ANN CAHILL: Fringe benefits: Hairdressers key to treaty vote

AN IRISH MEP has come up with a hair-raising plan to raise awareness of the Lisbon Treaty.

Fine Gael MEP Colm Burke believes the best way to distribute information about the treaty is by sending leaflets to hairdressers. The idea came to him while he was having a haircut in his hometown of Cork.

“The hairdresser told me she was voting no to the Lisbon Treaty because it would bring in a new regime about the number of children she could have,” said Mr Burke.

Then a few days later at a public meeting he was handed a copy of an anti-treaty leaflet that repeated this as fact and added that everyone would have to pay an extra 20% tax to the EU.

“I was amazed at the extent of the misinformation in this leaflet and decided something had to be done to let people know the facts. What better place than a hairdresser’s?

“Everyone visits one and usually reads a magazine or whatever is lying around while they are waiting to have their hair cut,” said Mr Burke.

“We need to make sure that they are well informed and have all the facts when they are chatting to their clients,” said Mr Burke.

So far he has distributed information to more than 250 hairdressers in Cork city and county and to all the schools across Munster outlining the key features of the treaty and the Charter of Citizens’ Rights.

He is also completing a video especially for schools explaining the importance of democracy and its role in the EU, partly filmed in Brussels and Ireland and partly from a visit MEPs made to Kenya where its democracy is in crisis.

There were 47 teams from 27 schools in the Munster area involved in the Understanding Europe Project organised by the Fine Gael team and Mr Burke. “People are looking for information about the EU and about the treaty and we just have to get it to them in an understandable format,” he said.


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