FG MEP urges May date for Lisbon referendum


FINE GAEL MEP Colm Burke has called for the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty to be held in May and has set out a timeline of action to make that possible.

Mr Burke, who represents Ireland South, has urged all the parties in favour of the treaty to sort the matter out before the European and local elections in June.

“We have now been debating the Lisbon Treaty, both well and badly, for over a year. The various issues have been well ventilated.”

“If an intensive three-week national campaign is deemed sufficient to engage the electorate in the process of deciding by way of a general election who to put governing this country, is it also not sufficient to tease out the pros and cons of the Lisbon Treaty?” he asked yesterday.

Mr Burke said the main political parties would have very little money left after the European and local elections in June. “Will a badly mauled, post-June elections Fianna Fáil party be in any position to appeal convincingly to the people to follow their lead next October?”

He called for Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore and Brian Cowen to form a joint policy platform for a May vote. The first step would be to get the European Council sign-off on the legal guarantees sought by the Government to address voters’ concerns. Then the Government should publish the Constitutional Amendment Bill to incorporate the treaty.

He set out the following timeline as feasible: Declarations agreed at EU summit, March 19th –20th. Government introduces Referendum Bill and announces the Referendum Commission on March 24th. After two weeks of Dáil debate from March 24th to 27th or March 31st or April 2nd, the campaign would commence on Easter Week and the vote would take place on May 1st or 8th.