A lively start to debates on Lisbon Treaty

We had the first of four planned information meetings on the Lisbon Treaty, on Thursday, April 24th at the Taney Parish Centre, Dundrum. All of these meetings are open to the public and we hope that people come along to inform themselves and debate the issues.

Liz McManus T.D. and Blair Horan of the Civil and Public Services Union got the ball rolling on Thursday night. Liz pointed out that the core values of the Treaty are in alignment with the core values of the Labour Party emphasising as they do equality, democracy and social justice. The Treaty will make the European political process more transparent. It will also allow for a Citizenship Initiative, whereby European citizens can mobilise to put an issue of concern to them on the political agenda.

Blair focused more on the role of the Lisbon treaty in fleshing the social and economic rights of European citizens. The Lisbon Treaty, he said, introduces for the first time the prospect that citizens can look to the European Union to vindicate social and economic rights. He said he was optimistic about the potential benefits of this for European workers into the future. A lively discussion ensued.

Barry Desmond, former T.D. and M.E.P. expressed his concern about the changing political landscape in Europe, particularly the possibility of an emerging right-wing bloc lead by Silvio Berlusconi in Italy and Nicolas “Starkozy” in France, and potentially supported by euro-sceptics in Poland, and the U.K. Desmond said that Ireland and other European countries needed to remain vigilant as the EU has the potential to fragment politically.

The meeting also discussed Ireland’s role within the EU peace keeping initiatives, the arguments being put forward by Libertas and the tardiness of the government in getting out and joining in the debate on the Lisbon Treaty.

The next information meeting will take place at the Community Centre, Nutgrove Avenue, Rathfarnham on Tuesday, May 12th. I hope to see you there.