Friday, August 14, 2009
Sinn Féin launched its No to Lisbon (again) campaign today. Almost 1,000,000 people, or 53% of the electorate rejected the Lisbon Treaty on June 12th 2008. People voted for a better deal for Ireland and Europe. The result presented the Irish government with a strong mandate to go to the European Council and negotiate a better Treaty for Ireland and Europe. The Government wasted that mandate.
The Government and the Yes side are claiming that the so called legally binding guarantees secured at the European Council meeting in June have addressed the concerns of the Irish people about this Treaty. These ‘guarantees’ are nothing more than a series of clarifications of some aspects of the Lisbon Treaty. They do not alter the text of the treaty in any way nor do they change the impact that the treaty will have on Ireland and the EU. Their legal status is irrelevant. On October 2nd we will be voting on exactly the same treaty, with exactly the same consequences for Ireland and the EU, as we did last year.
These consequences include the erosion of Irish Neutrality, the weakening of Ireland’s position in Europe, the loss of the Irish Commissioner, the erosion of workers’ rights and public services, the loss of an automatic right to a referendum on future treaty changes, continued participation in the European Atomic Energy Community, advancing the cause of tax harmonisation, the promotion of common foreign and defence policies and the militarisation of Europe and much, much more.
After the last referendum Sinn Féin presented the government with a detailed series of proposals for a better deal for Ireland and the EU. Our proposals aimed to create a more democratic, equal, just and peaceful EU with protocols on Irish neutrality and tax sovereignty, a strengthened social clause, the retention of a permanent commissioner for all member states and the removal of the self amending clauses. The Government’s guarantees do not address any of these issues.
The Lisbon Treaty was a bad deal for Ireland when it was presented to the people last year and it remains the very same bad deal. Sinn Féin will continue to fight for a better deal for Ireland and for Europe. In order to get a better deal we must reject this treaty once again. I am calling on the voters to do just that.”