THE shadow of multi-millionaire Declan Ganley fell dramatically across the Lisbon campaign yesterday as he appeared poised to re-enter the fight for another No vote.
The Galway-based businessman allowed speculation to mount regarding his return to the resurgent anti-Lisbon side following a surprise intervention just three weeks before the crunch poll. The Libertas founder had promised not to take a leading role in the October vote after failing to win a seat in the June Euro polls, but broke cover to tell the Wall Street Journal that it was “profoundly undemocratic” to hold a second referendum on the treaty.
Mr Ganley refused to confirm or deny reports of a sudden re-entry to the anti-treaty campaign, merely stating he would comment on the matter by Monday.
A return to the No side by such a controversial and aggressive campaigner would alarm Yes campaigners who saw support for the treaty drop sharply in the latest opinion poll.
Mr Ganley went on the offensive, insisting Ireland was being “held hostage”.
“The Irish people had a vote on the Lisbon Treaty. They voted no. A higher percentage of the electorate voted no than voted for Barack Obama in the United States of America. No one’s suggesting he should run for re-election next month.
“The Irish people are almost literally being held hostage, with a gun pointed to our head, and being told, if you don’t sign this thing, unspecified bad things will happen. But what they’re asking us to do is to sell out the rest of the people of Europe,” he told the WSJ.
Following his defeat in the North West constituency in the June European Parliament elections, Mr Ganley said he would not take part in a treaty re-run: “I will not be involved in the second Lisbon campaign, I’ve said that upfront.”
Yes campaigners accused Libertas of running a campaign of misinformation last time out and raised questions about where it was getting its funding from.
Green leader and Environment Minister John Gormley expressed “surprise” at the re-emergence of Mr Ganley.
“Let’s have clarity, let’s stop the spin and let’s get the substantive arguments out there so people know the truth. They [Libertas] have huge resources, we are not exactly sure where the funding came from. If people want to engage in a referendum process that is fine,” he said.
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