Campaigns // éirígí say no to the Lisbon treaty


“Are we all clear that we want to build something that can aspire to be a world power? In other words not just a trading block, but a political entity.”
    – Former EU Commission President Romano Prodi

Visions of Empire

No Means No!The vision of creating a European empire to rival that of the United States has long been an aspiration of the European political elite. The Lisbon Treaty represents but another step on that road. Already rejected by voters in the 26 counties, the treaty is a cynical re-draft of the EU Constitution which was itself defeated in referenda in both France and the Netherlands in 2005. Following these setbacks for the elite project, European governments entered a ‘period of reflection’: a cover name for undermining democracy.

Constitution Defeated – The People have Spoken?

It was decided that the more overt symbols of a federal state such as the flag and anthem would be removed and the term ‘Constitution’ dropped and renamed the ‘Reform Treaty’. This treaty was signed by the Council of Europe at Lisbon in October 2007 and became known as the Lisbon Treaty. Notwithstanding these cosmetic changes the substance of the Treaty remained exactly the same. This was confirmed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in June 2007: “the substance of the constitution is preserved. That is a fact.”

Electing A New People

Significantly the European political establishment ensured that the French and Dutch would not be given a second opportunity to ruin their carefully prepared plans. The Treaty was to be ratified through member state parliaments rather than referendum. Indeed their cynicism was evident in the comments of former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato: “the good thing about not calling it a Constitution is that no one can ask for a referendum on it”. However, there was a spanner in the works. The sterling campaigning work of the late Raymond Crotty prior to the Single European Act in 1987, ensured that the SEA and all subsequent European treaties with implications for Irish sovereignty must be put to referendum in the 26 counties. The people of the Twenty-Six counties are the only people in all of the EU that actually get to vote on the Lisbon Treaty.

The First Lisbon Treaty Referendum

So in June 2008 the Lisbon Treaty was put to voters in the 26 counties. éirígí was affiliated to the Campaign Against the European Constitution (CAEUC) and ran an intense, informative and colourful campaign, working alongside a range of left wing and progressive groups. The result of the referendum was truly astounding, despite the dire warnings of the political and business elite, 53 per cent of the electorate voted No. Key issues of concern to voters were the diminution of democracy, the erosion of sovereignty and neutrality and the subordination of workers’ rights to the interests of big business.

No Means No?

From the moment the result was announced éirígí wasted no time in demanding that democracy be upheld and that ‘No Means No’. Gathering at the gates of Dublin Castle where the result was officially announced and which was formerly the seat of the British empire in Ireland, éirígí activists warned that the political establishment would attempt to ignore the will of the people. An intensive and visible sticker and banner campaign was conducted in the months following the Treaty result.

Political Promises and Lisbon 2

While the outcome certainly shook the political establishment across Europe, their willingness to undermine democracy proved insatiable. In June 2009 the Dublin government received a series of political promises from the European Council on taxation, neutrality and abortion and a ‘solemn declaration’ on workers’ rights. None of this changed one word or comma of the Lisbon Treaty but became the pretext for re-running the Lisbon referendum.

The Demise of Neo-Liberalism?

Since the 2008 referendum capitalism has been gripped by the greatest global crisis since the 1930s. The property bubble upon which the so called Celtic Tiger economy was built has collapsed and unemployment in Ireland has reached 500,000. The Dublin government response has been to bail out bankers and developers who created the economic mess while simultaneously imposing extra taxes and levies on workers. Notwithstanding their own culpability in creating the economic disaster, the government is attempting to scare voters by suggesting that the “ratification of the Lisbon Treaty is a vital contribution to economic recovery”. It seems that those advocating a Yes vote consider an even stronger dose of neo-liberalism as proposed under Lisbon can act an antidote to the economic disaster.

The Lisbon Treaty – What does it Say?

The Lisbon Treaty amends the Treaty of the European Community (Treaty of Rome 1957), henceforth the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty 1992) giving the EU a legal personality and gradually transforming it into a federal state. éirígí will once again be mounting a vigorous campaign to consign the Lisbon Treaty and the principles underpinning it to the dustbin of history.

éirígí opposes the Lisbon Treaty because:

  • It is the same treaty put to Irish voters people and rejected in June 2008 and no different to the Constitution rejected in 2005 by electorates in France and the Netherlands
  • It denies the people of the occupied six counties the right to vote on the future of Ireland
  • It enshrines the principle of the free market and competition
  • It places the interests of big business before workers’ rights
  • It promotes the further privatisation of public services, particularly in the areas of health and education
  • It further erodes neutrality – reaffirming commitments to common defence and security which will be consistent with commitments to NATO and obliging member states to progressively improve their military capabilities
  • It increases the voting strength of larger states such as Germany, France and Britain, while simultaneously halving the voting strength of smaller states like Ireland
  • It creates an office of President and Foreign Minister – giving the EU power to determine foreign policy for all member states

éirígí needs your help. If you are interested in getting involved in our campaign to defeat the Lisbon Treaty or donating to the campaign please contact


Related News Stories from the éirígí Archives

12/10/09: Lisbon – Illusion & Reality....An indication of the power of the corporate state in the Twenty-Six Counties was revealed over the course of the Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign. The Treaty was passed at the second time of asking with 67 per cent in favour, while 33 per cent voted against, representing a 20 per cent swing from 2008 when 53 per cent of the electorate rejected Lisbon more>>

04/10/09: Lisbon Passed, Democracy Damaged....When the ruling class in the Twenty-Six Counties wants something bad enough it will do pretty much anything to get it. This is one of the main lessons to be taken out of Saturday’s result on the second Lisbon more>>

01/10/09: Lisbon – Vote Early and Often....‘Vote early and often’ is an age-old catch-phrase on the Irish political scene. While the occasional super-democrat may have interpreted it literally, most people took it in the humorous tongue-in-cheek manner that it was offered. That is, until the Dublin government failed to get the Nice Treaty passed by referendum in June more>>

30/09/09: Democracy Denied Protest – Belfast....Speaking at today’s protest at the European Commission offices in Belfast, éirígí general secretary Breandán Mac Cionnaith said no decisions on European integration should be taken until after a British withdrawal from the Six more>>

24/09/09: Republican Councillors Against the Lisbon Treaty....Seven republican elected representatives from across the country today released a joint statement calling on the electorate of the Twenty-Six Counties to reject the Lisbon Treaty again on October more>>

23/09/09: Lisbon Campaign Photo Essay....With the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty now just over a week away éirígí activists across the country are continuing to get the message out that Europe isn't more>>

10/09/09: Getting the Message Out – Vote No to Lisbon 2....With less than a month to go before the Lisbon 2 referendum, éirígí has undertaken a number of initiatives across the four provinces as part of the No more>>

06/09/09: Leaflet on Lisbon to be Distributed....As part of éirígí’s No to Lisbon 2 campaign, the party has produced a leaflet detailing the reasons why the Treaty should be rejected by the electorate in the Twenty-Six more>>

06/09/09: Lisbon 2 Official Campaign Launch....The official launch of éirígí’s No to Lisbon 2 campaign took place yesterday in Dublin’s Belvedere more>>

04/09/09: Cruinnithe faoin spéir sa Chlochán Liath faoi Chonradh Liospóin....Ag labhairt ag cruinniú eagraithe ag éirígí sa Chlochán Liath ag éileamh ar vóta Níl sa reifreann i mí Dheireadh Fómhair, dúirt eagraí Cheardchumann Neamhspleách na nOibrithe Tommy McKearney nach bhfuil sé de ghustal ag Éirinn ligeant don Eoraip talamh slán a dhéanamh dá comhlí more>>

02/09/09: Pro-Lisbon Factions Get Desperate....With just five weeks to go to the referendum on Lisbon 2, the Yes side grows ever more desperate and its advocates more more>>

25/08/09: éirígí Launches First Wave of No to Lisbon 2....éirígí launched the first wave of the party’s No to Lisbon 2 campaign yesterday outside the gates of Leinster House and the EU offices in Dublin city more>>

21/08/09: No to Lisbon 2 Launched....With just six weeks to go to the second Lisbon Treaty referendum, there was a real sense of vigour, urgency and determination amongst activists and members of the public who packed into Liberty Hall for the launch of the No to Lisbon 2 more>>

30/07/09: Opposition to Lisbon 2 Underway....Opposition to the re-running of the Lisbon Treaty got underway in Dublin yesterday. In a coordinated action, éirígí activists hung banners in several prominent locations across Dublin city and more>>

30/06/09: Lisbon 2 – Democracy EU-Style....The vision of a unified Europe first articulated in the Schuman Declaration of May 9th 1950, to the effect that “the pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe”, is the vision that has guided the European project since its more>>

    22/07/08: Sarkozy Gets the Message – No Means No!....

    20/07/08: Defend your Decision – No Means No!....

    24/06/08: Sarkozy Must Respect the Result....

    23/06/08: Blueshirt Claims Defy Reality....

    13/06/08: A Slap in the Face for EU Elitists....

    12/06/08: Today’s the Day....

    10/06/08: Democracy Denied!....

    10/06/08: Getting the message out at Croker....

    10/06/08: Ireland can send two sets of warmongers packing....

    09/06/08: Momentum Grows for Many No’s....

    05/06/08: Tackling the Liars on Lisbon....

    05/06/08: Democracy Denied: Public Meeting In Belfast....

    29/05/08: éirígí Say - Stand Firm In The Face Of Establishment Threats....

    24/05/08: éirígí steps up campaign against the Treaty....

    07/05/08: International Disdain For Euro Elitists....

    02/05/08: No To Lisbon Campaign Gathers Momentum....

    16/04/08: The great EU deception....

    27/03/08: Public Meeting on Lisbon....

    06/02/08: Organising for a No to Lisbon....


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