“Lisbon is not a raid on our sovereignty”

EU flags in BrusselsSenator Alex White has asked the public not to approach the upcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty with fear.

The Labour representative in Dublin South was speaking during a debate in the Seanad on Thursday.

“There is almost a ‘Little Ireland’ approach from the No Campaign, who say that if it is out there in Europe, we must resist it and put the brake on because it can only go against us,” he said. “Those arguments have been heard repeatedly.

“We make a decision to give up or share sovereignty. It is not taken from us. The Treaty is not a raid on our sovereignty by this big faceless body. We will make any judgment ourselves.”

Senator White is seeking a Yes vote on June 12 and he told the Seanad that the Lisbon Treaty will mean more transparency in the EU and will increase the strength of the country in any future negotiations.

“The No Campaign have stated that we will not have a Commissioner sitting at the table for five out of the 15 years after 2014. Comparisons are made with TDs. People elect TDs to a sovereign Parliament. We must understand that the European Union appoints Commissioners in a different context. They are not there to fly the flag for their country. That is not what they are appointed to do,” he told the Seanad.

Senator White also dismissed claims that a No vote would send politicians back to renegotiate, saying that “the opportunity to negotiate a deal has been taken”.

“It is clear that an opportunity is available for those of us who want to promote a social Europe, to fight for that at the heart of Europe and the only way we can fight at that heart is by voting in favour of the Lisbon Treaty,” he said.

“A Yes vote on June 12 will mean that Ireland will go to the EU in the future with a strong hand. It is about having the self-confidence, and the people should have enough confidence to vote Yes.”

  • Senator White continues his series of public information meetings on the Lisbon Treaty in Loreto Community Centre, Nutgrove on Monday May 12th and Kielys, Mount Merrion on Thursday May 15th. Both meetings begin at 8pm and include some special guests. All are welcome.