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Rural Ireland must reject Lisbon – Ó Caoláin

21 May, 2008


Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Senator Pearse Doherty and MEP Bairbre de Brun today launched an information guide outlining the impact of the Lisbon Treaty on Ireland's rural economy. The guide also addresses the implications of the Lisbon Treaty on international trade and Irish agriculture.

Speaking from Buswell's Hotel Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for rural Ireland. It reduces our influence in the EU and we will lose important vetoes. Article 2 (b) would hand over exclusive competence over international trade agreements to the European Commission and Article 10(a) of the Treaty makes the 'progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade' a key aim of the EU. This Treaty can and should be rejected. Ireland's place in Europe is secure and uncontested. A better deal for Ireland and Europe must be negotiated.

"The loss of an Irish Commissioner for five out of every fifteen years and the reduction in Irelands voting strength by 50% at the European Council will reduce Ireland's influence in Europe. Further review of the Common Agricultural Policy is likely after 2013. This means that future discussions at the Commission could take place without an Irish voice at the table. It also means that our voting strength at Council will be reduced while states such as Britain and Germany will increase. How could any of this be good for Irish agriculture?

"Article 188 of the Lisbon Treaty outlines the rules for the negotiation and conclusion of international trade agreements with non-EU countries and international organisations like the WTO. This article makes a number of important changes from the current situation. Ireland's remaining vetoes in areas such as trade in services and intellectual property are either removed or made so conditional that they are rendered useless.

"The IFA and others have rightly called on the government to state publicly that if the current round of WTO negotiations are bad for Irish agriculture that they will veto the deal. However Article188 removes the grounds on which such a veto could be used. The WTO negotiations are unlikely to conclude before the Lisbon Treaty is ratified. That means for Irish farmers that if the Treaty is ratified there will be no veto available to the Irish government leaving them unable to veto the deal. This is a bad deal. Sinn Féin is calling on rural Ireland to reject the Lisbon Treaty and send the government back to the negotiating table. A better deal is possible." CRÍOCH

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