The Lisbon Treaty does not undermine workers’ rights. Neither does it threaten our valued public services. It does precisely the opposite.
John Monks of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), who is quoted by Mr O’Driscoll, addressed the ICTU congress in Tralee last month and told Irish trade unionists that ETUC strongly supported ratification of the Lisbon Treaty because it represented a step forward on existing provisions in relation to the legal enforcement of the charter of fundamental rights, the commitment to full employment, the social market economy and public services. The treaty is seen by ETUC as the springboard for a more ambitious programme of social progress.
As for the solemn declaration on workers’ rights agreed by the European Council in response to Irish concerns, it was indeed criticised by John Monks as disappointing. He made it clear the outcome was largely influenced by the position of Britain which has already opted out of the charter of fundamental rights precisely because of its provisions on workers’ concerns.
Yet opponents of Lisbon, like Mr O’Driscoll, are asking us to follow the eurosceptic policies of Britain and the prescriptions of the anti-EU owners of the Irish versions of the British tabloids.
Support for the Lisbon Treaty has nothing to do with the vested interests criticised by Mr O’Driscoll. It has everything to do with the real interests of Ireland and of Irish workers.