Martin hails poll showing 'steady support' for Lisbon


Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin tonight welcomed the latest poll results showing “steady support” for the Lisbon Treaty but stressed an energetic Yes campaign must continue right up to the end of voting.

The Red C poll in tomorrow's Sunday Business Postshows public support remains firm, with 52 per cent of people saying they would vote for the Treaty, 25 per cent indicating they would vote No and a further 23 per cent undecided.

The poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 voters around the country on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for the poll, shows even stronger support when the undecided people are excluded, with the Yes vote leading the No side by 67 per cent to 33 per cent.

Mr Martin said: “It is already clear that people are willing to take the time to talk about why Ireland needs a Europe reformed by Lisbon and the detail of the new legal guarantees Europe has given to the Irish people”.

“These guarantees are answering the concerns raised by people during last year’s referendum and have significantly changed the dynamic of this campaign.

“However nothing can be taken for granted and everybody who believes that we need a Yes vote to protect Ireland’s positive role in the EU should play their part in the remaining weeks of the campaign,” he added.

The poll comes after it was confirmed that Irish businessman and Libertas founder Declan Ganley plans to launch a fresh campaign against the Lisbon Treaty referendum.

A Libertas spokesman told The Irish Timesthis afternoon that Mr Ganley would hold a press conference tomorrow to outline his reasons for re-entering the debate on the Treaty.

The Tuam-based businessman, who played an important role in the first referendum campaign, claimed in a US newspaper interview on Thursday that it was “profoundly undemocratic” to ask the Irish people to vote again on the Treaty.

“The Irish people had a vote on the Lisbon Treaty. They voted No. A higher percentage of the electorate voted No than voted for Barack Obama in the United States of America. No one’s suggesting he should run for re-election next month,” Mr Ganley told the Wall Street Journal.

“Not one comma has changed in the document,” he added.

But Taoiseach Brian Cowen today dismissed Mr Ganley’s claim that the holding of a second referendum was undemocratic.

Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said he did not fear the impact Mr Ganley’s return would have on the referendum.

But several No campaigners claimed Mr Ganley’s decision to enter the fray would allay criticisms they were anti-business.

People’s Movement spokeswoman Patricia McKenna said: “It would appear that as a successful businessman Mr Ganley could not stand idly by and allow the Irish people, who are genuinely concerned about their economic future, be coerced into accepting something that is not in their interest out of fear.

“The return to the Lisbon debate of Mr Ganley, who comes from the same big business world as Michael O’Leary and his ilk, will place serious question marks over the unequivocal support that some elements of big business have given to Lisbon.”

Following his defeat in the June European Parliament elections, Mr Ganley said he would not be involved in a campaign against a second Lisbon Treaty referendum.

“I will not be involved in the second Lisbon campaign, I’ve said that up front,” he said at the time.

In his interview with the Wall Street Journal,Mr Ganley said he was “a committed European”.

“I am not a Eurosceptic, not in any way, shape or form. I believe that Europe’s future as united is the only sensible way forward.”