Kerry Socialist Joe gets 'good response' in the capital


Steven Carrolljoins Joe Higgins canvassing in O'Connell Street, Dublin.

WITH THREE days to go before polling, campaigners against the Lisbon Treaty were visible in large numbers in Dublin city centre yesterday.

"We're getting a good response and I think this thing will be extremely close," said Socialist Party leader Joe Higgins as he canvassed near the GPO.

"We've had a lot of interest in what we see as the crucial issues in Lisbon. I have spoken about the possible privatisation of health and education, further militarisation of the EU and workers' rights, and people seem genuinely concerned about these matters."

Assisted by his party colleagues, Higgins took to O'Connell Street at lunchtime to spread the word on the No vote, and passersby were quick to offer the Kerryman their support.

"You don't need to tell me Joe, I'll be voting No and the wife will be too," said one man as he grasped a Socialist Party leaflet in passing.

David Keane (31), from Galway, said a lack of information, rather than a lack of interest in Europe, was driving the No vote forward.

"I won't vote Yes on something I don't understand just because the big parties are telling me I should. This whole thing has been a disaster, and supporting a No vote won't mean Europe will come to an end on Friday."

Spanish woman Carmen Oroz De Kelly disagreed with the Socialists' No message and said Europe has been too good to Ireland for the State to reject Lisbon. "I came here in 1963 to a poor country. There was little food, no employment, no roads. Look how Ireland has changed since you joined the EU. These No arguments are completely against any logic," she said.

Unperturbed, Joe outlined why he believed Lisbon would not benefit workers' rights.

"The Taoiseach fatally undermined the case for workers' rights through a Yes vote and the Charter of Fundamental Rights when he point-blank refused to promise legislation giving workers the right to organise and be recognised by their employer."

A short distance away on Grafton Street, the No campaign was also making its voice heard as the People Before Profit Alliance used megaphones. Alliance member Ailbhe Smyth said the reasons to vote No were simple to see. "I believe it will mean a less democratic, less just and more militarised Europe."