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Doherty demands Labour clarify position in relation to Halligan comments

14 August, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has demanded that the Labour Party clarify its stance in relation to comments made by the Labour Party’s former General Secretary Brendan Halligan at the Parnell Summer School.

Halligan criticised Ireland’s requirement to hold referenda on EU treaties because he feels the chances of a referenda being lost is “unacceptably high”.

The former Labour Party Oireachtas member proposed that the Constitutional Convention examine ways of “expressing Ireland’s political commitment to membership of the EU as an enduring policy choice” so as to avoid the necessity for future referenda.

Pearse Doherty described the proposal as “outrageous” and “fundamentally undemocratic.”

He said:

“That the Chairperson of the Institute of International and European Affairs and key Labour Party member would make such comments is outrageous.

“Not only are Mr Halligan’s views fundamentally undemocratic but he is also engaged in blatant scaremongering.

"Mr Halligan alleges that Ireland’s EU membership is being put ‘on the line’ by subjecting EU treaties to ratification.

“It is a fundamental democratic right for the Irish people to decide on changes to their constitution, particularly those as far reaching and significant as recent EU treaties.

“Successive governments have consistently eroded Irish sovereignty be that by surrendering key decision-making powers to the EU and IMF or by attempts to avoid referenda on EU treaties.

“The fact is that Ireland’s place in the EU is secure. Allowing the people to have their say on EU treaties does not change that. Those pretending otherwise are being mischievous.

“It has long been clear that the Labour Party is clearly more concerned with kow-towing to the diktats of an elite political group in the EU rather than listening to the views of the Irish people.

“Mr Halligan is a longstanding and key member of the Labour Party in terms of policy making. Labour now needs to make it clear to the people whether Mr Halligan’s view is also the Labour Party’s view.”

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