Throw Lisbon Treaty away, Ganley tells committee

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Libertas chairman Declan Ganley told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Ireland's Future in Europe today that the Lisbon treaty should be thrown in the bin because it was a “dead document”.

Members of the committee were questioning Mr Ganley on his views on Ireland's future in Europe and how he believes Ireland's relationship with Europe should progress.

Mr Ganley said it was “absolutely essential” that Ireland remain fully engaged with the EU as membership had been very beneficial for the country. He said the rejection of the treaty was not a rejection of the EU.

“The situation we found in the Lisbon treaty is an affront to the idea of parliamentary democracy. It is an affront because it is an embodiment of the worst examples of elitism in Europe,” he said.

“Look at the reaction from people who would not give their people a vote. Nicolas Sarkozy, the preening prince of the Elysée Palace, he bypassed the need to have a referendum.”

Mr Ganley said the treaty needed to be thrown away and that to consider holding a second referendum on it would be "like George Bush saying the US people didn’t know what they were doing when they voted for Barack Obama and that he’d stay on in power".

“We need to throw away Lisbon and go back to basics. Europe needs a constitution of no more than 25 pages. It needs to be upfront and honest in what it sets out to achieve. All of Europe must be given a vote on it. Make the people stakeholders, that’s the deal we need,” he said.

Committee members Joe Costello, Billy Timmins and Lucinda Creighton pressed Mr Ganley on whether he had drawn up an alternative to the treaty and asked whether he had prepared the 25-page document he claimed was all Europe required as a constitution.

Mr Ganley said he had not drawn up an alternative to the treaty as he “did not have a mandate”.

Fine Gael senator Paschal Donohoe, chairman of the committee, said it was important that it heard submissions from all sides of the debate before it compiles its final report toward the end of next week.

The committee is hearing presentations from those who opposed and supported the Lisbon treaty, and those who have other contributions to make about Ireland's involvement with the European Union.

Terms of reference for the body, a subcommittee of the Oireachtas's European Affairs Committee, ask that it "contribute to an open, comprehensive and sincere debate on Ireland's future relationship with the EU".

The committee will make recommendations to enhance the role of the Houses of the Oireachtas in EU affairs and consider measures to improve public understanding of the "fundamental importance" of the EU.

After the meeting, Fine Gael's Lucinda Creighton accused Mr Ganley of an “epic display of bluster, evasion and avoidance”.

"In a triumph of presentation over content, Declan Ganley spent over two hours before the Sub-Committee on Ireland’s Future in the European Union not answering the questions of the members of the committee,” she said.

"On issues ranging from his own dealings in Iraq to his misrepresentations over the Lisbon Treaty, from democracy to judicial appointments, Mr Ganley failed to come clean on where he stands, who he represents and what he actually wants.”

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