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No Means No: ‘The Treaty is dead’

3 September 2008

No Means No: ‘The Treaty is dead’

He came from Ireland solely to explain to the Euro-MPs flooding in to hear him that the Irish 'No' meant 'No'. "The Treaty is dead," he said some five times, because there are even now politicians who believe the Irish people's decision was a piece of advice from which you can deviate. The Irish pronounced themselves, in June 2008 in a completely clear fashion, to be against the Treaty of Lisbon. "They seem to be immune to the ballot box" sighed Declan Ganley. There are politicians who have developed resistance to citizens who think differently to them, to the extent that they are immune to disappointing election results.

Changing the rules of the game

In room A1H-1 of the European Parliament on Tuesday it was packed and hot. Declan J. Ganley is the chairman of Libertas, a right-wing, conservative organisation which played an important role in the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. He recalled that the French and Dutch had already, in 2005, made it clear that the European Constitution, an almost identical proposal, could not be allowed to stand. It disturbs Ganley that there are politicians who had responded to the referendum result by trying to change the rules of the game and who were looking for some way of interpreting the NO as a YES. "Public opinion is not an obstacle, but something we have to listen to" he told his opponents.

Democratic Realisation

What must change in the Lisbon Treaty for it to receive a YES? On this question Ganley had little to say. I'm only an ordinary Irish citizen, was his story, though he did say that a constitution should be a short, readable item, but that above all it must be a document supported by the people, it must reflect a a democratic consciousness. As an answer Ganley offered a rhetorical question: "What must an unelected EU president explain about democracy to an unelected president of China?"

Questioning Ganley's motives

Of Declan J. Ganley it has been written that he is a multimillionaire, anti-European or at least anti-European Union, that he is active in the arms trade and paid by the CIA to ensure that Europe doesn't get too strong. Ganley shrugs his shoulders and says that this is the price you have to pay for conducting a successful campaign. He describes himself as pro-European and advocates a more democratic EU.

Secret funds

At the end of the meeting, in answer to a journalist from The Times regarding the alleged American funding sources behind the Irish No campaign, Ganley said that he would shortly provide a full account of the campaign's finance. He asked the journalist quite pleasantly if, when these data were published, they would also state what European, non-Irish funds had secretly gone to finance the Yes campaign.

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