The Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil Ministers will travel the country in a ’battle bus’ in a bid to secure a yes vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum on June 12, it was claimed today.
Launching his party’s campaign, Brian Cowen said TDs, Senators and councillors will fight for votes from door to door in every constituency.
By the end of the campaign Fianna Fáil claims it will have held 50 public meetings throughout the country as well as special ’action days’ in constituencies.
Mr Cowen said: “Every member of Government is committed to full participation in the campaign. I and other members of the Government will undertake a national tour in the campaign bus which we are launching today.
“Taken together, it is my intention that this will be the most extensive referendum campaign undertaken by Fianna Fáil in many years.”
Mr Cowen said during weekend homecoming celebrations in Co Offaly that endorsing the charter was the first priority of his administration.
Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour are all campaigning for a yes vote in the referendum while Sinn Féin wants it rejected.
The new Taoiseach said the Lisbon Treaty will help Ireland and the EU tackle future global economic and social challenges.
“To tackle modern forces such as globalisation, climate change and cross-border crime, countries cannot stand alone; and for us this means that we need an EU which has the structures, policies and procedures capable of having an impact.
“This is what lies at the heart of the Lisbon Reform Treaty and this is why it is important for Ireland and for Europe that it be ratified,” he said.
The slogan for Fianna Fáil’s campaign is ’Good for Ireland. Good for Europe’ and posters have already been erected.
The Taoiseach said it was clear that Irish voters will have the final say on whether the Treaty will come into effect.
“In the next four and a half weeks, it is Fianna Fáil’s intention to do everything possible to persuade the Irish people that a Yes vote is best for Ireland and best for Europe,” he told the campaign launch in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin.
The Irish Alliance for Europe, which represents 30 pro-Treaty business organisations, is holding an information roadshow in Cork today.
The People Before Profit Alliance group is launching its campaign for a no vote on Wednesday.
Mr Cowen explained that the vast majority of the Treaty was negotiated during Ireland’s EU presidency in the first half of 2004.
He also warned against misinformation or scaremongering by groups campaigning for a ’no’ vote.
“The next four weeks should be a good debate on the issues. People are entitled to their opinions but I don’t think any of us is entitled to change the facts,” he added.
Meanwhile a worker for one of the anti-Treaty groups was today spotted reversing Fianna Fail posters on the one-way north quays outside the Four Courts.
Fine Gael posters, featuring a photograph of Enda Kenny were also switched, thus obscuring them to the heavy volume of traffic.