BERLIN - MARCH 25:  The heads of state of the 27 European Union nations pose for a family photo around German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) Front row (L - R) European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Romania's President Traian Basescu, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, French President Jacques Chirac, Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Poettering, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Middle row (L - R) Ireland's Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi , Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Slovenian Prime minister Janez Jansa, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Top row (L -R) Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico, Malta's Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Austrian chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, Finland's Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, in front of Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate, at the end of weekend celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome which laid the foundation for the EU March 25, 2007 in Berlin, Germany. European Union heads of state are converging on the German capital to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, which laid the foundation for the current European Union.  (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

I promise that this will be my last post on the Lisbon Treaty before we take to the polls. I just need to get this out of my system!

Last night, whilst enjoying my dinner, my door bell rang and I said “that better not be some campaigner looking for my vote in the referendum”. Reluctantly I answered the door with the intention of taking their flyer and saying “thanks”.

However when I opened the door it wasn’t just a normal campaigner, it was our local Fianna Fail councillor Pat Vance. This was my golden opportunity to ask someone that should know what the treaty is all about some questions that might answer my lingering doubts.

In fairness to Pat, he seemed to have his story very straight. Although, he did do the usual politician tact of avoiding answering the tough questions. He seemed like a nice guy and he had his own reasons why he was voting yes, which I respected.

But I’m sad to say, that after nearly 20 minutes of conversation, I was still non-the-wiser why I should vote yes in the upcoming treaty referendum.

So I’ve decided to vote no and I guess it would be fair to say my reasons are solely based on principle. Here’s why:

  1. Democracy
    When a treaty which is more than 90% unchanged from an original treaty that was categorically turned down by countries with a combined population of over 80 million, there is something undemocratic about the way this treaty is being forced through.If it’s fair to use polls as a guide to what people are thinking, why when over 70% would have liked to have voted on the new Lisbon Treaty there was not a Europe wide vote? Is that not what democracy is?
  2. Reading the Small Print
    Our own EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy (who I have a lot of respect for by the way) reckons it would be insane for someone to read the Lisbon Treaty in it’s entirity. Well I’m sorry, I just don’t agree with this. We elect these people to handle our affairs, they should be looking at the “small print”. Would you buy a house before employing a solicitor to read the “fine print” and ensure that you are protected? I know I certainly wouldn’t. I know I wouldn’t even sign up for Broadband without reading the small print. So the pure arrogance of this statement is one that annoys me a lot.So what happens in the future when something pops up that the government overlooked because we would be insane to read the treaty in its entirity???
  3. Positives
    I have yet to see any positives from any side of the arguments on the treaty. Let’s face it, I do want Ireland to be part of the EU. I do believe it has been really good for our country and I do believe it would be bad not to be part of it.All I hear from the Yes voters is that it will “send out the wrong signal”, “make us look bad” etc etc. But no-one is telling me why I should vote yes. All I get is “It will streamline how the European Commission works”.So what??? Why should I vote Yes when two countries much larger than Ireland have already voted it down!!?
  4. Neutrality
    Ok a lot of people just think this is an idealistic dream. A country that says it’s neutral – ah bliss. But I’m sorry I am actually proud that we don’t get involved in other peoples fights. That’s the way I have been brought up and that’s the way I’d like it to stay.If someone wants to pick a fight with a small country like us, shame on them, but at least we would still have our pride. If someone wants to help us, we will be grateful. What do countries fight for at the end of the day? Greed, that’s all, pure greed!Pat Vance and I had a good conversation over this, but his attitude was “What’s neutrality, if someone wants to nuke the UK, we are effected”. Yes we are, but then we have to protect ourselves, that’s called “defending”, it doesn’t mean that we have to become allies.
  5. Ireland is a small country
    Another point Pat Vance had was that Ireland is a small country, we think we are bigger and more powerful than we actually are. Yes, maybe we do, but that doesn’t mean we should be the poor small Irish paddy’s sitting in the corner with no voice. If we are to be part of something, we need a voice not matter how small we are in the overall picture. Our voice in my opinion is being quitened with this new treaty.

The way the government are pushing this on us as a dooms day situation if we say no, in principle, is wrong. They should focus on what we are gaining. If they can also give us a balanced view of what we would be losing that would also help everyone understand what indications this will have for us. But if our own government can’t read the treaty – how can we trust them.

Libertas seem to be the only party that actually know anything about this treaty – but they are doom and gloom at the opposite side of the scale.

I don’t know enough to vote Yes to this treaty, I do want to be part of the EU. Government – if you fail on this one, you need to take a serious look at the reasons why!

EDIT: I just needed to add this to the debate as it’s quite ridiculous.
The recent results posted by the Irish Times/MRBI polls show that 36% of the people who have decided to vote yes, have so for the following reason and I quote from todays Irish Times (page 9) – “To keep Ireland fully involved in the EU/not to embarrass Ireland”.

What a ridiculous reason – “not to embarrass Ireland”…. OMG!

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