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Michéal Martin running scared on Lisbon

16 January, 2009

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has this afternoon charged Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin with running scared from a public debate on Lisbon II and its impact on Ireland in Europe.

The Dublin MEP said:

“If there is any confusion in Europe regarding Ireland’s relationship with the union then the blame for this lies squarely at the door of the government. Throughout the campaign the majority of No campaigners and no voters said time and time again that Ireland’s place remains firmly within Europe. It is Minister Martin and the Taoiseach who have created any uncertainty about Ireland’s position in Europe by refusing to articulate with confidence and clarity the Irish peoples support for the EU following their rejection of the Treaty last June.

“Minister Martin’s address to the Institute of International and European Affairs yesterday was a catalogue of mistruths and propaganda from a Minister running scared of a full and frank public debate on Lisbon II. Micheál Martin refused to open up the Oireachtas Sub Committee on Ireland’s Future in Europe to the people of Ireland. With each public presentation the Minister makes on the subject of Lisbon it becomes more and more evident why that was.

“He, like the government, is running scared from an open debate on the Lisbon Treaty and its impact on Ireland and Europe. He does not want to debate the consequences this Treaty will have on the direction of Europe and Ireland’s place within it He does not want to engage on the key issues contained within the Treaty that will impact on workers rights, public services, democracy, security and defence policy and Ireland’s ability to determine its own taxation policy as well as a number of other areas affected by the Treaty’s self amending clauses.

“The No campaigns message throughout the Lisbon campaign was a positive one. We can and should get a better deal. We are ambitious for Ireland in Europe and what we can achieve. We are a young, vibrant and educated country with an instinctively innovative economic approach and a belief in social justice. What has held us back at every turn is parochial self serving Fianna Fáil policy making and its cosy relationships with developers and the financial sector.

“Fianna Fáil are failing the people of Ireland, at home, in Europe and internationally. Their approach to Lisbon reflects their approach to Ireland’s economy. The government’s kowtowing to developers and the financial sector has left the public finances in crisis at a yet to be defined cost to taxpayers and SMEs. Their kowtowing to the European political establishment on Lisbon, whose failed policies of privatisation and deregulation are now costing low and middle income families so dearly across Europe, reflects the same ineptness.

“Ireland’s rejection of Lisbon was an opportunity for the Irish government and indeed all EU leaders. It was an opportunity to review the current direction of Europe and to listen to their people on the type of Europe they want. Micheál Martin’s speech yesterday was a truly sad example of a government unable to grasp the big picture, to plan for the future or to build a better Ireland in Europe.” ENDS

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