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Lisbon Treaty is the biggest single threat to the future of family farms in a decade – Mac Lochlainn

24 September, 2009


Speaking today from the Ploughing Championships in Athy, Co Kildare where Sinn Féin is holding an information day on the Lisbon Treaty, Director of Sinn Féin’s referendum campaign Cllr Pádraig Mac Lochlainn described the Lisbon Treaty as ‘the single biggest threat to the future of family farming in a decade.’

Cllr. Mac Lochlainn said:

‘The Lisbon Treaty and the significant new powers it gives to the European Commission is the single biggest threat to the future of family farming in Ireland in a decade.

‘Article 2b of the Lisbon Treaty gives the EU exclusive rights over Common Commercial Policy. Article 188C makes qualified majority voting the general rule for international trade agreements, effectively ending the Irish governments veto in this area. Article 10 mandates the EU to end all ‘restrictions to international trade’.

‘What these articles do is transfer the power for the negotiation and conclusion of international agreements into the hands of the European Commission. This is a major departure and could have a detrimental effect on Irish farming and weakens the stance of all future Irish governments.

‘The fact is that if Lisbon is passed the Irish government will immediately lose the ability to block the kind of trade deal that Peter Mandelson was seeking to agree at the World Trade Organisation talks in Geneva in 2008.

‘That deal would have seen a massive drop in the income of family farms in Ireland and across Europe, forcing more families off the land.

“When you combine this with the fact that Ireland could lose it’s permanent Commissioner from 2014 and that our voting strength on the Council of Ministers will be cut by half it is clear that the Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for Irish farming.

‘Sinn Féin believes that both the government and the EU must promote family farming and the rural economy. The best way to do this is to vote no to Lisbon on October 2nd.’

Councillor Mac Lochlainn can be contacted for interview @ 087 2771958

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