Roche calls for united Yes campaign


Minister for European Affair Dick Roche has called for parties campaigning for a Yes vote in the new Lisbon referendum planned for October to pull together, saying the squabbling that marred the last campaign should not be repeated.

Mr Roche said the aprties should put differences on other issues to one side and focus on a common message.

"Last year’s campaign was not our best hour. Squabbling deflected from the message supported by well over 95 per cent of the membership of Dáil and Seanad Eireann. That must not be allowed to happen again," he said.

"We have a collective responsibility to deal honestly and objectively with the issues that will arise. We must listen with respect to those who take a view different to the view which we espouse but we should also be fearless in putting forward the facts."

Mr Roche said the No vote sent "shock waves" across Europe, and said the institutional changes proposed under Lisbon were "relatively modest" that would make it a more effective, efficient and democratic place.

Previous voter concerns had been addressed by the guarantees agreed by the European Council, he said.

"The distance that are EU partners have travelled to meet the concerns of the Irish people demonstrate the remarkable solidarity that exists within the Union. It demonstrates also the respect that the Union has for this nation and for its citizens," he said.

"The guarantees are detailed, specific, they are clear cut. They will have legal effect as soon as the treaty is ratified by the Irish people the full force of International law at the earliest practical occasion, they will become a protocol attached to the treaties of the European Union."

Mr Roche also warned against complacency, saying a Yes vote would ensure Ireland stayed at the heart of the European Union.