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23 April 2009 Edition

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Challenging the cosy consensus on Lisbon

IN his recent emergency budget speech 26 County Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan attempted to deflect his own government’s responsibility for the current recession by blaming the people’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty last June for the collapse in the state’s public finances and soaring unemployment rates.
People have come to expect little else from a government that deems it appropriate to fork out a whopping €53,000 parachute payment to Ministers of State who were superfluous to requirements in the first place. But it must be pointed out that neither Fine Gael or Labour have challenged this clear insult to the electorate
As Sinn Féin North West candidate Pádraig Mac Lochlainn pointed out this week, a cosy political consensus has developed between the government and alleged opposition parties on the issue of the Lisbon Treaty.
Lisbon has nothing to do with Ireland’s recession. The truth is that a rotten political culture of vested interests and big business lobbyists in the corridors of Brussels is the very substance of the Lisbon Treaty. And, just like in Ireland, it is these very same golden circles that have caused and underpinned the current recession in other parts of Europe.
It is also worth remembering that it is the very people who have led the Irish economy into recession through unbridled greed and reckless speculation that have inspired the substance of the Lisbon Treaty. It was Bertie Ahern himself who delivered the Lisbon Treaty’s first incarnation, the EU Constitution, during his EU Presidency in 2004.
The cosy consensus between Fine Gael, Labour and the Fianna Fáil/Green Party government on this issue must be challenged. Labour and Fine Gael  need to come out with a definitive rebuttal of the government’s insult to the electorate. In the meantime Sinn Féin will continue to point out that the people of Ireland and Europe cannot afford the Lisbon Treaty. We need a new treaty for a new time.

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