Is it true that nothing has changed since the last Referendum?
– No, a lot has changed. Following the deal agreed between Ireland and the other EU members, a Yes vote is the only way to guarantee that we keep our Commissioner – our voice at the top table of the EU.
– Regarding other issues raised by the Irish people over the course of the campaign, our partners in Europe listened, and each of these concerns has been addressed with guarantees.
– The guarantees give certainty about what is and is not in the Treaty. They respond to the concerns raised and they remove any doubt.
What do the new guarantees involve?
The new guarantees have emerged following a process of presenting the concerns expressed by the Irish people during last year’s referendum.
The European Council has agreed that each Member State will retain a Commissioner and that Ireland will be given legal guarantees in the areas of concern to Irish voters.
At the June European Council, the 27 EU members signed an international agreement that guaranteed that the Lisbon Treaty does not affect:
- Ireland’s right to set our own tax rates. Our 12.5% corporate tax will remain solely our decision.
- Ireland’s neutrality. There is no European army. There will be no conscription. Any decision to send Irish troops overseas must be passed by the Dáil and the mission must have a UN mandate.
- Ireland’s right to decide for itself moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and issues that effect family life and education.
How can we believe these Guarantees?
These are watertight, cast iron guarantees that have been registered with the UN as a formal international agreement. They will be added to the next EU treaty as protocols. This is the same mechanism that was used to register the Good Friday agreement.
The EU has never reneged on a deal between the member states. It is a system built on trust.
Some No campaigners say the guarantees are worthless?
They toured the country last year spending huge amounts of money raising concerns about the Treaty. Everyone remembers the posters about keeping a Commissioner, saving our tax powers, the right to life, and protecting neutrality.
These and other points have been dealt with. We must separate legitimate concerns from those that take issue with Europe as a concept in itself.
What about Workers’ Rights?
The European Council also agreed on a Solemn Declaration on Workers’ Rights which confirms the high importance that the Union attaches to:
– social progress and the protection of workers’ rights;
– public services;
– the responsibility of Member States for the delivery of education and health services;
– the essential role and wide discretion of national, regional and local authorities in providing, commissioning and organising services of general economic interest.