Anti-Lisbon groups plan to protest during Sarkozy’s visit
OPPOSITION TO a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty was recently expressed by a coalition of left-wing campaign groups, which also announced plans to protest during French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Irish visit this month.
“The Government is going to come back to EU leaders in October with a ‘solution’ to this problem and we reject this approach,” Brendan Young of the Campaign Against the EU Constitution said at a press conference in Dublin.
“We will campaign against any re-run of the Lisbon Treaty. We will seek the largest No vote if the Government dares to re-run a treaty that people believe is dead,” he added.
Richard Boyd Barrett of the Irish Anti-War Movement said it was “clear Brian Cowen does not respect the No vote”.
“If Cowen respected the No vote he would have gone to the European Council and said the decision is final. He is not saying that. He is trying to soften the Irish people up,” he said.
“It is unacceptable to ask us to vote a second time on the treaty,” Patricia McKenna of the People’s Movement said. “There is a misleading message being sent out that if we reject a second Lisbon Treaty referendum with some additions, we will be isolated.”
The Government was also criticised for disrespecting the No vote. “The Government is mandated by the Irish people not to renegotiate but to be part of a new direction for Europe,” Daithí Doolan of Sinn Féin said.
An immediate halt to ratification by other EU states was called for by the coalition which wants the EU to take a new political direction. “The idea that the EU can go ahead without Ireland is false and everyone knows it,” Ms McKenna said.
“It is not a change of emphasis we want but a root-and-branch reform,” Mr Doolan said. “People are looking for a more social Europe.”
Members of the coalition were also confident that there would be a stronger No vote a second time around and that there would be little support from lower ranks of mainstream political parties.
“With local elections coming up, many councillors do not want to go near a referendum,” Mr Doolan said.
“They would have to convince people they didn’t convince the last time around – it is difficult to sell the idea that it is worth doing a second time,” said Mr Young.
France takes over the presidency of the EU today. The group plans to hold a protest against the visit of Mr Sarkozy to Ireland on July 11th.
It is calling on him to respect the French and Dutch votes on the EU constitution and the Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty.
“Mr Sarkozy with his Gaullist delusions is intent on getting the foreign policy and militarisation proposals through,” said Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party, referring to the French president as “Mr Neoliberalist himself”.
“We hope Sarkozy realises it is a mistake to find a way to force the treaty through,” Ms McKenna added. The coalition will also hold a public debate on the future direction of Europe on July 20th.
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