‘…and they so loved their country that they used its flag as a tablecloth.’

Lisbon ‘NO’ supporters honour the Irish tri-colour at a victory celebration in Brussels.




Meanwhile back in Ireland, Chicken Licken was reaching some alarming conclusions.



I’ve just had a quick run through the Lisbon Treaty. The full text of the proposed treaty can be downloaded here but, to be honest, unless you are a constitutional lawyer or an expert in contract law I wouldn’t bother. It only takes a brief perusal of the document to realise that it is utterly impenetrable to the ordinary layman.Try this for size… 


292) Article 310 shall become Article 188 M.

293) Article 311 shall be repealed. A new Article 311a shall be inserted, with the wording of

Article 299(2), first subparagraph, and Article 299(3) to (6); the text shall be amended as follows:

(a) the first subparagraph of paragraph 2 and paragraphs 3 to 6 shall be renumbered 1 to 5

and the following new introductory wording shall be inserted at the beginning of the


“In addition to the provisions of Article 49 C of the Treaty on European Union relating to the territorial scope of the Treaties, the following provisions shall apply:”

Or this…

8. Articles 3, 4, 6, 7, 9.2, 10.1, 10.3, 11.2, 12.1, 14, 16, 18 to 20, 22, 23, 26, 27, 30 to 34, 50 and 52 of the Protocol on the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank (‘the Statute’) shall not apply to the United Kingdom. In those Articles, references to the Community or the Member States shall not include the United Kingdom and references to national central banks or shareholders shall not include the Bank of England. References in Articles 10.3 and 30.2 of the Statute to ‘subscribed capital of the ECB’ shall not include capital subscribed by the Bank of England.

That doesn’t trip easily off the tongue either.

The second passage, however, is not from the Lisbon Treaty. It is taken from the treaty of Rome, originally enacted in 1957 and subsequently amended by Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice among others. On the 10th May 1972 the Irish electorate voted to join the EEC and I would doubt very much if many of the one million plus who voted yes read any part of the Treaty of Rome.

The argument that we should reject the Lisbon treaty because it cannot be easily read is a bit of a red herring. How many of those who say ‘I wouldn’t sign a legal document if I couldn’t understand it,’ ever read the terms and conditions when they take out a bank loan or buy a concert ticket on Ticketmaster or sign up for a Gmail account?

Joining the EEC in 1973 was undoubtedly the greatest thing that ever happened to this country. From that one act (eventually) flowed the economic success we have seen in recent years and the modernising of our nation. The establishment of many basic human rights, which we now take for granted, such as equal pay for women, have stemmed from our membership of the EU. In 1972 we did not need to know the intricate details of the Treaty of Rome to know that joining would be good for Ireland. Instead we listened to an informed debate on the pros and cons and made our choices accordingly.

Similarly, we do not need to read every word of the Lisbon treaty to make a decision on how we should vote this time. There is an overload of information in the public sphere about this treaty and what it will mean to Ireland and to Europe. Here’s just a small, random selection.


http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86857 http://www.joanburton.ie/?postid=823 http://www.lisbontreaty.ie/ http://www.voteno.ie/

(Incidentally, if you were paying any attention to Libertas and their campaign against the treaty I would strongly recommend that you should read this excellent article by Chekov Feeny over at


I am leaning towards a yes vote but I have three weeks to listen to the arguments from both sides before I finally make up my mind. I do feel, however, that if the government parties do not make a serious change to their campaign that he treaty will be rejected. The government’s tactics so far have been extremely negative and bear all the hallmarks of a scare-mongering campaign, which I believe will not go down well with the electorate. Day after day we hear ministers predicting dire consequences for Ireland if we reject the treaty. The utter lack of specifics as to the nature of these consequences will only lead the electorate to believe that they are being bullied into voting yes, which will result in a backlash no vote. If the treaty is as good as the yes campaign says it is then let them tell us exactly how it will benefit us. Let them outline in detail what effect the treaty will have on our lives. More importantly, tell us what the treaty will not do.  The referendum Commision’s website is particularly disappointing and very short on real information.


I do believe that Europe has been extremely good for Ireland and if this treaty does, as we are told, make the EU more effective and more efficient then I will be voting yes.

So my challenge to both sides is simply this…

…convince me.