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Doherty challenges members of the European Parliament Constitution Committee on their conduct during the Irish referendum

29 October, 2008 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty strongly challenged members of the European Parliament Constitutional Affairs Committee on their conduct during the Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign when they attended the Oireachtas sub committee on the Lisbon Treaty this morning.

He challenged them on their decision to oppose a motion calling on the European Parliament to respect the outcome of the Lisbon referendum in Irelandand on their decision to circulate a letter in advance of the referendum advising EU committees to avoid sensitive items that could impact on the decision of the Irish people.

Senator Doherty said:

“There were serious concerns raised in Irelandat the conduct of the European Parliament Constitutional Affairs Committee in the run up to the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Their opposition to a motion calling on the European Parliament to respect the outcome of the Lisbon referendum caused deep anger at the time. The letter circulated by the chair of the Committee asking other EU committees to avoid sensitive items that could impact on the decision of the Irish people, only served to make matters worse.

“It is clear from the robust exchanges this morning that the EU Constitutional Affairs Committee has learned nothing from the last six months. They pointedly refused to answer a range of questions on what issues they didn’t want the Irish people to know about in advance of the referendum.

“The commentary from MEP Gay Mitchell was also enlightening when he argued that there was no democratic deficit in the EU.

Commenting on the complete lack of balance in relation to speakers addressing the committee, Senator Doherty described the decision to withdraw the invitation to the ICSA as a disgrace. He said that the one sided nature of proceedings was a growing concern. The purpose of the committee was to understand public opinion in relation to the Lisbon Treaty. Instead there is little or no public engagement and there is a serious absence of balance in relation to the invited guests who are addressing the committee.

Senator Doherty concluded by warning the work of the committee was at risk of becoming farcical.

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