Irish Republican News · January 24, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
SF prepare for Lisbon Treaty vote as Greens go quiet

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called for a “robust, energetic and vigorous campaign” against the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty, intended to further integrate eastern European countries while reserving greater powers for the larger nations of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain.

Mr Adams was speaking as the Green Party, currently a junior member of the coalition government in Dublin, debated the issue at a special party conference.

Speaking to journalists in Dublin on Saturday, Mr Adams said the treaty did not deliver reform, efficiency or democracy.

“It is a bad deal for Ireland. We deserve and can achieve better. The treaty will involve the most substantial transfer of powers from member states to the European Council and Commission to date,” he added.

“The influence of smaller states will be reduced as the dominance of larger states is consolidated.

“It significantly accelerates the militarisation of the EU and advances an economic agenda based on a race to the bottom for wages and workers’ rights.”

In a close vote at the weekend, the Green Party leadership failed to secure enough support from party delegates to transform their traditional policy of opposing such treaties. The Greens will now have no position on the referendum on the issue in the 26 Counties, which is due later this year.

Sinn Féin will be the only party with a presence in the Dublin parliament to actively campaign against the Treaty in the referendum. Mr Adams predicted that the referendum campaign would be difficult.

“However, I believe that we will be standing with the majority of people on this island,” he said.

Mr Adams added that the 26 Counties was a small state and should send a very clear signal. “We certainly want an EU which is different from that contained in the treaty,” he added.

He was confident, he said, that a ‘No’ vote could be secured.

“We did it before in the case of the Nice Treaty,” he added. “Obviously, we cannot match the big parties in terms of financial resources, but we will mount a strong campaign.”

Ireland is the only member-state holding a referendum, but the debate will now take place without an official Green Party position being advanced.

Former MEP and Green Party ‘dissident’ Patricia McKenna said Green Party ministers should remain in government, despite the leadership’s failed attempt to ensure the party’s backing for the Lisbon Treaty.

Ms McKenna claimed the outcome would restore the public’s confidence in the party. “It shows that we are not willing to lie down and do what the more powerful parties want us to do.”

She said she would actively canvass for a No vote. “It is not a question of being anti-European. We want a better Europe for the people.”

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© 2008 Irish Republican News