Thursday, September 03, 2009


Pursuant to our question below as to the absence of a question on the Lisbon Treaty in the Irish times poll today, the answer was revealed tonight as figures for voting intentions were revealed which will be published on Friday:

Support for the Lisbon Treaty has plummeted from 54% last March to 47% now, even though there has been little campaigning on the issue until the last two weeks.

The main “Vote NO to Lisbon”campaign only launched officially on August 18. Declared “Noes” are up 1% to 29%. This is up from 18% at the same stage of the 2008 referendum. As the NO vote gathered strength continuously through thecampaign last time to reach a 54% majority and win the referendum, these figures are heartening indeed for the NO Campaign and profoundly shocking for the pro-Lisbon Parties and hangers on.

Despite massive media propaganda and millions of Euros spent on publicity, scaremongering about the economic crisis and threats of unemployment, people are not buying the Government/Brussels line and the NO side is in line for another smashing victory for democracy and a peaceful, non-militarised, socially progressive Europe.


Áth Cliath/Dublin, 03 Meán Fomhair/September 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Photo: Today's Press Conference at "NO" Campaign HQ; Trade Union Leaders
dismiss so-called "protections" for workers in the Lisbon Treaty. (photoFFML)


The “NO to Lisbon” Campaign has moved into full gear this week and the battle lines were drawn up all over the country as the electorate faces the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty decisively rejected by the people in June 2008 with a “NO” majority of 53% to 47%. Not satisfied with this answer our quisling government set out to undermine the democratic decision of the people and is pretending that something in the Treaty has changed as a result of the so-called “guarantees” as referred to below in “Red Herrins”.
Launched at a crowded meeting in Liberty Hall, Dublin on Lúnasa/August 18, the Campaign has spread out all over Ireland with public meetings, leaflet drops, press conferences, pickets, set to continue at an increasing pace up until referendum day on October 2nd. Despite the apparent odds against, with the major politicial parties, big business, most media – press, radio, and TV, lined up on the “Yes” side, the “NO” Campaigners are enthusiastic and self-confident that we will win again a decisive victory in this battle for democracy, social progress and a peaceful non-militarised Europe which will set the direction for Europe for decades to come. The importance of this is well understood all over Europe as millions of people deprived of a democratic vote by cynical and fearful governments look to Ireland to stand up for democracy and peace once again.

At today's Press conference Trade Union leaders, Jimmy Kelly, Asst General Secretary, UNITE, Kieran Allen, SIPTU Education Branch, and Paddy Leahy, TUI called on Irish workers to reject the Lisbon Treaty. They said that despite the negotiations by the Irish Government, nothing has changed in the Treaty since it was rejected in June 2008.

Workers pay and conditions have come under attack from the rulings of the European Court of Justice(ECJ). The Laval, Viking, Ruffert and Luxemburg rulings have restricted the right to take action to prevent transnational contractors using cheap labour; and overruled national laws and agreements on pay and conditions. In all cases, the right to operate a profitable business across borders has been given priority over workers rights. Lisbon, and the "Charter of Fundamental Rights", would not change this anti-worker tendency.
This is not surprising given the neo-liberal thrust of the Lisbon Treaty and its emphasis on the free movement of persons, good, services and capital. The Treaty commits us to an internal market where “competition is not distorted”. It also promotes the privatisation of public services and the same neo-liberal policies which have created the economic crisis. The disciplines imposed by the Stability and Growth Pact will lead to deep cuts in public services and social welfare benefits.
Despite some trade unionists arguing that putting the Charter of Fundamental Rights into Treaty law will enhance the rights of workers, particularly the right to bargaining, the representatives believe that the claims made for the Charter are not sustainable.
Firstly, there is nothing in the Charter of Fundamental Rights that would guarantee the right to trade union recognition. The rights in the Charter to collective bargaining and action are subject to national laws and practices. The right to collective bargaining would not apply in Ireland, given the absence of this right in Irish Legislation.During the last referendum campaign SIPTU refused to endorse the Treaty until the government legislated for collective bargaining rights. The government have not done so, calling SIPTU's bluff. Therefore, the representatives called on the SIPTU leadership to oppose the Treaty.
Secondly, and more fundamentally, the rights contained in the Charter are subject to limitations flowing from the rules of the single market. The Charter was taken into consideration by the judges of the ECJ in the Laval case. In this case the judges ruled that the trade unions' collective action constituted a restriction on the freedom to provide services across the EU (Art 49).
It has been argued that giving the Charter legal force will ensure workers rights are given equal weight in decisions by the ECJ. Giving the Charter legal status will not override the right to provide cross-border services in the EU. This was made clear by Commissioner Wallstrom in October 2007 when she said that ECJ case law would not be “affected in any way by making the Charter legally binding”. It is also clear in the rulings of the ECJ that the 'principle of proportionality' requires that the exercise of fundamental rights, including the right to strike, must not disrupt the right to do business across the borders of EU countries – one of the four freedoms guaranteed by the EU.
This is why the ETUC have called for an additional clause giving priority to workers rights. The Lisbon Treaty would prioritise the rights of business, facilitate outsourcing and accelerate the race to the bottom. It should be rejected by all those concerned about workers rights.
The Lisbon Treaty is a failed document of a failed economic system which has brought about the global economic crash. There is no way the Irish Economy can be “saved” by this Treaty which offers only the same recipes which we can see with our own eyes have brought about economic collapse. If this Treaty is ratified and becomes EU law then these recipes of destruction would be concretised and made unamenable to democratic control and consent of the people of Europe and their national governments. The proposed “NAMA” solutions by our Government,which have been approved by the EU Commission and the European Central Bank, are concerned only with bank stabilisation and would do nothing for investment in industry and jobs or providing credit for viable businesses which are facing an acute cash-flow crisis right now and can’t afford to wait for the deliquency of banks to be sorted out in several months or, even years time. We can sack our own Government but we can’t sack the EU Commissioners or the ECB. The Lisbon Treaty would give both even more power to control the economic policy of the member states backed by the assertion of the pre-eminence of competition law and the rights of capital to free movement and establishment anywhere in the EU regardless of national systems of workers’ rights or the provision of public services and enterprises by individual states. In Lisbon terms, Capital is first and everything else, including basic human rights, must take second place, or a lesser status if they can get away with it.
Further, the Lisbon Treaty sets up the EU as a State Entity, on its own, separate from the member states with a separate citizenship parallel with national citizenship and carrying additional obligations of loyalty and its own diplomatic service controlled by the proposed individual Presidency and Foreign Minister which would replace the current rotating presidency. I don’t recall any democratic consultation with the Irish people or any other people in Europe as to whether they wanted such an imposition as this further consolidation of bureaucratic power in the institutions of the EU. Already we have 3 of the main institutions, the Commission, the ECB and the European Court outside democratic accountability. The Council of Ministers is only indirectly democratic as they are in place ex officio but their decisions are moulded and shaped by the Commission. The toothless European Parliament can only comment on Commission proposals, it cannot introduce any legislation of its own. The Lisbon Treaty adds nothing concrete to democratic accountability in the EU institutions only sham posturing.
Contrary to what Government ministers have been parroting on radio and TV this week, the Government has no legal guarantees on anything in this Treaty, only worthless political promises similar to what Fianna Fáil regularly dishes up at every election. Minister for European Affairs Dick Roche’s huff and puff about a legal “protocol” is also spurious. There is no protocol in existence; it’s only a Fianna Fáil wish-dream being peddled as a political reality. If Minister Roche is looking for liars and deceivers in this campaign he ought to look in the mirror each morning. If this Treaty is ratified, the self-amending clause (Art 48 TEU) it would allow the Commission and the Council by qualified majority voting (in which Ireland’s representation would be reduced to 0.8%) to bring in any changes they wanted without any further Treaties or referendums.

So, Fianna Fáil’s “guarantees” and invisible “protocols” could be put in the rubbish bin at the press of a button. I am confident that the Irish people will see through this political sham and, as they did decisively in 2008, reject this damnable Treaty both in their own interest and defence of their democracy and in the interests of the millions of fellow Europeans denied a democratic vote on this issue by voting a ‘NO’ majority again on October 2nd.
SIPTU EXECUTIVE, after weeks of dithering have recommended a Yes vote to their members on the flimsy grounds that Eamonn Gilmore, Leader of the Irish Labour Party, promised them at their annual conference that if Labour were in government they would legislate rights of Union membership and free collective bargaining into Irish law. This is almost as big an "if" in itself as the supposed workers' rights in the Lisbon Treaty, non-existent but referred to as legally binding depending on whether you read the Treaty upside-down or sideways. In a three-page document the SIPTU Executive give only reasons to vote NO to their members but still are asking them to vote yes. What a cock-up! Irrelevant anyway because at this stage most SIPTU members have made up their minds to vote NO, just like last time!
UPDATE: New Poll shows Fianna Fail in political meltdown:
A new opinion poll to be published in the Irish Times, Thursday 03.09.2009, shows Fianna Fail at a historic 17% low and Labour at 24%, the first time the Labour core vote has exceeded Fianna Fail's in history. This is shocking news for FF and the Coaition Government in the middle of a referendum campaign where they are all under increasing pressure from dissatisfied voters. The strange thing is, the pollsters didn't ask anything on the current referendum question. Is there something they don't want us to know? The size of the swing to the NO vote for instance.

FearFeasa Mac Léinn
Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 02.09.2009.