Tuesday, September 8, 2009


On October 2nd éirígí are urging people to once again vote NO to the Lisbon Treaty. Despite democratically rejecting the Treaty last year, we are now being forced to vote again on this exact same Treaty.

The French and Dutch public also democratically rejected this Treaty in 2005, then titled the European Constitution, when it was put to them in referenda. Instead of accepting the democratic decision in those countries, the EU simply changed the name of the Treaty and had the French and Dutch government's ratify it without putting it back to the people to avoid it being defeated again.

That this Treaty has not been scrapped despite being rejected by the people of three different European states, only serves to confirm the undemocratic nature of the Treaty and the contempt with which the EU and our so-called government have for democracy itself.

Despite the pretence of the political establishment, this is exactly the same Treaty we rejected last year. Not a single line, word or comma has been changed. Their claims to have secured "legal guarantees" that address the concerns that the public has over the Treaty are disingenuous and a deliberate effort to deceive the public.

Their guarantees have no legal basis, are not included in the Treaty and have not been added as protocols to the Treaty. They are empty political promises by politicians and bureaucrats at Irish and European level who have shown consistently that they cannot be trusted. The actual content of the Treaty, which is what we are voting on, overrides any "guarantees" or pre-referenda promises that may be given in order to secure your vote.

The Treaty also intensifies the push towards a more heavily armed and militarised Europe, drawing this state closer to a nuclear armed NATO. It creates a mutual defence pact, obliging ALL states in the union to come to the assistance of another EU state where an armed attack takes place on its territory. According to the Dublin Government's own White paper on Foreign Policy (1996) "provisions committing the parties to collective action in the event of armed attack against one or more of them .... would not be compatible with an intention to remain neutral."

It also obliges all states to increase their military spending. This at a time when Fianna Fáil and the Greens are imposing savage cutbacks in essential health and education services properly. Clearly this administration views the profits of the European arms industry as a higher priority than the education and health of the people of this state.

The reality is that this administration has already seriously eroded this states supposed neutral status. They joined NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) without holding the referendum they promised. They have assisted the US and British war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have turned Shannon airport into a virtual US military base, providing refuelling and rest and recreation facilities for US aircraft and troops on their way to and from slaughtering civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The announcement in recent weeks by Ryanair, by Intel Ireland and by the Business group IBEC, that they are to spend hundreds of thousands of Euro campaigning for a yes vote clearly shows who will benefit from the Lisbon Treaty. Lisbon is a charter for big business. For workers it is an extremely bad deal. If Lisbon is ratified it will see a continuation of the neo-liberal economic madness that led to the current recession, with its mass unemployment and cutbacks in essential public services, that we are currently in. The one thing that Lisbon will provide for workers and their families is increased misery and hardship and yet further attacks on their working conditions and living standards.

While that may be the political and business establishment’s vision for Europe, it is not éirígí’s. All the reasons why we opposed this Treaty last year remain. A yes vote will increase the militarisation of Europe and see the further erosion of workers’ rights, sovereignty and democracy. On that basis we are campaigning and asking people once again to vote NO for a better Europe, not a Europe based on greed over need and the exploitation of its 500 million workers.

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