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Sinn Féin challenge government on plans to re-run Lisbon

10 December, 2008

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald this morning challenged the Taoiseach in advance of this weeks EU Council meeting during which it is expected that he will announce his intention to re-run the Lisbon Treaty. Ms McDonald has accused the Taoiseach of sitting on his hands for the last six months adding “Brian Cowen has at no stage taken the helm on the issue of Lisbon.”

Speaking from Leinster House the Dublin MEP said:

“This week Brian Cowen will confirm what we have known all along. That he has no intention of addressing the Irish electorates concerns on key issues in the treaty such as workers rights, public services, democracy, the loss of key vetoes, tax sovereignty and neutrality. And it is also clear that he will be supported in this by the Green Party, the Labour Party and Fine Gael.

“At no point during the last six months did the Taoiseach ask any EU leader to re-negotiate the Treaty, nor did the Taoiseach even consider the option of using the mandate given to his government by the people for the good of the country.

“Meaningless declarations or ‘legally binding assurances’ are not worth the paper they are written on. It is ridiculous for Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin to state that the government will be seeking ‘legally binding assurances’. There is no such thing. Unless protocols are secured and ratified by all members states the agreement reached is worthless.

“Securing a permanent Commissioner or an opt-out in the area of security and defence as has been suggested will not be sufficient to address the concerns voices by hundreds of thousands of workers, farmers, small businesses, the development sector, women and young people on their unease with the direction Europe is taking.

“Today’s hand-wringing by Fine Gael and the Labour Party on the government’s ineptness in handling Lisbon is opportunistic and fundamentally dishonest. Both parties campaigned alongside the government for a yes vote in advance of the referendum and both have also played a key part in Brian Cowen’s choreography to prepare the country a re-run of Lisbon. And no doubt both will campaign again with the government when it puts Lisbon to the people for a second time.

“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 the government pursue such a high handed, undemocratic course.  The Irish people voted for a better deal. Such a deal could have been delivered by this government. 

“Almost one million people rejected the Lisbon Treaty. I have no doubt that those who voted against the treaty and whose interests and concerns have been ignored will make their views known in next year’s European elections.” ENDS

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