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2 April 2009 Edition

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Another View by Eoin Ó Broin

Little Green lies

DÉIRDRE DE BÚRCA is either suffering from a bad case of amnesia or she is telling lies. In her pre-election billboard campaign, the Green Party Euro candidate tells Dublin’s prospective voters “I stand for more powers for Irish voters in Europe.”
Unfortunately for Déirdre, this catchy little slogan is at odds with her support for the Lisbon Treaty.
The Lisbon Treaty will see Ireland’s voting strength at the European Council reduce by 50 per cent. The Council is the body that takes the final decisions on many important matters.
The treaty will also see Ireland, like all member states, lose a commissioner for five out of every 15 years. The Commission is the body that drafts all EU legislation.

At a Sinn Féin conference on the EU Constitution in 2005, Déirdre de Búrca called on people to ‘reject the proposed Constitution’ 

The treaty will also bring about an end of more than 60 member state vetoes, ending member states’ ability to block EU legislation that is not in their interests.
Most significantly, Article 48 will undermine our electorate’s automatic right to a referendum on future changes to EU treaties.
The combined effect of these changes is that, if the Lisbon Treaty were ratified, Irish voters would have substantially less power in the European Union.
Now maybe I’m being a bit harsh. Maybe Déirdre isn’t lying after all. Maybe her memory is still working well. Maybe she actually believes that the Lisbon Treaty really will give Irish voters more power in Europe.
Let’s ask her.
Speaking at a Sinn Féin conference on the EU Constitution in 2005, Déirdre called on people to “reject the proposed Constitution”.
But wait a minute – I thought that the EU Constitution contained exactly the same set of proposals as the Lisbon Treaty. How come Déirdre de Búrca opposed one and now supports the other?
At the same conference she went on to explain the basis of her opposition to the forerunner of the Lisbon Treaty:
“We should reject the centralisation of power proposed by the Constitution... There is a very real possibility on the basis of what is proposed in the Constitution that the EU could develop into a superstate where political power is largely exercised centrally, and where the levels of national and regional government are significantly weakened and even become irrelevant.”
The aspiring Green Party MEP went on to highlight the negative impact of the proposed changes to qualified majority voting and the Commission on smaller states like Ireland. She called for compensatory arrangements to protect the rights of smaller member states as well as the retention of member state vetoes in “certain critical policy areas”, including “the opening up of health, education and cultural services to international trade”.
In conclusion, Déirdre called on all present to “campaign very vigorously to have the EU Constitution rejected, as it will not assist us in achieving the kind of Europe we are aspiring to”.
All of Déirdre’s objections to the EU Constitution are contained in the Lisbon Treaty.  All of the negative implications will still occur if this treaty is ratified.
So, Déirdre, as a Dublin prospective voter, I have a question for you: How can you claim to support more power for Irish voters in Europe while at the same time support a treaty that will significantly reduce the power that we currently hold?
I await your answer with interest

DÉIRDRE: Double vision 

An Phoblacht Magazine


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