Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Cowen has taken on tainted mantle of Bertie Ahern

15 April, 2009

Sinn Féin North West EU Candidate and Lisbon Campaign Director Pádraig Mac Lochlainn is a guest speaker at a conference being held today in the European Parliament in Brussels entitled ‘The Lisbon Treaty – The real reasons the people say No’. Today’s conference brings together progressive political parties and trade unionists from across Europe. Cllr. Mac Lochlainn concluded his speech with a call for a new treaty for a new time noting, “the people of Ireland and Europe cannot afford the Lisbon Treaty’s failed agenda”.

Speaking at the conference Cllr. Mac Lochlainn said:

“In his Budget speech last week Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan shamefully tried to deflect his own governments responsibility for the recession by blaming the peoples rejection of Lisbon for the collapse in Ireland’s public finances and the states soaring unemployment.

“Lisbon has nothing to do with Ireland’s recession. The truth is that the culture of vested interests and big business lobbyists in the corridors of Brussels are what created the EU Constitution and its reincarnation, the Lisbon Treaty. And just like in Ireland it is these very same golden circles that have caused and underpin the current recession in other parts of Europe. It is the interests of these lobbyists that insured a privatisation, centralising of powers and decision-making and an anti-workers rights agenda was at the heart of the Lisbon Treaty.

“Let us not forget that it was former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern who delivered the EU Constitution during his European Presidency in 2004. In fact when the failed Constitution was revived in the guise of the Lisbon Treaty Bertie Ahern proudly stated, “90 per cent of it is still there...These changes haven't made any dramatic change to the substance of what was agreed back in 2004.”

“It is the very people who have led our economy into recession through unbridled greed and reckless speculation that have inspired the substance of the Lisbon Treaty. And it is business as usual at the government cabinet table. Brian Cowen is pushing the very same agenda pursued by Bertie Ahern, who arguably took his mantle from Charlie Haughey.

“The Lisbon Treaty was drawn up and delivered by the very leaders who have led us into recession. It is quite simply a wish list of lobbyists and vested interests. It is reckless for any political party or government to promote this Treaty as one that will help Ireland out of recession. Europe is in uncharted waters and now needs a treaty that will reflect this new political and social reality.

“Sinn Féin wants to work with progressive political parties and others across Europe to bring to fruition for our vision of a better Europe - one based on solidarity and fairness.  The first step in that campaign is to get a new treaty.

“The Lisbon rerun deal agreed between the government and Brussels does not address the substantive concerns raised by the electorate. The broader issues of the EU's democratic deficit, its erosion of workers' rights and public services, it’s emerging foreign and defence policy agendas, and its promotion of free trade over fair trade have not been addressed.

“The people of Ireland and Europe cannot afford the Lisbon Treaty. We need a new treaty for a new time.” CRIOCH

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