Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described as “outlandish and insulting” the attempts by Pat Cox to compare the Good Friday Agreement and the Lisbon Treaty and to castigate Sinn Féin for not supporting the latter. Noting that Mr. Cox made his remarks in the Border County of Monaghan and that he had no role in the Peace Process, Deputy Ó Caoláin said Mr. Cox “deserves the Brass Neck of Europe Award”.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Pat Cox has made a foray into the Border Counties in the company of Fianna Fáil TD Rory O’Hanlon and has used the visit to throw outlandish and insulting charges at Sinn Féin.
“He attempts a ludicrous comparison between the Good Friday Agreement and the Lisbon Treaty, stating that the so-called guarantees obtained by the Irish government have been lodged with the UN in the same way as the Good Friday Agreement.
“We are not voting on the so-called guarantees, we are voting on the actual content of the Lisbon Treaty, not one comma of which has been changed, as Pat Cox well knows.
“Pat Cox played no role in the negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement. I did. I was also deeply involved in the debates within Sinn Féin afterwards and I know that the Agreement was proposed and supported on the basis of what it contained and the potential it had to make peaceful political progress possible. It was and is dependent on the political will of both Governments and all parties to implement it. The lodging of the Agreement with the UN had little to do with how it was ‘sold’.
“The issue is not the manner in which the so-called guarantees on Lisbon will come into effect by being lodged with the UN. The issue is that they do not alter the content of the Lisbon Treaty.
“For example, on taxation they merely restate that any move to a common corporation tax system across the EU would require a unanimous vote at the Council of Ministers. What it failed to address was Article 48 of the treaty. This article allows the Council of Ministers, by unanimous decision, to alter the text of existing EU treaties without automatic recourse to a referendum in Ireland.
“Today if the EU wanted to agree a common corporation tax system they would have to do so in a broader treaty revision. This would require both unanimity at council and ratification in each member state and a referendum in Ireland. If Lisbon is passed we would have to trust this Government and all of its successors.
“Pat Cox deserves the Brass Neck of Europe Award for his brazen attempt to use the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement to promote his arguments for the Lisbon Treaty.” ENDS