Sinn Féin to campaign for another No to Lisbon

SINN FÉIN has clearly signalled it will campaign for another No vote in the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Speaking at the opening of the party’s Árd Fheis in Dublin last night, Sinn Féin’s Padraig MacLochlainn insisted Lisbon was the “wrong treaty” for Ireland and Europe.

Sinn Féin was the only party in the Dáil to campaign against Lisbon in the first referendum last year. Following the treaty’s defeat, the party said the No vote was a clear signal to the Government that the document had to be renegotiated.

During talks in Brussels, EU leaders subsequently agreed to give the Government guarantees that the treaty would not affect Ireland’s right to set its own policy on taxation, abortion and conscription. But Sinn Féin last night said it didn’t believe the Government.

“The Government are telling us they have secured guarantees; well, we simply don’t believe them,” Mr MacLochlainn said.

“We believe what they will be presenting to us is the same treaty. And if they have secured a better deal for the Irish people, well, let them put the details of the deal into the public domain. Publish the guarantees. Show us the colour of their money.”

He accused the Government of “shamefully playing on the insecurities of people” by suggesting that the country’s current economic woes were caused by the rejection of Lisbon.

“They tell us Ireland’s international reputation was damaged. Our reputation was damaged last April when Bertie Ahern had to resign on foot of [allegations] of corruption. It was again damaged when the Government nationalised the most corrupt bank in the country, Anglo Irish Bank,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald attacked the Government for the “inequitable and indefensible” pension levy on public servants.

“Let no politician lecture the people on pensions until they relinquish their own unfair pension advantage,” she said.

“Let no politician lecture teachers and parents on the cutbacks in education while members of the Oireachtas hold down teaching posts. Relinquish those posts. Do it now.”

Ms McDonald called for the introduction of a third tax rate for the country’s highest earners, saying it was never more necessary “for the rich to pay their share”.

Ms McDonald is expected to be elected vice-president of the party today as Sinn Féin makes a series of changes to its leadership.

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