'Arguments against Treaty still not addressed'

In a statement made today, Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance said that with only a few days to go before polling, the public is still being misled by the Yes side and some sections of the media on the most important issues in the Lisbon Treaty.

"In the debate around Lisbon, the key issues of concern to the public, such as EU militarisation and neutrality, public services and privatisation, workers rights, democracy and accountability in the EU, are being underplayed, misrepresented or simply ignored.

"Recent polls show clearly that the No sentiment is coming from working and class and young people affected by issues such as workers rights and public services, as well as more general concerns across Irish society about democracy, accountability, militarisation and neutrality.

"For the first weeks of the campaign, the Yes side simply refused to discuss these substantial issues and instead tried to brow beat the public into voting for the treaty using fear and the dishonest argument that it was about being pro- or anti-Europe.

"Yet the majority of those campaigning against Lisbon made clear from the outset that they we are pro-European but against the direction that Lisbon treaty takes Europe. Throughout the campaign, our arguments have been about substantial issues of concern to the Irish public based on the actual text of the treaty.

"Because of the persistence of the No campaigners, the debate in the last week or two has started to focus on some of the substantive issues and maybe forced some of the "yes" side to actually read the treaty.

"However, the tactic of the Yes side is still to dismiss and gloss over the more serious objections of No campaigners and to keep raising “red-herrings” and “straw-man” arguments. Sections of the media have assisted in this by over-focusing on business interests in the debate.

"Given all the these attempts to divert from the real issues at stake in the debate about Lisbon, it is vital to re-state the more serious and factual objections made by No campaigners – objections which the “yes” side have failed to address honestly.

"Any honest reading of the Lisbon treaty makes clear that it significantly advances the militarisation of the EU and therefore threatens Ireland’s neutrality.

"The treaty also clearly establishes or strengthens rules, mechanisms and polices that can facilitate the privatisation of vital public services and limit workers rights.

"The treaty unquestionably gives greater power to people, who are either not elected at all or who are not directly elected by Irish citizens, to represent us and impose policies on us. This cannot be interpreted as anything other than an erosion of democracy.

"The reason that the No showing in the polls has risen dramatically in recent weeks is because campaigners, who actually have a record on campaigning on these issues but have few resources, have tirelessly got out onto the streets and talked to a bewildered public.

"We have done this, despite an obsessional media focus on the argument of one small but well-financed element of the No campaign, raising the issue of corporate taxation, when the polls show the public are largely uninterested in this issue."

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