Dáil passes Bill on Lisbon Treaty

 

LEGISLATION TO give effect to the Lisbon Treaty in domestic Irish legislation has been passed by the Dáil and goes to the Seanad today.

The European Union Bill was introduced by Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martinwho said that “when the treaty comes into force, the legally-binding guarantees secured by the Government in June on taxation, the protection of the right to life, the family and education and Ireland’s traditional policy of military neutrality will also enter into force”.

Mr Martin said that with the support of 1,214,268 Irish citizens, “no other European treaty has ever received as many votes in favour of an Irish referendum”.

The treaty will “streamline the voting system under which some future EU decisions will be taken” and it “confers explicit legal personality on the EU and makes certain institutional and terminological changes”.

Mr Martin was hopeful that debate could “move on from protracted discussions on institutional issues and focus our efforts on issues of direct consequence and relevance to the citizens of the union”.

Fine Gael foreign affairs spokesman Billy Timminssaid the only difference between Lisbon and previous treaties “is that the EU now has legal personality. In other words, it will be the subject of international law after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.” One of the weaknesses of the EU is “that no one can say where the European train will stop”. He believed “Lisbon is the final stop, with the exception of some enlargements”.

There was “always a fear of creeping federalisation and of a united states of Europe, which was never going to be the case and never will be. I do not believe there is the will or desire in Europe to create such a bloc. The only desire is to pool sovereignty where it is beneficial to everyone concerned.”

Labour European affairs spokesman Joe Costellodescribed the package as “a unique Irish blend”, and “something of an Irish stew”. No other country “has received as many concessions, protections and reassurances as Ireland”.

He said that “for a small country, we have left our mark on the Lisbon Treaty, as we did on the Nice Treaty. We have got our Irish solution to our Irish problem. This is not something to boast about, as it reflects an attitude that is ambiguous, inward-looking and instinctively questions the motives of others.”

Sinn Féin foreign affairs spokesman Aengus Ó Snodaighsaid “my constituency, Dublin South Central, had one of the highest ‘No’ votes, which I regret was not above 50 per cent”. He said it “shows that those who were not visited by the Celtic Tiger, namely, people in working-class areas, do not trust the Government”.