The Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign continues to expose a gulf of opinion between the people of Ireland and the wealthy elites.
The treaty referendum allows for the transfer of powers from Dublin to an enlarged, federalised bureaucracy in Brussels.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny today refused to rule out holding a third referendum if the Lisbon Treaty is again defeated and his party is elected to government.
Sinn Fein senator Pearse Doherty said the refusal was “ludicrous”.
“This demonstrates that Fine Gael has no intention of listening to the will of the people and raises questions regarding that party’s suitability for government.
“Another referendum if there is a second defeat would be a monumental waste of public money as well as being yet another affront to democracy
Last month, a Supreme Court challenge to the holding of re-run referenda, which would have prevented the October 2 referendum going ahead, was rejected.
The Dublin government, in tandem with the main opposition parties, the mainstream media and big business, have again sought to pressure the public into avoiding a ‘Yes’ vote.
Opinion polls have revealed that a significant number of ‘Don’t Know’ voters still exist, which could again cause a surprise rejection of the Treaty.
Speaking at a parliamentary committee on European Affairs, Mr Doherty challenged the Fine Gael leader on a number of other issues including his party’s record on workers right, its support for common defence and assertions the party has made on voting strength as well as claims it has made about the impact of a ‘Yes’ vote for employment and the economy.
On the day it emerged that the EU had backed the recent transfer of Dell’s major facility at Limerick to Poland, costing thousands of jobs, Mr Doherty said the claims of European Union protection of Irish jobs was “nonsensical”.
Sinn Fein deputy Caoimhghin O Caolain described the decision by the European Commission to clear the Polish Government’s 54.5 million Euro aid package to Dell as “a disgrace.”
“This is yet another decision by the European Commission that is being taken to facilitate big business to the detriment of ordinary working families in Ireland. It is an example of the race-to-the bottom in action,” he said.
The announcement came just a few days after EU Commission President Barroso visited Limerick and unveiled an aid package for those made redundant by Dell.
“Yet here we have the EU Commission approving the use of Polish Government funds to facilitate the abandonment of those same workers,” Mr O Caolain said
“We are being bombarded with the message from the pro-Lisbon political parties to ‘Vote Yes for Jobs’ but now we see the stark reality of EU employment policies in action.”
Mr O Caolain failed to elicit a response from the Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan, in the Dublin parliament today.
“She also failed to give a commitment to have an emergency debate on unemployment when the Dail resumes after the Lisbon referendum.
“All the pro-Lisbon parties - Fianna Fail, the Greens, Fine Gael and Labour - have been struck dumb by the Dell scandal. They are in a conspiracy of embarrassed silence because the EU Commission, by its actions, has completely blown out of the water the ‘Yes’ side’s false argument that adoption of the Lisbon Treaty is vital for jobs.”
Sinn Fein also criticised “scare-mongering” by the larger parties about Ireland’s position in the European Union in the event of a ‘No’ vote.
Sinn Fein’s Aengus O Snodaigh pointed out that if Lisbon goes through, the 26-County state will have far less power in Europe than it enjoys at the moment.
He pointed to Article 9C and 9D of the Treaty, which reduce Ireland’s standing in the Council of Ministers and EU Commission, respectively.
“Ireland’s place is at the heart of Europe,” said Mr O Snodaigh.
“Sinn Fein wants to see Ireland play a strong and positive role in shaping the future of there European Union.
“Unfortunately the Lisbon Treaty significantly weakens Ireland’s voice within the EU institutions. In effect it will push Ireland to the sidelines of Europe. Now more than ever it is vital to protect national interests and to maintain our position at the heart of Europe.”
Libertas leader Declan Ganley said that claims that a ‘No’ vote in next month’s treaty referendum will cost jobs were “ridiculous”.
The right-wing campaigner pointed to articles on the subject which had appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times in recent weeks.
“Our economic circumstances in this country have now deteriorated to a point where we need flexibility to be able to get out of this mess.
“This formula is a pre-crisis treaty for a post-crisis world, as the Financial Times described it,” Mr Ganley continued. “It is not good enough. It will not do the job for us.”