Ganley says Libertas became a recognised party despite best efforts of Brussels


At a religious conference this weekend, Libertas’s founder spoke on the EU, abortion and same-sex marriage, writes PATSY McGARRY

LIBERTAS WAS “formally recognised as a political party against the best efforts by Brussels”, the group’s founder Declan Ganley has said. He “had been reliably told” that officials in Brussels were instructed to find one comma out of place, one “i” not dotted, he said.

Two supporters in eastern Europe had been “nobbled” he said, “but there were plenty of others”.

The party was now recognised in all 27 EU countries, he said, and referred delegates to its website

Mr Ganley was speaking in a panel discussion at a conference in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, at the weekend. It was organised by the Catholic John Paul II Society and co-hosted by the pro-life Human Life International group. Mr Ganley was responding to a question from the floor as to whether he was setting up a political party.

He also assured delegates of his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, referring to earlier opening remarks in which he quoted from Pope Benedict’s recent encyclicals, Deus Caritas Estand Spe Salvi, “with their message of God’s love”.

Reflecting on Ireland’s history he continued, “our faith and our rights are strong today because we have suffered the yoke of oppression . . . we grew stronger and we grew free”.

He queried whether “we have lost something” and noted the address of the pope at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome immediately prior to his election in April 2005. There, the pope criticised a “dictatorship of moral relativism . . . in a world where faith in God is seen as a threat”, Mr Ganley said.

He went on to criticise “a media obsessed with breaking down the domestic church . . . and the family” and reminded delegates that “the essence of our faith is that all life is sacred”. He concluded: “Yes we must, we must take risks for truth.”

In the later question-and-answer session, he said any guarantees given by the EU on social and ethical issues “were not worth the paper they are written on”, where the European Court of Justice was concerned.

He continued that: “the laws of the union have primacy over the laws of any member state . . . If there is a conflict, union law rules.”

He continued: “I have been called a liar, a murderer, an arms dealer, a CIA agent, a KGB agent – all of those things, all are filthy lies, but even if [such things were true] it doesn’t change the truth of what we are saying is in this treaty.”

He said that on average more than 80 laws a year came from Brussels. However, he also warned one should “never become a Eurosceptic”. The EU, he said, was “a lesson learned from the bloodfest suffered on this continent for hundreds of years”.

All had been touched by it, including families such as his own and his wife’s. “The miracle of [the European Union] is that it has ended [the violence and war that] was on the European continent and so is deserving of our support.”

However, he continued, “for it to succeed, its legitimacy and its vitality has to come from you”.

The problem was, he said, that “the Brussels elite holds you in contempt . . . telling you to vote again. They told the French, the Dutch, and now you, to vote again . . . taking us for absolute fools, uninformed idiots.”

Ireland, he said, “made the most pro-European statement [in rejecting the Lisbon Treaty]. We want Europe to be strong, but it is also going to be accountable.”

During the same discussion NUI Senator Rónán Mullen said he would be voting No in the next Lisbon Treaty referendum if it could not be guaranteed that Ireland would retain its independence on “certain sensitive social and ethical issues”.