SOME 135 councillors have joined forces to reject the Lisbon Treaty claiming it would privatise public services and create a more militarised Europe.
The politicians argued the charter would also weaken Ireland’s influence in the EU, do little to tackle climate change and make life tougher for developing countries.
The councillors, including representatives from Sinn Féin, Labour and People Before Profit, are backing the Campaign Against the EU Constitution (CAEUC) group.
Brendan Young, CAEUC spokesman, claimed workers’ rights would be eroded and public spending slashed if the treaty was passed.
“The policies of local government management involving privatisation, outsourcing and PPPs have seriously undermined the quality of essential services and community development. Lisbon would copperfasten this approach.
“If passed, Lisbon would give the EU additional power to force governments to comply with all aspects of the treaties – including the right to run a public service as a business.”
There are 1,627 councillors across the State, with this anti-Lisbon campaign representing less than 10% of elected representatives.
The Labour Party is backing the treaty and a spokeswoman said its three councillors demanding a No vote – Patrick Nulty (Dublin West), Collette Connolly (Galway) and Jane Dillon Byrne (Dun Laoghaire) were expressing personal views.
Five councillors spoke at the campaign launch, including People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd-Barrett and Independent Galway councillor Catherine Connolly.
Mr Boyd-Barrett accused the Referendum Commission, an independent body set up to provide information on the treaty, of being dishonest by claiming Ireland’s neutrality would not be undermined.
“I to be honest think the Referendum Commission are being dishonest, or atleast failing to acknowledge there is a dispute about this issue,” he said.
He claimed the argument for a No vote was even stronger now given the scale of the economic crisis.
Voters were also urged to question why big businesses like Intel and Ryanair were backing the treaty.
Ms Connolly, a practising barrister, said the Yes campaign was using bullying and scare tactics to drum up support yet never referred to specific articles in the treaty to back up their claims. She also claimed the treaty was deliberately difficult to understand and did nothing for women’s rights.
“I would challenge anyone to tell me that this is not a glorification of the militarisation of Europe,” Ms Connolly said.
Other councillors present at the launch were Independents Ciaran Perry and Chris O’Leary, who resigned from the Green Party in January over its work in government, and People Before Profit’s Joan Collins.
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