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Irish government engaged in underhand tactics to try and force through Lisbon Treaty

14 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald speaking following media reports about the Irish government's handling of the Lisbon referendum to date said: "it is scandalous but not surprising that the Irish government are engaged in underhand tactics to try and force through the Lisbon Treaty without people having access to proper information or a real debate.

Ms. McDonald said, "It is very clear that the Irish government are engaged in underhand tactics to try and force through the Lisbon Treaty referendum. They do not want a real debate on the Lisbon Treaty and they do not want people to have the full information. It is also clear that the EU is colluding in this approach and is suppressing information from the electorate.

"Committees in the EU Parliament have been officially advised by the Head of the Constitution Affairs committee not to debate politically sensitive issues relating to the Lisbon Treaty until after the referendum in Ireland. The EU Commission has drafted proposals for introducing a Common EU Tax Base for company taxes, but has postponed its publication for the time being. And the Irish government has refused to distribute copies of the Treaty to give people access to the necessary information.

"To date there has been a lot of bluster from the yes side but little real information about the Treaty. The government has yet to set out in concrete terms why they believe the Lisbon Treaty is a good thing for Ireland. This Treaty is not about our membership of the EU. Our position in the EU is secure and will continue to be. What the electorate has to decide is whether the Lisbon Treaty is in Ireland's interests.

"Sinn Féin believes that the Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland. To keep Ireland at the heart of Europe we need to keep a permanent Commissioner and maintain our voting strength. We need to secure proper protection of our neutral status and end contributions to the European Defence Agency and to the nuclear power industry. We need to ensure that the EU cannot do anything that would jeopardize our future economic prosperity and our farming industry.

"The government is trying to pull the wool over people's eyes but I believe that the electorate will be wise to this after the false promises made during the General Election." ENDS

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