by Democrat reporter
FOLLOWING a recent RTÉ interview with EU commissioner Catherine Day, Irish peace campaigners have congratulated the EU technocrat for coming clean on the real reason why the Irish people were being forced to vote again on the same treaty that they had rejected in the first Lisbon Treaty referendum last year.
Responding to the interview, broadcast on the popular Morning Ireland programme, Roger Cole, chair of Peace And Neutrality Alliance (PANA) said:
" I was very pleased to hear Catherine Day of the EU Commission finally admit the real reason why the Irish people are being bullied and intimidated into reversing their democratic decision to reject the Lisbon Treaty last year.
"The treaty is to transform the EU into a "world power". It is for this exact same reason that PANA is calling upon the Irish people to stand by their decision last year and vote no.
"We were part of a "world power" before. It was called the British Union. It sent its battle groups all over the world, and while there was no conscription, the then Irish political/media elite encouraged the people to join them and take part in "peacemaking" missions in places like Afghanistan.
"Even now there are troops from EU states including Ireland occupying Afghanistan despite the fact that the people's of these states want them brought home.
"The Fianna Fáil party that supported president Bush's wars, that supported the neo-liberal economic policies which have all but destroyed the Irish economy, are now nothing more that a born again home rule party.
"PANA in advocating that the EU should not be a world power, but a partnership of independent democratic states, legal equals, without a military dimension is carrying on the tradition of Tone, Pearse, Connolly, Collins and De Valera. Lord Kitchner is Fianna Fáil's hero."
Speaking as PANA launched its No to Lisbon Campaign, Sinn Féin vice-president Mary Lou McDonald accused the Irish government of misleading the public on the implications for Ireland's neutrality if the Lisbon Treaty was ratified.
Ms MacDonald said:
"The Lisbon Treaty has serious implications for our neutrality. Article 28 for the first time makes clear that the EU will have a common defence policy. The same article obliges member states to increase their military spending; draws us further into a military alliance; states that any future defence policy must be compatible with NATO; allows for the formation of mini military alliances; and expands the list of permissible military actions well beyond peace keeping and humanitarian missions.
"The government, in an attempt to side step the issue, are applying a very narrow definition of neutrality. Neutrality is about much more than what a country does with its troops. It is also about the alliances you are part of, the obligations created by those alliances, what you do with your resources, and what can happen in your name.
"Sinn Féin has never argued that Irish troops will be sent overseas on military missions without the consent of the Oireachtas.
"However if Lisbon is passed the significant developments in the area of common defence policy contained in the Treaty will further erode our neutrality."
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