Adams admits mistaken claim on commissioner status

SINN FÉIN president Gerry Adams has rowed back from claims Ireland would keep its European Commissioner if the Lisbon Treaty is rejected.

Yesterday, Mr Adams released a press statement which said if Ireland votes No, Ireland “will keep its permanent commissioner”.

However, if the Lisbon Treaty is rejected the European Union would revert to reforms included in the Nice Treaty. This means Ireland would lose this guarantee of a seat in the Commission.

The guarantees negotiated after the Lisbon Treaty was rejected last year will give Ireland a commissioner, as long as the treaty is in operation.

Mr Adams said rather than guaranteeing a commissioner, a No vote would give the Government the opportunity to force the negotiation of a new deal.

“It would have to be renegotiated. [Ireland] is not going to keep it [a commissioner] at the moment,” he said.

Mr Adams said the Lisbon Treaty would mean Ireland’s voting strength at the European Council would be halved and this would shift power to a European elite.

He demanded the Government go back and seek the deal which voters had sought when they voted down the treaty in 2008.

“This is a bad deal,” he said. “This Government has a history of bad deals, currently on NAMA, on sweetheart deals, on digouts to their friends and bailing out bankers and developers, and An Bord Snip, and this is another bad deal of exactly the same character.”

He said if Lisbon was thrown out Ireland would maintain its voting strength, keep its automatic right to a referendum and have the opportunity to secure firm legal protocols on workers’ rights and neutrality.

Mr Adams said the current text was evidence of a bias among political leaders in the country.

“It is the character of this Government in terms of deal-making where deals are all the time in favour of the elites and to the disadvantage of ordinary citizens. And that is reflected in this treaty,” he said.

He also rounded on the Labour Party for its support of the Government while trying to represent workers-based opposition.

Economist Brendan Halligan, from the Ireland for Europe group, said if people voted No “Ireland would obviously become an economic province of Britain”.

He denied this was scaremongering: “When I was a young economics student it was a fact not an opinion that this country was a province of Britain, economically.

“What we have done with our membership of the European Union... is match economic independence with political independence we enjoyed since 1922... Were we to vote No on Friday we would reverse policy for the past 50 years.”


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