Lisbon II has no mandate and no moral authority

HOLDING a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty so soon after the original one is a complete insult to the Irish people and an undermining of the democratic process itself.

If a reasonable period of time had passed — say five or 10 years — and the need was indeed urgent, then there might be some justification for revisiting the Lisbon Treaty.

But to hold a referendum on exactly the same treaty the following year is in effect a refusal to accept and respect the outcome of the referendum.

We know it will be exactly the same treaty since it would have to be re-ratified by EU member states should any of its contents be changed.

The Government may be legally entitled to announce a second referendum just a few months after the original one, but they have absolutely no mandate or moral right to do so.

Nor is there any rush, merely a manufactured urgency due to the cynical refusal of the two most powerful EU countries — France and Germany — to proceed with the accession of new member states.

The same bullying and pressure tactics were used to secure ratification of Nice II. Why, in any case, is there a new treaty needed every few years to reform the institutions?

Do EU leaders make a mess of each attempt at reforming the union or is the notion of reform a mere euphemism for the step-by-step process of building a federal superstate as many analysts believe and as was the clear and stated original intention of the EU’s architects?

Ireland was not alone in rejecting the Lisbon Treaty. In its previous incarnation as the European constitution, France and Holland rejected it when it was put to a referendum.

Polls across Europe also show a clear majority of the public want a referendum on the treaty but have been deprived of it by their leaders. We also spoke for them when we rejected giving a constitutional foundation to a supranational federation. French President Nicolas Sarkozy openly admitted there is a gulf between the desires of the European people and those of their leaders. Yet the political elite are continuing with their project anyway.

The Government could have effectively killed the Lisbon Treaty by saying a second referendum was out of the question.

This is exactly what the Dutch prime minister did in the aftermath of the rejection of the European constitution. Opting for a second referendum and prioritising the desires of the political elite is of course the easy option in the short term, but by going down this route our political leaders are preparing a massive political crisis for themselves.

We have already said no to further integration twice and I doubt the Irish people are going to allow themselves to be bullied and intimidated into saying yes later this year.

Michael O’Driscoll

Menloe House



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