Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Lisbon No Vote will make its voice heard at next years European elections

9 December, 2008 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD


Speaking during tonight's Dáil debate on the Report of the Oireachtas Committee on Ireland's future in the European Union Deputy Ó Snodaigh said "The Irish people voted for a better deal and that deal should have been delivered by this government. I believe that the almost one million people who rejected the Lisbon Treaty and indeed those who voted for it but respected the democratic outcome will make their views known in next year's European Union elections."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"It is now less than 48 hours until the European Council meets in Brussels. It has been obvious all along that the government had absolutely no intention of addressing the concerns of the Irish electorate in relation to the Lisbon Treaty and instead set themselves on a course to re-run the referendum. At no point in the last six months did the Taoiseach ask any EU leader to re-negotiate the Treaty, nor did the government even consider for one minute the option of using the mandate which they had been given for the good of this country. It is clear that later this week the Taoiseach will announce his intention to hold a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. And it is clear that he will be supported in this by the Green Party, the Labour Party and Fine Gael.

"The Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Ireland' Future in Europe provided the opportunity for a deep and meaningful engagement with the public on the direction of the European Union. Instead it was a missed opportunity. The committees report before us was always going to mirror the views of the government given the limited terms of reference and refusal to engage with wider public opinion to actually understand their views.

"Sinn Féin did not support the report produced by the sub-committee and instead produced our own 'Majority View - Minority Report - The Future of the EU and Ireland's role in shaping that future' This report sets out in detail the challenges facing Ireland and the EU and the mechanism which we believe could have been used to address the concerns of the Irish electorate on key issues such as maintaining our political strength, protecting neutrality, workers rights, public services and tax sovereignty. It is clear that these issues can only be addressed in a new Treaty which includes legally binding protocols and not declarations or clarifications or assurances which are not worth the paper they are written on.

"In Sinn Fein's view the government and opposition parties have abused the Oireachtas, cynically manipulating the sub-committee in order to set the ground for a re-run of the Lisbon Treaty. In so doing they have done a great disservice to the Irish people and the European Union as a whole. The sub-committee could have been an invaluable opportunity to open up a meaningful and wide ranging debate about the future of the EU and Ireland's place in that future.

"As a result the sub-committees official report will add nothing either to our understanding of the EU, the Lisbon Treaty or the various options that currently exist for the future of the EU.

"There is deep anger out there at the arrogance of this government and their mishandling of the current economic crisis. This will be worsened if they pursue such a high handed, undemocratic course. The Irish people voted for a better deal and that deal should have been delivered by this government. I believe that the almost one million people who rejected the Lisbon Treaty and indeed those who voted for it but respected the democratic outcome will make their views known in next year's European Union elections." ENDS

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