Friday, 7 March 2008

Referendum bill makes Irish Constitution completely subject to EU

“This is a referendum on democracy itself” – Ganley

The referendum bill published by the Government makes the Irish Constitution completely subject to the European Union, Libertas Chairman Declan Ganley has said this morning. Referring to a clause in the bill that states that no provision of the Irish constitution will invalidate any measure taken by the European Union, Mr. Ganley said that the Lisbon treaty did nothing to make the EU more democratically accountable while conferring on it absolute supremacy over Ireland.

He also announced that Libertas would launch a full-scale referendum campaign on Wednesday next, March 12th.

The relevant clause of the bill states:

“NO PROVISION OF THIS CONSTITUTION invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by membership of the European Union, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the said European Union or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this section, from having the force of law in the State.” (Emphasis added)

Mr. Ganley said that this clause was in itself sufficient reason to reject the Treaty.

“The Government’s referendum bill makes it completely clear that after Lisbon, the EU will have the final say over nearly all major issues of importance to the Irish people. The Treaty extends the power of the EU Courts, the Commission, and the Council, and weakens Ireland’s voice in those institutions.
I have no objection to a strong, accountable, European Union, which brings together all the people of the continent and empowers them to act as one to address the great issues of the day. This Treaty, however, confers absolute supremacy on the European Union, with absolutely no “checks and balances” placed on that power.

There used to be a saying, – “with great power comes great responsibility”, – but in this case, the EU is gaining absolute power with absolutely no responsibility.

The people of Ireland have to ask themselves whether they want to make themselves subject totally to European Law. Do they want to leave the final say on interpreting our rights and freedoms to a Court with barely any Irish members? Do they want to see our vote halved at the EU council? Do they want to see a President of Europe strutting the world stage and speaking for them without ever having to ask their opinions?

This referendum is nothing less than a vote on our freedom to choose our leaders, to choose our own laws, and to set our own economic course. It is a referendum on Democracy itself.

End “Politics as usual”

Next Wednesday, when I formally set our campaign in motion, I will be asking the Irish people to study the facts of this Treaty. This campaign should not be about politics as usual; it should be about the contents of the Treaty. Let me say now that it is not a referendum on Bertie Ahern; it is a referendum on the future of Ireland and Europe.

The Yes campaign will want to make this a referendum on Sinn Fein, – or a referendum on me, or a referendum on Joe Higgins or Patricia McKenna. Not once in this campaign thus far have I heard a member of the Yes campaign make an argument for handing power over to the EU, – I have only heard them deny that the Treaty does that. If that is the case, why do we need a referendum at all? What are we giving away?

The clause of the referendum bill that I refer to today should make it clear to the media and to the public that the stakes in this referendum are high, and the debate should be honest, and about the facts. I have no intention of engaging in the typical political double speak that the Irish people have become resigned to hearing.

I am a proud European, and delighted to lead a proud, pro European organisation. I will not stand by and watch as politicians twist facts in order to scare the Irish people into making the wrong decision about the future of our Continent.

Libertas will do whatever it takes to defeat this treaty, but we will never lie about its contents, and we will never say that our opponents are a reason not to vote for it.

All I am asking for is an honest debate from the Yes campaign, acknowledging the stakes; and all I am asking the voters is this: Given what we know for certain about this Treaty, do they really, really, want to approve it?”

John McGuirk, Bracken Public Relations
086 858 2351 / 01 677 3277

John McGuirk

Bracken Public Relations
11 Inns Court
Winetavern Street
Dublin 8

(T) 01 677 3277
(M) 086 858 2351