Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Lisbon re-run package - government selling the people a pup

11 December, 2008


Speaking from Brussels where EU leaders are attending the December Council meeting Sinn Féin Lisbon Campaign Director and EU candidate for the North West Cllr. Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has described the proposed deal that Brian Cowen is to agree the basis on which to re-run the failed Lisbon Treaty in Ireland as a "sham that not only fails to address the reasons why the people rejected the Treaty but it's a package of proposals that deliberately seeks to sell the Irish people a pup."

Speaking from Brussels Mr. Mac Lochlainn said:

"Whilst the Irish people have yet to be informed what the terms of Brian Cowen's negotiations with his EU peers are, one thing is very clear. The Taoiseach 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.

"Not only has the Taoiseach refused to ask EU member state leaders to re-negotiate the Treaty at any stage over the last 6 months, he has actively encouraged them to proceed with ratifying Lisbon. At no point did he even consider the option of using the mandate given to his government by the people for the good of the country. He has done the very opposite by endeavouring to create a sense of Irish isolation in Europe so as to force the Irish peoples hand. This tactic has not worked to date and will not work into the future. The Irish people like the French and Dutch before them have legitimate concerns that must be addressed.

"Elements of the package to be agreed have been outlined in today's media. Whilst we have yet to see the deal we do have a sense of its main components. Not content with ignoring the Irish electorates mandate the government in now intent on selling them a pup.

"Claims that Ireland cannot keep its permanent Commissioner under existing Nice rules are simply untrue. The fact is that the EU Commission can retain its current make-up of a Commissioner per member state under the existing rules. Under the Nice Treaty the EU agreed to reduce the number of Commissioners when the number of member states reached 27. However the detail of this was left to the Council to decide. Nice did not specify how many Commissioners there would be or how they would be rotated. These decisions were left to the Council acting unanimously. Therefore under the present rules, the Council can decide to leave the Commission at its current size. Ireland can veto any efforts to reduce the number of Commissioners. I

"Declarations are not worth the paper they are written on as they are not legally binding. Unless 'protocols' are secured and ratified by all members states the agreement reached is worthless. There is no 'third way' between declarations and protocols as has been suggested this morning. Any suggestion of a third way is a convoluted attempt by government and the Yes campaign to justify re-running the very same treaty that the people rejected in June.

"Securing an opt-out or protocol in the area of security and defence may be welcomed but it will not be sufficient to address the concerns voiced 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. And the issue of the Future of Europe is a critically important one.

"It is my form view that Brian Cowen is underestimating the deep anger out there at the arrogance of his government and their mishandling of the current economic crisis. The Irish people voted for a better deal and they rightfully expected the country leader to make that better deal happen. Not only has he failed to get a better deal for the people he has failed to even initiate negotiations.

"Almost one million people rejected the Lisbon Treaty. There is 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

Connect with Sinn Féin