Lisbon guarantees elicit mixed response

Supporters of the Lisbon Treaty have welcomed the legal guarantees agreed by EU leaders this morning in an effort to get Irish people to vote 'yes' to the document later this year.

Left-wing treaty opponents have however dismissed the guarantees and rejected the importance of the development.

EU heads of state have agreed to legal declarations that the treaty will not affect Ireland's prohibition on abortion, its current policy of military neutrality and its right to set its own tax rates.

The Government has insisted that the measures address the concerns raised by Irish voters after they rejected the treaty last year.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has yet to comment, but Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said he would be supporting a 'yes' vote when the referendum is re-run this autumn.

However, some of the left-wing groups that campaigned against the treaty last year held a press conference today to outline their continued opposition.

Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins said the guarantees change nothing about the treaty itself, so the arguments put forward by the left last year are still valid.

Former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna, Chairperson of the People's Movemen - one of the groups campaigning for rejection of the treaty said: “The so-called legally binding guarantees which the Government claim they fought hard to secure do not change one single aspect of the Lisbon Treaty."

"These assurances given by the Yes side were not enough to convince people to vote in favour of the treaty first time around and will be dismissed by the voters with the same mistrust in any second referendum.”

Kieran Allen of the anti-treaty website meanwhile dismissed the guarantees as "gift wrapping."

"Not a single word of the actual treaty will be changed when it is put to a new vote of the Irish people," Allen said.

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