Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dana on the Lisbon Treaty

A letter penned by the former MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon appeared in yesterday's Irish Times. In it, she warns of the impact the Lisbon Treaty will have on the Irish Constitution and its ability to protect the most vulnerable citizens.
Madam, - The Lisbon Treaty is a stealth EU Constitution. During my term of office as MEP, from 1999 to 2004, the building of an EU Constitution and the move towards an EU superstate was clearly set out.

I stated this publicly many times and urged our political leaders and elected representatives to uphold the Irish Constitution, for as the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe" clearly stated: "The Constitution, and law adopted by the Union's institutions in exercising competence conferred on it, shall have primacy over the law of the Member States".

In 2005, voters in France and the Netherlands soundly rejected this proposed constitution, yet well over 90 per cent of it is contained in the Lisbon Treaty. A simple name change will not change the fact that this is the same EU Constitutional Treaty and adopting Lisbon will profoundly weaken Ireland's position in Europe and undermine our sovereignty and political independence.

I have no doubt that the loss of the primacy of our Irish Constitution will eventually affect our rights and our lives in many different areas: neutrality, taxation, justice and policing, public services, immigration, energy, water, environment etc; and it will undermine the protection for family and life contained in our Constitution.

The people of Ireland have not been afforded an open and truthful debate on the implications of adopting the Lisbon Treaty, and as citizens of other member-states have been denied the right to vote on it, we again stand alone at this crucial time in European history.

We are no less European in upholding the primacy of Ireland's Constitution and protecting the rights of the Irish people, for what is at issue here is not whether we should remain in Europe, but rather what kind of Europe we are to be part of.

Article 9.2 of the Irish Constitution clearly states: "Fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental political duties of all citizens." I believe this to be the express duty of elected members of the Dáil and Seanad - and particularly of the President, whose primary function is as guardian and protector of the Constitution, which exists to protect the rights of Irish citizens.

Our main political parties are yet again united in trying to secure a vote in favour of the Lisbon referendum. The President, however, has the unique privilege and fundamental political duty of being guardian of Ireland's Constitution, to which an oath of allegiance is sworn at the time of taking office. - Yours, etc,

DANA ROSEMARY SCALLON, Claregalway, Co Galway.