Lisbon seeks to enhance democratic dimension of EU, says Calleary


A YES result in the upcoming Lisbon Treaty referendum would be “crucial to political reform”, Minister of State for Labour Affairs Dara Calleary told the Humbert school.

Lisbon sought “to extend and enhance the democratic dimension of the union”, he said.

He also said it would “strengthen the ability of the Oireachtas to scrutinise proposed EU legislation and assess its impact on . . . Irish citizens.”

Former president of the European Parliament Pat Cox described the treaty as “an exercise in fine tuning, not some radical overhaul”. Speaking in his role as director of the Ireland for Europe campaign, he said that “at this time of renewal in the EU, with so many economic and other challenges to be addressed, the Irish result will have an immediate political impact in terms of the EU’s . . . political momentum and international standing”.

For Ireland “it will be a choice which is truly of generational significance”, he said.

Mr Cox asked voters to “think of their own and their family’s long-term interests, of our country’s interests and standing; to reflect on the common good and to separate their anger about politics and policy at home from the choice in hand”.

He said a Yes vote “keeps Ireland’s European future in our own hands”.

Paul Gillespie, recently retired foreign policy editor of The Irish Times, described Lisbon as “part of an incremental process of change” which was “not perfect” and warned that we should not “exaggerate or reify the treaty itself”. Reflecting on those who voted No in last year’s referendum, he said such people had acted as though this was “a costless decision”. They had been shown to be “profoundly wrong”.

Omega Air chief executive Ulick McEvaddy, who was to speak for the No side, felt unable to attend due to the possible presence of Sinn Féin supporters, who also oppose Lisbon. However, in a message conveyed through Humbert school director John Cooney, he let it be known that it was his intention to vote No again.

* The Jesuitcongregation is to prevent Youth Defence/Cóir from using images from Caravaggio’s painting The Taking of the Christin anti-Lisbon literature.

The painting was in the Jesuits’ possession for about 60 years before being put on permanent exhibition in the National Gallery. However, the congregation holds image rights over use of the painting.

Pat Cox made representations to the Jesuits about its use on Youth Defence/Cóir literature when he was handed the leaflet recently at Knock. It described the treaty as “a Godless document, which would cause moral and social harm”. It would lead to changes in the law which would allow abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage, and represented a threat to the unborn and to Ireland’s Christian heritage.

The Jesuits had informed him that they “would not allow the use of this sacred image ‘for such controversial and inappropriate purposes’,” Pat Cox said. They had asked Youth Defence/Cóir to stop distributing the leaflet.