IRELAND should not accept second best and should reject the Lisbon treaty, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said yesterday.
Sticking to his party’s core message — that the treaty can be renegotiated — Mr Adams said: “I believe a better deal is possible for Ireland in Europe.”
Mr Adams was speaking during a canvass in Limerick city centre yesterday.
He said he had encountered many people across the country over the past fortnight who had originally intended voting yes but were now voting no.
“Issues such as the loss of a permanent [EU] commissioner are of real concern to people. By rejecting the treaty we can give the Government a strong mandate from which to negotiate a better deal for Ireland.”
Such a deal, he indicated, would have to include a permanent commissioner. Under Lisbon, Ireland and fellow member states would not have a commissioner for five of every 15 years.
Mr Adams also said the renegotiated deal would have to stop Irish rates of pay being undercut, protect Irish neutrality with a specific article in the new treaty, and oppose the obligation to increase military spending.
“By voting no on Thursday the Irish people can secure a better deal. We should not have to accept second best,” he stated.
His party colleague, Senator Pearse Doherty, said the Government was falling back on scare tactics to push people to vote yes.
The government was resorting to such tactics “because it has proved impossible for them to sell a bad deal to the Irish people”. “The government has not put up any convincing argument why it is in Ireland’s interest to lose our commissioner, to reduce our voting strength, to increase military spending, to open public services to competition and to lose vetoes on international trade,” said Mr Doherty.
“It is clear that the referendum is very tight. It is encouraging, however, that there is growing support for the idea of sending the Irish Government back to Europe with a strong mandate for new negotiations.”
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