ANTI-LISBON campaigner Declan Ganley confirmed his Libertas organisation received funding from a British-based hedge fund group which, according to Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, has bet on the failure of our economy.
As the campaign enters its final days, Mr Lenihan would not rule out a third vote on Lisbon if it was rejected by the Irish people for a second time on Friday, saying he is not contemplating such a result.
Mr Lenihan challenged the Libertas leader to confirm his organisation got money from London-based financiers who, he said, “would hardly be described as being interested in the economic wellbeing and future of this country”.
He told a press conference that these hedge funds “have taken out specific bets on credit defaults, on the insolvency on Ireland”.
“Clearly, they see a No vote as assisting a bet which is now failing for them because of the growing international confidence which has taken place in recent weeks as a result of the NAMA announcement.”
The latest Electoral Commission declarations in Britain show London-based hedge fund manager Crispin Odey gave £18,000 to Pro Democracy: Libertas.eu last May, including £3,000 in cash and £15,000 worth of printing and distribution services to the party.
The Odey Asset Management group made huge profits during the credit crunch by short-selling shares in several British and Irish banks, including Anglo Irish Bank.
Mr Ganley said the money was for the European elections and not the Lisbon campaign. “The thing Mr Lenihan was commenting on was in response to a donor that gave to the Libertas party in the UK for the European elections in the UK last June and that money was well spent on the European campaign, that has nothing to do with this.”
Mr Ganley said the claim was a “distraction”. He said: “We’re talking about something that is six months old and has nothing to do with this campaign.”
Mr Ganley said the Government is “throwing stones and then running away”.
He said: “It’s a further manifestation of the fact that their whole campaign is based on a lie, that this is about the economy and about jobs, whereas the fact is that a Yes vote would be detrimental to Ireland’s economic interests.”
Mr Lenihan said rejection of the Lisbon Treaty would “break international confidence in Ireland” and increase the cost of the country’s borrowing.
Green Party leader John Gormley insisted the Lisbon Treaty would have no effect on Ireland’s policy of military neutrality and would not force young Irish people into war.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved