Lisbon outtakes


A collection of news from the campaign trail

Chancer or not, Kenny knows a verse or two

Canvassing in Dublin was a competitive business on Saturday, with Nos and Yeses of all shades handing out leaflets near the GPO in O’Connell St, writes Fiona Gartland.

Enda Kenny was prepared to do whatever it took to get a Yes vote. Making his way down Henry Street with a band of young supporters in yellow Yes T-shirts, he was followed by a No campaigner who chanted like a paper boy “Save the harp! Say no to the fiddle!” Kenny also seemed to be a magnet for older women of the Yes, No and Maybe persuasion who wanted to shake his hand, wag their fingers at him or listen.

Near the end of Henry Street, the Fine Gael group’s progress was halted by about 20 men, all in red shirts, who had attracted a large crowd of shoppers. Mr Kenny stood and watched as they sang a sea shanty. Called Stuurloos, the group had travelled to Dublin from Wognum in Holland and were hogging the limelight with their harmonies.

Kenny shook hands with the singers and together they launched in to a rendition of Ewan MacColl’s Dirty Old Town. And Kenny wasn’t just winging the chorus, he knew the verses as well. Afterwards, he got a round of applause and slipped out of the circle to head toward Mary Street.

“Fair play to him,” one onlooker said.

“Chancer,” said another.

War of words spills on to streets

A heated argument between Proinsias De Rossa MEP and Declan Ganley of Libertas over the treaty spilled out of the Newstalk studio in Dublin city centre yesterday, down the stairs and out on to the street, with the men trading argument and insult all the way.

Passersby witnessed a rare old barney between the two men, neither of whom believes in turning the other cheek. The polite Richard Boyd Barrett, who was also a guest on Karen Coleman’s programme, seemed stunned by the passionate engagement of his elders.

A beastly message to show the Government has some 'neck'

Cóir campaigners were also out in force outside the GPO in Dublin on Saturday, writes Fiona Gartland.

First the giraffes arrived, to represent the Government’s “neck” in looking for a second vote on the Lisbon Treaty.

Then the hand-painted banners were unfurled: “We love our constitution, vote No” and “People died for our freedom, vote No”.

At one end of the line of No campaigners, a woman handed out leaflets containing images of the Virgin Mary.

They looked like they might contain a prayer, but inside they warned of euthanasia. They say the Lisbon Treaty is godless and call on St Michael to defend us. Next come the pink balloons and the leaflets that look like advertisements for a city centre nightclub. “Club Lisbon . . . Free admission but there’s a catch or two,” they read.

Cóir spokeswoman Niamh Ó Broin defended its poster on the minimum wage.

She said protocol 27 of the treaty reinforced a European Court of Justice judgment, Ruffert, from April 2008, that ruled a Polish company could pay its Polish workers 46 per cent of the minimum wage in lower Saxony, Germany, while working there.

“Gama will be legally allowed to happen if Lisbon is passed,” she said.

Say No to TDs' hols - vote Yes

New MEP Alan Kelly of the Labour Party has claimed TDs will have a shorter summer break if the Lisbon Treaty is backed.

“Under Lisbon, the first place any European legislation will go will be to the national parliaments,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“If the Dáil finds that the proposed European legislation doesn’t sit right with them or they feel that it needs further scrutiny – they can send the legislation back to Europe.

“They will only have six to eight weeks to do so under Lisbon, but in reality the volume of legislation will necessitate the Dáil or Seanad sitting a minimum of every six weeks to properly debate all the legislation.

“If anyone ever had a reason to vote Yes, making politicians work longer hours might be it,” Kelly quipped.

I honestly think the Irish people, the Irish electorate, have sufficient discernment to know that the issue before us next Friday is an issue for the country for years and decades ahead.

– Taoiseach Brian Cowen yesterday

People are tired of hearing about it and they don’t want to be stopped on the streets; you get a much better reception at the doors.

– a Cóir campaigner at the GPO on Saturday

If Fianna Fáil want me to vote Yes, I’ll vote No – and you can quote me on that.

– Noel McCauley, taxi driver, passing a canvass by Declan Ganley in Mullingar