LISBON will do nothing for job creation as there is not a single mention of jobs in the treaty, Libertas leader and No campaigner Declan Ganley has said.
Attacking Fine Gael’s “Yes to Jobs” campaign, Mr Ganley said the claim that Lisbon would somehow create more employment was “a lie”.
He delivered a copy of the treaty and a highlighter pen to Fine Gael headquarters in Dublin city centre yesterday afternoon.
“We’re not having a go as much as trying to be helpful,” he said. “We’re dropping off a copy of the Lisbon Treaty to Fine Gael headquarters together with a highlighter pen because we would like them to highlight where the jobs are in the Lisbon Treaty. The clue is, there aren’t any.”
The Libertas leader pointed to recent comments by the chairman of the Referendum Commission, Mr Justice Frank Clarke, who made clear the treaty did not address the issue of jobs.
“Claims that ratifying the treaty will affect job levels are political claims,” Mr Clarke was quoted as saying. “The treaty itself contains no provisions on this.”
The Referendum Commission is an impartial body tasked with explaining the contents of the treaty, and Mr Clarke’s comments “exposed the argument” of the Yes side, Mr Ganley said.
But Fine Gael insisted that Lisbon was “at its heart” a debate about the future of the economy.
“The ratification of this treaty will have enormous benefits for Irish people, especially in the creation and sustainment of employment,” said Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton.
“One million jobs have been created here since we became members of the EU in 1973 and a Yes vote will provide Ireland with the economic handrail it needs to recover from the current crisis.”
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin, which like Libertas opposes the treaty, similarly focused on the economic argument yesterday.
In particular, the party criticised European Commission President José Manuel Barroso for suggesting a No vote would damage the economy.
Mr Barroso, who was here over the weekend to canvass for the treaty, said Ireland would not be forced out of the EU if it rejected Lisbon again. But he claimed investor confidence in Ireland would be badly damaged.
Sinn Féin vice president Mary Lou McDonald accused Mr Barroso of being “dishonest” about the consequences of a No vote, and said the biggest threat to investment and job creation in Ireland was actually the Government.
“Commissioner Barroso knows perfectly well... that rejecting the Lisbon Treaty will have no negative impact on inward investment or job creation. Despite this fact he repeated many of the scaremongering claims of the Yes side,” Ms McDonald said.
She cited IDA figures which showed that 2008 saw a 14% increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) on the previous year – despite Lisbon being rejected halfway through 2008.
“The biggest threat to investment and job creation is the current Fianna Fáil government and their failed economic policies,” she said.
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