THE Green Party made a last ditch effort to push voters for a yes vote yesterday, asking them not to “kick” the Government over domestic issues when deciding on the referendum this week.
As the first votes were cast on islands off the coast of Donegal, Environment Minister John Gormley was joined by his party’s European counterparts at a Dublin press conference yesterday who admitted there was now anxiety among MEPs following recent polls over the referendum.
Minister Gormley said much of the electorate were busy people and would in fact only be deciding in the coming days on which way to vote.
“There may well be an incentive there for people to give the Government a kick and they might use this as an opportunity.”
He said this was evident from other Irish referenda as well as the French electorate who had voted against the EU constitution.
“This would not be in the best interests of the country however. They have to separate their party political allegiances and any disagreement they may have with the Government and ask themselves one fundamental question and the question is: ‘What is in the best interests of our country?’” said Mr Gormley.
The Cabinet minister dismissed suggestions by no campaigners that there was a Plan B for Ireland as well as Europe if a no vote was carried this week.
He stressed there were “positive” aspects of the treaty which included the legal backing of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, increased democratisation of parliaments on EU policies as well as a stronger stance on climate change. These reasons were enough for voters not to give Lisbon a “lukewarm yes” this week but rather an emphatic yes, he said.
Spokesman for the European Green Party Phillipe Lamberts said if EU states really wanted to fight issues like global warming and terrorism, a co-ordinated approach was needed which was provided for in the treaty. It was impossible for a country to face those challenges alone, he said.
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