiations for a better deal.

“People will be watching what the government say and do next week very carefully. Riding roughshod over the people’s decision on Lisbon will not be tolerated.”

GREENS DROP THE BALL

Adding to the government’s woes, the Fianna Fail-Green Party coalition government suffered a surprise defeat in a parliament vote yesterday after the Green Party’s two Senators accidently missed the vote.

Dan Boyle, deputy Seanad leader, and Deirdre De Burca said they were not aware the vote was being taken, amid confusion and prolonged protests from Fianna Fail Senators, who claimed that the voting procedures had not been followed.

“It was a drop-the-ball situation, Senator Boyle said. “It’s a huge embarrassment,”

The amendment will allow amateur sports groups to maintain their charitable status for fundraising purposes.

Fine Gael leader in the Seanad Frances Fitzgerald described it as a “historic victory for the Opposition”.

Meanwhile, the Green party leader John Gormley is coming under pressure for dodging his responsibility as Minister for the Environment on a controversial waste incinerator in Dublin.

A licence was granted this week by the Environmental Protection Agency for the incinerator at Poolbeg, which is in his own constituency of Dublin South East.

Gormley claimed he was powerless to do anything about the plan, saying tenders for the incinerator were issued two years before he took office.

Local Sinn Féin councillor, Daithi Doolan, expressed his disappointment with the planning decision and the fact that a Green minister in government could have let this happen.

“This is a huge blow to the community. Anyone who took a look at the facts will know that no incinerator should be built here. Incineration is an industry that is well past its sell-by-date. It is 10 years since this plan was first proposed.

“New waste technology has bypassed incineration and yet we are now condemned to have an age-old industry imposed on this community.”

© 2008 Irish Republican News