The Irish Anti-War Movement

Lisbon referendum-leaked e-mail from irish government exposee

Ireland’s  Lisbon Treaty referendum – Leaked memo to British Government exposes Irish Government conniving with foreign governments to deceive the Irish electorate.  . .  
From  DAILY MAIL, Ireland
 (Front page headline   Monday 14 April 2008)

Ireland’s  Lisbon Treaty referendum – Leaked memo to British Government exposes Irish Government conniving with foreign governments to deceive the Irish electorate.  . .  
From  DAILY MAIL, Ireland
 (Front page headline   Monday 14 April 2008)
by John Lee and Michael Lea
The Government has hatched an elaborate plan
to deceive voters over the forthcoming EU treaty
referendum, the Irish Daily Mail can today reveal.
A leaked email shows that ministers are planning a
deliberate campaign of misinformation to ensure that
the Lisbon Treaty vote is passed when it is put to the
public as required by the Constitution.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern has even been

personally assured that the European Commission will
"tone down or delay" any announcements from Brussels
"that might be unhelpful".
Alarmingly, the email says that ministers ruled out an
October referendum, which would have been better
procedurally, because they feared "unhelpful
developments during the French presidency –
particularly related to EU defence".
This suggestion will raise grave fears that the
State’s constitutional commitment to military
neutrality could be undermined by the treaty – a
rehashed version of the failed EU constitution.

The memo was sent to the British government by
Elizabeth Green, a senior UK diplomat in Dublin,
following a briefing from Dan Mulhall, a top official
in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Its aim was to relay to her political masters in
London the lengths to which the Government here was

going to in its bid to ensure a "Yes" vote in the

Ireland is the only EU state which is allowing voters
a say on the treaty, and European heads of  state are
terrified that they will reject it.

Campaigners have warned that the new treaty could

remove Ireland’s powers to decide its own tax rates
and social policies.

However, the most controversial aspect is the

likelihood that it will be used to  advance the concept
of a "European army" which would
violate the principle of neutrality that has long been
a foundation-stone of the State.

France is particularly keen to advance the notion of
an EU force, which critics fear could be ordered into
action over Irish objections by a majority vote of EU
heads of state.

Already concerns have been raised that soldiers who
are part of the Irish peacekeeping force being sent to
Chad could be compromised by French political and
military objectives in the area.

The leaked email admits that this is one of the issues
which needs to be kept from voters, saying that the
possibility of the French speaking out on this issue
meant that the referendum could not be delayed until

the autumn.  It states: "Mulhall said a date in
October would have been easier from a procedural point
of view.
"But the risk of unhelpful developments during the
French presidency – particularly related to EU defence
– were just too great.  (Nicola) Sarkozy was
completely unpredictable."
The Irish official was also worried that the latest
World Trade Organisation talks, which have already
aroused the fury of farmers, could turn the voters
against the new treaty.  Farmers and suppliers are
planning a one-day shut down this week to protest at
the tack being taken by EU trade commissioner Peter
The email said that Mulhall was concerned about "a WTO
deal based on agricultural concessions that could lead
the powerful farming association to withdraw its
support".  However, Government ministers appear to be
basing their hopes on the fact that the treaty cannot
be read or understood by most voters – and that
launching a quick referendum would stop them from
doing so.
"Most people would not have time to study the text and
would go with the politicians they trusted,"  it said.
And it poionted out that the Government plans to keep
people from analysing the details, saying the "aim is
to focus the campaign on overall benefits of the EU
rather than the treaty itself".
It goes on to explain the details of the Referendum
Bill, which it says, was "agreed following lengthy
consultation with Government lawyers and with the
political parties".
However, it admits that the bill is "largely
incomprehensible to the lay reader".
The memo refers to plans to fool campaingers over the
date and states: "Irish have picked 29 May for voting
but will delay an announcement to keep the No camp
"The Taoiseach and (Dermot) Ahern saw a slight
advantage in keeping the No camp guessing."
It has since been stated that the referendum will be
held on June 12 – although it is not clear from the
email whether this is the correct date or whether the
May 29 option is still being considered as a
possibility in order to destabilise the "No"campaign.
The email adds that the EC was doing its best to keep
any bad news from the Irish voters and that Mr Mulhall
had maintained that other partners – including the
commission – were playing a helpful low-profile role.

It added that during a trip to Dublin, Vice-President

Margot Wallstrom  "had told Dermot Ahern that the
commission was willing to tone down or delay messages
that might be unhelpful:.
The leaked message also points out that most Irish
media have been supine on the issue, saying "Mulhall
remarked that the media had been relatively quiet on
the ratification process so far.  We would need to
remain in close touch, given the media crossover"
A Government spokesman refused to comment on the
leaked email last night- merely saying: "The  date is
as set by the Taoiseach, there is no change in that."
Editorial Comment (page 14)

Whether the Lisbon Treaty is accepted by the Irish
public or not, one thing is clear – the Government
campaign in its favour is already one of the most
deeply dishonest in Irish history.

The revelation that the Government has conspired with
foreign politicians to deceive its own electorate
speaks of profound betrayal.  For months, ministers
have been calling for a fair campaign based on the
facts of the treaty itself.

Now we know that all the while the very same ministers
have been collluding in a campaign of deliberate
misinformation.  That the Irish people should be the
victims of a dishonest alliance between their own
govenrment and outside powers is something many will
find very hard to forgive quickly.

As for the Lisbon Treaty itself, voters will now find
it very difficult to trust a single word the
Govenrment says in its defence.  At each stage, the
aim has not been to inform the electorate but to
deceive it.

Instead of scheduling polling day for October,which
would allow the country to come to grips with the
treaty s byzantine complexity, the Government has
specifically chosen a date to capitalise on the
artificial uncertainty this premature vote creates.
Even the precise timing has been cynically manipulated
to catch the other side off-guard.  This is not just
poor form; it is a thoroughly undemocratic way to
conduct what is supposed to be a free and fair vote.

These low tricks are not just a case of using dark
arts for narrow tactical advantage,  they are
deliberate lies about crucial matters of the Irish

national interest.
 *   *   *
 One reason there is so much understable uncertainty in
the electorate over the Lisbon Treaty is that it might
mean we lose control over our military commitments and
that our low corporate tax rate might be abolished by
Brussels.  Now we know that on both counts the
Government’s conspiracy has specifically sought to
conceal the truth.

We are voting earlier than would ordinarily be
expected so that voters will not have a chance to see
new defence developments in the EU that officials
expect from the French EU presidency later this year.
Opinion divides on the merits and demerits of  Irish
neutrality, but that question should be decided by
Irish voters, not slipped through on false premises.

Today’s revelations also prove that neither our
Government nor the French Government can be trusted
when they say that well-known plans to introduce tax
harmonisation have been sidelined.

This all amounts to a shocking culture of lying in the
highest echelons of Irish politics.  Deliberate lying
about vital matters of Irish national interest should
be unreservedly condemned by those in favour of Lisbon
as much as by those against.  The political culture in
which this is possible is the proof, also, of just how

corrosive the departing Taoiseach’s lying has been for
public life.

Many people have not yet reached an opinion about the
Lisbon Treaty.  That decision must be taken on the
full facts and not on a shimmering mirage of

Nor should we be afraid to consider our relationship
with the EU anew.  We have been well served by EU
membership in the past.  We are under no obligation,

though, to vote blindly for whatever is put before us
simply for that reason.

If there is a case for the Lisbon Treaty on the merits
of the actual document, the Government should make it
– and should be able to make it easily and

persuasively.  That they have not will lead many to
wonder why a campaign based on proven dishonesty
should be given the benefit of the doubt when such
crucial issues are at stake.

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