Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Clarification on the Lisbon Treaty

In recent weeks I have been contacted by a number of constituents, members of the public, various campaigns and the press regarding my position on the forthcoming Lisbon Treaty Referendum. I want to use this short blog post to clarify my position on this matter.

In 2005, during the public discourse on the then-recently signed EU Constitution, I spoke and wrote in various contexts against that document. I was not heavily involved in that campaign, nor have I played a significant role in campaigning against its subsequent manifestation in the Treaty of Lisbon (primarily due to other political commitments). However, I was opposed as a matter of record to both the original EU Constitution and the initial Lisbon Treaty referendum. I also clarified this stance on frequent occasions during my recent successful campaign for election to South Dublin County Council, as evidenced by an "Election Diary" blogpost here.

I recently signed a document, along with a small number of other Labour Councillors as well as others from the left, in opposition to the Lisbon Treaty. Details on this are available at http://www.caeuc.org/index.php?q=node/535. I have also contributed a short piece, similar to this blog post, to our local 'paper, the Tallaght Echo, who requested all 26 Councillors on South Dublin County Council to contribute their views on the Treaty.

I respect the democratic decision at recent Labour Party conferences to campaign for a yes vote for the Lisbon Treaty. Out of that respect, as a Labour Party Councillor, I intend taking no part in campaigning against this treaty and I will not be making any further comment to journalists or other parties. I've directed all those who are interested to this blog post for a clarification on my stance.

I have been on record since 2005 as opposing this Treaty on a number of grounds. It would be hypocritical of me to reverse a well-known and public stance. There has been a tradition of dissent on European matters in the Labour Party, right back to the time when some Labour members supported entry to the EEC in 1973 - in contravention of then party policy. Although, with regard to this campaign, I am voting ‘no,’ I share the same overall vision for a social, democratic and sustainable Europe as those campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote in the Labour Party.

The referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is one of many important decisions in front of our country in the coming weeks and it is crucial that as many people as possible exercise their hard-fought franchise by using their vote on October 2nd. http://www.lisbontreaty2009.ie/ gives a fairly neutral overview as well as links to the treaty itself and information on how to check the voting register.