Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Lisbon clarifications do not alter text of Treaty in any way

24 June, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Speaking today in the Dáil Sinn Féin Dáil Spokesperson on European Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said one thing was very clear following the European Council of Ministers meeting last week, “in October the Irish people will vote on the very same Treaty they rejected in June 2008.”

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“Let us all be very clear about what happened at last week’s European Council of Ministers meeting.Nothing of substance was achieved. References to legally binding guarantees are meaningless. The guarantees are nothing more than a series of clarifications of some aspects of the Lisbon Treaty.  The clarifications do not alter the text of the treaty in any way.

“Writing on Lisbon II Senior UCD law lecturer Gavin Barrett last week stated in an Irish Times article that, ‘Normally a treaty requires ratification by other member states. This treaty does not. This is because it involves the member states offering existing legal guarantees and clarifications only in respect of substantive legal obligations already explicit or implicit in the treaty.’”

“So when we come to vote on the Lisbon Treaty later this year we will be voting on exactly the same treaty, with exactly the same consequences for Ireland and the EU, as we did on June 12th 2008.

“Let’s just look at one area of the clarifications, Irish neutrality.

“The Decision of the Heads of State agreed last Friday in Brussels says that, ‘The Lisbon Treaty does not affect or prejudice Ireland’s traditional policy of military neutrality.’ This tells us that Irish troops can only be sent abroad with the consent of the Irish government in the Council of Ministers and the Oireachtas.

“Sinn Féin never disputed this fact. Indeed the Lisbon Treaty is very clear in this regard. However neutrality is not only what you do with your troops; it is also about the alliances you form, what you do with your resources, and what other member states do in your name.

“The Lisbon Treaty makes clear its intent when it states that there shall be a common defence. In expanding the scope of permissible military missions it demonstrates its desire to move beyond peacekeeping and civil reconstruction. In reasserting the compatibility of EU foreign and defence policies with those of NATO it reminds that the emerging EU common defence is clearly aligned. Provisions for Permanent Structured Cooperation create the real possibility that wars we do not support will be fought in our name and with our resources. While the Mutual Defence clause creates obligations incompatible with any internationally recognised definition of neutrality.

“Anyone in any doubt about the implications of the Lisbon Treaty for Irish neutrality should read the exchange of views in the opinion section of the Irish Times sparked by Dublin City University academic Karen Devine from the 25 of November to the 24 December 2008.

“When the electorate rejected the Lisbon Treaty by 53% in 2008 they gave Brian Cowen and his government a strong mandate to secure a better deal for Ireland and the EU. The facts are they not secure such a deal. They have returned with the very same Treaty put to us last year.” ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin