SF criticises EU constitution and Lisbon Treaty

THE GOVERNMENT "absolutely failed to protect Irish national interests during the negotiations both on the EU constitution and…

THE GOVERNMENT "absolutely failed to protect Irish national interests during the negotiations both on the EU constitution and the Lisbon Treaty", Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin claimed.

Speaking during the debate on the legislation to allow for a referendum, Mr Ó Caoláin, said the treaty "includes more than 100 additional powers for EU institutions, including the loss of vetoes in key areas like the economy; the ending of our automatic right to a commissioner - this means no Irish voice at the table for five out of every 15 years; a 50 per cent reduction in our voting strength in the Council of Ministers; and Article 48, which gives the EU powers to amend its own treaties without recourse to an intergovernmental conference or a new treaty - this would give the commission and the council significant scope to acquire more powers in the future."

Criticising the Green Party, he said it had "swung around to support the Lisbon Treaty, not on its merits but so the party can remain in Government with Fianna Fáil and the PDs".

Sinn Féin is the only party in the Dáil to oppose the treaty, and Mr Ó Caoláin said "deception is the name of the game for the Yes camp". He said many sensitive EU issues were being postponed until after the referendum.


There had been no referendum between EU accession in 1972 and the Single European Act in 1987 and citizens were only given the right to decide these issues after a court challenge by the late Raymond Crotty, he said.

Michael McGrath (FF, Cork South Central) said that "listening to Deputy Ó Caoláin state that the Yes campaign has been characterised by deception is rich coming from him and Sinn Féin. That party has opposed every European treaty referendum to date."

Sean Connick (FF, Wexford) said: "We have done well from the EU and the Lisbon Treaty will enable us to deliver even better outcomes for Irish people. In the words of Pope Benedict, it gives a boost to the process of building a European home."

He added: "Our opponents state that this treaty enshrines in law increased militarisation, ends our military neutrality and cedes a whole range of competencies to the European Union."

Thirty-six years "and six treaties later, our neutrality is still secure".

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times