Early Dáil recall to set up Lisbon Treaty body

 

The Dáil is expected to be recalled early from its summer recess to establish an all-party body on the Lisbon Treaty, it emerged today.

The Government hopes an Oireachtas committee can help plot a way forward following the voters’ rejection of the controversial charter in June.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen is due to meet French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris in September for a progress report, ahead of a crunch European Council meeting on Lisbon a month later.

The Dáil is expected to be recalled in early September, several weeks before its official return date of September 24, to hold a debate and to vote on the election of members to the new body.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said today that the all-party body will reflect on the implications and consequences of the referendum vote.

“It’s a matter for discussion between the parties as to what parliamentary structure we put in place,” he said.

“But first things first, it’s important that parliament reflects on the result and the implications for Ireland and we tease out the implications of this ‘no’ vote.”

The Government Chief Whip Pat Carey is currently in talks with the whips of all parties in the Dáil to seek consensus on the issue.

Minister for Health Mary Harney said the Government wants to establish the committee as soon as possible.

“Subject to agreement with other parties the intention would be to put the committee in place as quickly as possible on an earlier date if recalling the Dáil would be appropriate,” she said.

However Sinn Féin said it has not yet been consulted about the establishment of the proposed committee.

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the all-party body should not be used to “dig the Government out of a hole after it failed to convince voters to support the Lisbon Treaty in June.”

He added: “Nor should it be used as part of a campaign to re-run the referendum. The purpose of any such committee should be to set out terms for a new EU Treaty from the point of view of the Irish people who have given their decisive verdict on Lisbon.”

Meanwhile the Government has officially begun its summer holidays and a weekly rota will be drawn up so that at least one minister will be in charge of running the country in coming weeks.

Oireachtas Committees will continue to sit in Leinster House until the end of next week.

PA