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McDonald - Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland

5 February, 2008


Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald this morning launched Sinn Féin's alternative guide to the Lisbon Treaty. She said 'This referendum campaign is going to be very different to previous EU referenda. People know that Ireland's place in the EU is secure and that it is possible to support the EU and be against the Lisbon Treaty. People will be deciding how to vote on the basis of how this Treaty will impact on Ireland. This will inform the debate for the coming months."

Ms. McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin believes Ireland's place is in Europe. Co-operation with our European partners is valuable and must continue. Sinn Féin has supported EU measures that are in Ireland's interests in relation to Irish agriculture, the environment and equality. We welcome EU support for the peace process in Ireland and for the development of infrastructure. However, not everything has been good. This Treaty is a step too far and is a bad deal for Ireland.

"This referendum campaign is going to be very different to previous EU referenda. Contrary to what the government has claimed no matter how people vote in the referendum Ireland's place in the EU will be secure.

"You can support the EU and be against the Lisbon Treaty. You can support the EU and still want to see democracy and accountability. You can support the EU and still believe that our government should use their position positively and not go along with what suits the larger countries.

"The Lisbon Treaty referendum will have huge consequences for this country and it is important that there is a mature debate. In January the National Forum on Europe produced a summary guide to the Lisbon Treaty. Unfortunately despite detailed discussions with them we felt that the final document was biased and so have produced our own an alternative guide to the Lisbon Treaty.

"The Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland. It gives the EU too much power and reduces our ability to stop decisions that are not in Ireland's interests. It cuts our voting strength on the Council of Ministers by more than half and ends our automatic right to a Commissioner. It erodes neutrality. It allows the EU to act in the international arena in the same way as a state and to form a diplomatic corps. It seriously undermines workers rights and public services and is bad for the developing world. Ireland deserves better." ENDS

Ten reasons why the Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland

1. It puts at risk our automatic right to a referendum on future changes to existing treaties.

2. It gives the EU too much power and reduces our ability to stop decisions that are not in Ireland's interests.

3. It gives 105 additional powers to the EU on issues such as international relations, security, trade and economic policy. And in more than 60 of these areas we will lose our right to stop laws not in our national interest.

4. It creates an EU Foreign Minister and common defence and foreign policies, and allows the EU to act on the international stage in the same way as a state and to speak on our behalf.

5. It erodes neutrality by drawing us into a common defence and obliging us to increase military spending.

6. It cuts our voting strength on the Council of Ministers by more than half.

7. It ends our automatic right to a Commissioner.

8. It seriously undermines workers rights and public services.

9. It mandates the EU to promote nuclear energy.

10. It undermines the EU's commitment to tackling global poverty and inequality.

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