Team No - who's who, how they are funded and their strategy
In addition to Sinn Féin, opposition to the treaty is being voiced by a variety of groups from both left and right wings
As during last year’s referendum campaign, Sinn Féin is the only Dáil party calling for a No vote. The campaign director is Brian Tumelty, and Eoin Ó Broin, former director of the party’s European section, is director of strategy. A core team consisting of the party’s elected representatives and other prominent figures, including former Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald, will front the campaign. The party’s strategy is three-pronged: it will argue that the treaty itself has not changed; that it still represents a “bad deal”; and that it will only add to existing economic woes.
The party will erect about 9,000 posters throughout the country, and will distribute leaflets setting out the party’s case. Last year Sinn Féin spent €120,000 on its Lisbon campaign, €20,000 of which came from the GUE/NGL grouping in the European Parliament. The party says it has spent €20,000- €30,000 so far this year, and expects to spend up to €100,000, out of which €15,000 will come from GUE/NGL. The remainder will be drawn from party coffers.
Dublin MEP and party leader Joe Higgins is the only MEP campaigning against the treaty. His arguments are similar to those he made in last year’s campaign, namely that the treaty represents a threat to public services and would open the way to more privatisation. The party says it is planning a specific focus on the issue of workers’ rights in the coming weeks, and door-to-door canvassing will be a priority. It says that most of its budget of €55,000-€60,000 comes from the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament, to which Higgins belongs. The party will put up 4,000 posters nationwide, and plans to distribute leaflets to every household in Dublin and Cork city.
A group based at the same Dublin address as Youth Defence and the anti-Nice Treaty campaigns, Cóir was criticised last year for distributing leaflets claiming the treaty could change Irish legislation on issues such as abortion, euthanasia and prostitution, and this year for erecting posters featuring claims that Lisbon would lead to the minimum wage being reduced to less than €2.
The organisation, which puts its membership at 2,600 people, will erect 14,000 posters and distribute more than a million leaflets this year. Its poster campaign is being rolled out in three waves: the second – featuring pink hearts – was unveiled last weekend; while the third will focus on the economy and the European Court of Justice.
Leaflets targeting specific groups, including students, farmers, fishermen, and people interested in “social and moral issues” will be distributed to households, third-level institutions and at events such as the National Ploughing Championships, according to spokesman Richard Greene. Cóir’s main campaign co-ordinator is Scott Schittl, originally from the US but now a naturalised Irish citizen.
It hopes to raise and spend €250,000 on its campaign – the same amount it spent last year. It says it has spent €120,000 so far, mainly on posters and campaign literature, and that all donations come from Irish citizens.
Despite his party’s failure to win more than one seat in the European Parliament elections in June, and his subsequent vow to abandon politics, Libertas founder Declan Ganley announced at the weekend that he would campaign for a No vote again.
Apart from Ganley, the campaign is staffed by spokesman John McGuirk and Alan Kennedy, a regular contributor to the politics.ie web forum. Libertas expects to spend between €50,000 and €200,000 on its campaign, significantly less than last year.
Existing donors will be tapped for funding, and the organisation is also seeking to expand its donor base. McGuirk promises a “provocative” campaign incorporating billboard advertisements, posters, leaflets and multimedia. The first posters will be rolled out early next week. The central theme will be the State’s economic travails.
NO TO LISBON
Also know as the Campaign against the EU Constitution (CAEUC), No to Lisbon is an umbrella grouping representing some 15 affiliates. These organisations include the Communist Party of Ireland; Éirígí; Irish Anti-War Movement; Irish Friends of Palestine Against Lisbon; Irish Republican Socialist Party; Irish Socialist Network; Peace Neutrality Alliance (Pana); People Before Profit; People’s Movement; Sinn Féin; Socialist Party; Socialist Workers Party; and the Workers Party.
Two overseas affiliates – Attac Austria and Attac France – are also represented. Campaigners will distribute about 20,000 leaflets and hold public meetings.
Former Green MEP Patricia McKenna is the most prominent voice in this broad-based alliance. Artist Robert Ballagh and composer Raymond Deane are among its patrons. The movement says it campaigns “against any measures that further develop the EU into a federal superstate, and works to defend and enhance popular sovereignty, democracy and social justice in Ireland”. The group has distributed leaflets against the treaty and held public meetings.
One of the country’s largest member unions, Unite, is recommending a No vote. The Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) is also advising its members to vote No, as it did last year when it argued that judgements by the European Court of Justice show workers’ rights have been sidelined in favour of corporate interests.
PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown councillor Richard Boyd Barrett is the main face of People before Profit’s campaign. The group says it will distribute leaflets and posters, in addition to canvassing heavily to
highlight its claims that “the policies copperfastened in the Lisbon Treaty have contributed directly to the economic crisis”.
PEACE AND NEUTRALITY ALLIANCE (PANA)
Pana encompasses a wide range of affiliated organisations. Its chairman, Roger Cole, says the campaign will focus on issues related to “militarisation, neutrality and the neo-liberal agenda”.
WOMEN SAY NO TO LISBON – AGAIN
Drawn from politics, trade unions, academia and the arts, this organisation’s members include Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brun; several Sinn Féin councillors; two Labour councillors; Maura Harrington of the Shell to Sea campaign; writer Margaretta D’Arcy; and UCD academic Ailbhe Smyth. They argue that the treaty “firmly places the interests of business, not people, at the heart of the European project”. Yesterday, the organisation challenged members of the pro-Lisbon Women for Europe campaign group to a public debate.
A socialist republican organisation that campaigned against the Lisbon Treaty in 2008, Éirígí plans to focus its efforts this year on predominantly working-class areas in Dublin and the Border counties. It will distribute 100,000 leaflets to households, and plans to erect 3,000 posters. It estimates the campaign cost will be “in the low thousands”. It says funding comes from member subscriptions and fundraising events.
REPUBLICAN SINN FÉIN
Republican Sinn Féin will reprise many of the arguments related to sovereignty, democracy and neutrality that it used in last year’s campaign. It will produce 20,000 posters and 40,000 leaflets for distribution throughout the country. Vice-president Des Dalton estimates the group’s total campaign spend will be under €10,000, a sum he says will be raised through individual donations.
Run by retired TCD lecturer and Eurosceptic Anthony Coughlan, National Platform runs its campaign through a website and regular mail bulletins.
Farmers for No is led by James Reynolds, a former chairman of the Irish Farmers Association in Longford, who also campaigned for Libertas last year. It includes members of the Irish Farmers Association who disagree with its pro-Lisbon stance.
There are several small left-wing groups campaigning for a No vote. Kieran Allen of the Socialist Workers Party continues to maintain the website – VoteNo.ie – he set it up ahead of last year’s referendum.