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17 April 2008 Edition

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Government resorts to trickery to railroad Lisbon Treaty

THE Fianna Fáil/Green/PD Government has been accused by Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald of “scandalous” and “underhand” tactics in the Lisbon Treaty campaign and and doing deals with the EU to con voters ahead of the referendum vote.
The MEP made the allegations after a daily newspaper revealed leaked e-mails showing that Irish Government ministers are planning a deliberate disinformation campaign to confuse the public over the implications of the treaty in a desperate effort to ensure that it is passed.
According to the Irish Daily Mail, Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern has been “personally assured” that the European Commission will ‘tone down or delay’ any announcement from Brussels ‘that might be unhelpful’ until after people in the 26 Counties vote on the Treaty.
According to the Mail, the leaked e-mail even says that ministers ruled out an October referendum (which would have been better procedurally) because they fear ‘unhelpful developments’ during the French presidency – particularly related to EU defence’.
This has again raised legitimate fears that Irish neutrality will be fatally undermined if the Lisbon Treaty is passed.
An angry Mary Lou McDonald told An Phoblacht:
“It is scandalous but not surprising that the Irish Government is engaged in underhand tactics to try and force through the Lisbon Treaty without people having access to proper information or a real debate.”
The MEP said that it is very clear that the Irish Government does not want a real debate on the Lisbon Treaty, nor voters to have the full information. “It is also clear that the EU is colluding in this approach and is suppressing information from the electorate.”
Committees in the EU Parliament have been officially advised by the Head of the Constitution Affairs Committee not to debate politically sensitive issues relating to the Lisbon Treaty until after the referendum in Ireland.
The EU Commission has drafted proposals for introducing a Common EU Tax Base for company taxes but has postponed its publication for the time being.
And the Irish Government has refused to distribute copies of the Lisbon Treaty to give people access to the necessary information.
Mary Lou McDonald said:
“To date there has been a lot of bluster from the ‘Yes’ side but little real information about the treaty. The Government has yet to set out in concrete terms why it believes the Lisbon Treaty is a good thing for Ireland. This treaty is not about our membership of the EU. Our position in the EU is secure and will continue to be. What the electorate has to decide is whether the Lisbon Treaty is in Ireland’s interests.
“Sinn Féin believes that the Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland. To keep Ireland at the heart of Europe we need to keep a permanent Commissioner and maintain our voting strength. We need to secure proper protection of our neutral status and end contributions to the European Defence Agency and to the nuclear power industry. We need to ensure that the EU cannot do anything that would jeopardise our future economic prosperity and our farming industry.
“The Government is trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes but I believe that the electorate will be wise to this after the false promises made during the general election.”

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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