Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

5 June 2008 Edition

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With seven days to go, make sure it's 'No'

On Wednesday, the Referendum Commission in the 26 Counties confirmed Sinn Féin’s position that the Irish veto on international trade agreements will effectively be gone if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified.
As Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris pointed out earlier in the week, assurances from Taoiseach Brian Cowen on the use of a veto on trade agreements not in Ireland’s interests are simply not worth the paper they are written on. The Irish Government cannot commit to using a veto if in fact that veto does not exist.
The reason the government spent months hand wringing on this issue and the reason Taoiseach Brian Cowen made commitments to the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) at the eleventh hour is because he knows that the treaty text does not support his claim on the veto.
With one week to go we are entering the final stages of the Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign. To date the ‘Yes’ campaign has yet to provide any convincing argument as to why people should support the Treaty. They have yet to explain how it is in Ireland’s interests for the 26 Counties to lose a Commissioner and reduce its voting strength at the EU Council of Ministers. They have yet to explain how undermining public services and workers’ rights is in the best interests of the economy or how losing key vetoes on public services and international trade will benefit anyone. They have yet to explain how increased military expenditure and continued support for nuclear power is in the interests of the people.
On balance when the increased centralisation of powers, self amending articles, loss of influence of smaller member states and weak measures offered to member state parliaments and citizens are weighed up, there is no doubt that the Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal both for Irish and EU democracy, and if ratified will deepen the existing democratic deficit.
Sinn Féin firmly believes that a better deal is possible. A ‘No’ vote on 12 June will give the Irish Government a strong mandate to negotiate a better deal for Ireland, the EU and the developing world.

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