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27 November 2008 Edition

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Sinn Féin slams Lisbon re-run bid

THE Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Lisbon’s draft report was described this week by Sinn Féin as being out of step with the views of voters and criticised for not reflecting voters’ concerns.
Sinn Féin intends to publish its own minority report as An Phoblacht is published on Thursday to counter-balance the committee’s report, also due for release today.
Senator Pearse Doherty said:
“Sinn Féin took its place on the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Lisbon to play a constructive role in addressing the issues raised by the Irish people during the Lisbon Treaty campaign.
“We were concerned from the outset that the purpose of the committee was to prepare the ground for a rerunning of the Lisbon Treaty and not, in fact, to tackle the issues raised by the people throughout the referendum campaign or indeed engage with them on the future of the EU and Ireland’s role within it. The draft report presented confirms our concerns were well placed.
“The committee’s work programme and structure has been prescriptive. It has refused to bring the committee out to wider civic society, choosing instead to bring into the Oireachtas the same voices that participated in the referendum debate.”
The Sinn Féin senator said that not only has this approach not addressed the people’s concerns, it also does the EU “a great disservice”. The committee process, he argued, was an opportunity to meaningfully engage with ordinary people on what direction they believe Europe needs to take. It was an opportunity to listen to their concerns on the treaty’s impact on workers’ rights, public services, tax sovereignty, decision-making procedures and militarisation. It was an opportunity for politicians to interact with the electorate on the Lisbon Treaty.

PARTIES ‘OUT OF STEP’
“Instead,” he said regretfully, “we have sat through weeks of the same politicians, lobby groups, academics and EU officials who have already loudly participated in the referendum debate, the majority of whom publicly supported a ‘Yes’ vote.
“During the referendum it was clear that the majority of political parties were out of step with the views of the electorate and did not understand the issues being raised. It is still clear, six months on, that the same political parties are still out of step and are now simply refusing to accept or uphold the views raised by their own electorates.
“The report we have been presented with here today reflects this political gulf between the main political parties and voters on the Lisbon Treaty.
“Sinn Féin has made wide-ranging amendments to the report and, as a result, key sections need to be rewritten entirely, particularly on the issues of democracy, workers’ rights, public services, defence and neutrality.
“It is unlikely that the committee members will be prepared to accept any of Sinn Féin’s amendments, which will leave us with no option but to withhold our support for the committee’s final report. We will be publishing a minority report to counterbalance the committee’s report.”

There is a political gulf between the main political parties and voters on the Lisbon Treaty 

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