Irish Republican News · September 17, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Pro-Lisbon side ‘using economic fears’

The main political parties are using the current economic crisis to scare people into supporting the Lisbon Treaty, Sinn Féin’s Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said.

Following a ‘No’ vote last year, a second referendum is being held in the 26 Counties on the Treaty, a constitution for the European Union, on October 2.

Interest in the referendum remains low aming the public, despite rancorous and bitter attacks between the two campaigns. Both sides have accused of each other of distorting the treaty.

Mr Ó Caoláin today [Thursday] said Fianna Fáil, Labour and Fine Gael were deliberately playing on voters’ fears by telling them the country would lose investment, jobs, and support from other EU member states if the electorate voted No again.

“The truth is very different. The cause of this recession is the failed economic policies of this Government and their counterparts across Europe,” he told the joint committee.

He said many of these “failed right-wing politicians” were responsible for negotiating the treaty and many of their “failed right-wing policies” underpin its provisions.

Mr Ó Caoláin said last year almost 900,000 people in the State rejected the treaty because they believed that it was a “bad treaty and because they wanted a better deal for Ireland and for Europe”.

Since then the Government has “prevaricated, sat on their hands and failed to act appropriately” or secure a single change to the text of the treaty, he claimed.

The coalition government was now returning to the people with the exact same proposition, he said.

“If it wasn’t good enough for the electorate then why on earth should it be good enough for us now?”

Mr Ó Caoláin urged voters to reject the treaty, saying “it is the same treaty and so people should give the same answer, a resounding No.”

With the ‘No’ campaign relatively underfunded, it received a boost with the return of Declan Ganley, the former leader of the right-wing ‘Libertas’ organisation.

Speaking on Irish radio, Mr Ganley said the 26 County state was giving Europe exclusive competence in the country’s economic affairs without receiving corresponding democratic accountability.

“The fact is, that the Lisbon Treaty as it is written -- with not one comma changed in it since the last time we voted on it -- is not good for Irish business,” he said. “If anything it is bad for business.”

He said the Treaty was a “bad deal for all of Europe.”

“This is a grossly anti-democratic act that we are even voting again,” he said.

“It makes no sense to transfer exclusive competence in foreign direct investment policy, commercial policy, industrial policy to people you can never vote for or against.”

“We’ve a big enough problem with the Government that we have. If you vote yes you reinforce Brian Cowen’s sellout of this country’s interests to unelected elites in Europe,” Mr Ganley concluded.

Meanwhile, the 26-County Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin again attacked the social conservative group Cóir, known for their energetic campaign, as well as the right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), who he said had posted a “nasty” leaflet to every Irish household.

Mr Martin said Cóir had scared some people into thinking that the minimum wage could be cut by 80 per cent. He said this had been “disproved repeatedly”, but without any supporting argument.

He also expressed outrage at what he said was UKIP’s “12-page full-colour leaflet” due to be delivered to Irish homes.

“To anyone who receives this publication I say, don’t be fooled and don’t take anything on its face value.”

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© 2009 Irish Republican News