Irish voters are being urged to go to the polls today to say ‘No’ to runaway plans by the European bureaucracy to create a superstate at the expense of Irish sovereignty and neutrality.
Over the course of a short and intense campaign, the ‘Lisbon Treaty’ has emerged as the very last opportunity for citizens in Ireland -- or anywhere in the European Union -- to force a rethink of a system which ultimately seeks to usurp the interests of 27 individual nations while expanding aggressively eastwards.
The Lisbon Treaty allows for untrammeled and continual revisions to European law which would override checks and balances to expand the superstate project and create a European Army, a European Tax and a centralised European Government.
But despite 36 years of membership, European ‘integration’ has not helped to resolve the problems of partition on the small island of Ireland, where two administrations, two currencies, divergent economies and a litany of cross-border bureaucratic problems remain.
Hopes by officials in Dublin, London and Brussels that the Irish electorate would take their word for it and approve the lengthy and confusing Lisbon Treaty document, without seeking to understand the consequences -- as clearly shown in leaked emails -- have proven badly wrong.
The numerous questions that have been raised by the electorate have met only with shrugs and threats from the aspiring European oligarchy and the Irish establishment.
Campaigners have pleaded with voters to take the time to head to the polls and VOTE NO before the close of polling at 10pm tonight.
Despite polls indicating that the result could be close when votes are counted on Thursday, there are hopes that a surge of support for the ‘No’ campaign will continue.
Sinn Fein MEP Mary Lou McDonald called on people to come out in massive numbers to give the government a strong mandate to re-negotiate the Treaty and get a better deal for Ireland.
“We are the only people in Europe to have a vote and it is important that as many people as possible come out and vote,” she said.
“This is an opportunity to give the government a strong mandate to re-negotiate the Treaty and get a better deal for Ireland.
“Regardless of what happens tomorrow Ireland’s place in Europe is secure and co-operation with our European partners will continue. The electorate needs to decide if the Lisbon Treaty a bad deal for Ireland and is it possible for the government to get a better deal.
“If you think the Irish government can do better - Vote NO.”
Meanwhile, the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner warned Irish voters would be “the first victim” of a rejection, which he said the European Union would simply ignore.
“Yes, they’re not happy because maybe nobody told them that Europe is confronting the rest of the world and that to have advantages for themselves, for the Irish . . . well, Europe has to develop, has to go in the direction of the Treaty of Lisbon.
“Everyone is going to ratify it,” he insisted. If Ireland votes No, Dr Kouchner said the forthcoming French presidency of the European Union would continue to pursue implementation of Lisbon in any event, while “trying to convince the Irish.. to put this treaty back on the drawing board”.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, who canvassed in Dublin on the last day of the campaign, pointed out that there were “tens of millions of people across the EU who have been denied a vote and who oppose this treaty”.
And he said the Dublin government had been “unable to explain how the loss of vetoes, opening of health and education to competition and undermining of workers’ pay and conditions could be a good thing”
Meanwhile, disgruntled Green Party leader John Gormley heaped criticism on the other 26-County establishment parties for failing to involve him in a final press conference.
He described as “regrettable” the decision of the two parties to reject his approach to join Tuesday’s major joint ‘Yes’ campaign conference with Fianna Fail.
There had been suggestions that the Greens’ failure to obtain support for a ‘Yes’ vote among members, and the anti-treaty stance of their former MEP, Patricia McKenna, would have overshadowed the event.
However, Mr Gormley said he had “no idea” why he wasn’t allowed to participate.
Sinn Fein is the only party in the Dublin parliament to oppose the treaty, but the campaign has seen the emergence of a number of strong grass-roots organisations. These include the People’s Movement, set up by Green Party “dissident” Patricia McKenna with other activists, and Richard Greene’s Coir, the group acknowledged to have the best posters of the campaign.
On Saturday, Coir and other anti-treaty campaign groups gathered outside the GPO building on O’Connell Street in Dublin, the site of the 1916 East Rising. and unfurled a banner, which read: “People died for our freedom. Don’t give it away. Vote No.”
In front of the banner, three people dressed in monkey suits danced to foot-tapping music blaring from a portable sound system.
“Like the three monkeys, the new Europe will not see you, hear you or speak to you,” said Greene.
“If Lisbon is passed, we lose control not only of our taxation issues, but also workers’ rights issues and family and social issues.”
At the end of the campaign, McKenna urged voters not to succumb to aggression in the final days before Thursday’s Lisbon referendum.
She said that there was nothing in the treaty that will benefit the Irish people.
“It clearly benefits the bigger countries and the more powerful in Europe,” she said.
* Irish Republican News will publish updates on the referendum voting and the results as they come in tonight and tomorrow. Please revisit our website or check your inbox for updates as they come in.