by Democrat reporter
PEOPLE'S MOVEMENT chair and former MEP Patricia McKenna has criticised taoiseach Bertie Ahern for referring to those on the No side of the forthcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty as "insane and alarmist". Mr Ahern has also accused No campaigners of distorting facts and using misleading and incorrect arguments.
Speaking recently at the launch in Dublin of the Campaign Against the EU Constitution (CAEUC), an umbrella campaign formed in 2005 prior to the French and Dutch referenda on the EU constitution, Ms McKenna said that Mr. Ahern's remarks were deplorable and unworthy of the Irish leader.
"This level of debate is unacceptable and in insult to the intelligence of the Irish people, who will be the ultimate decision makers on whether or not Ireland ratifies this treaty," she said.
Ms McKenna, who is one of the three conveners of CAEUC, said that Mr. Ahern and the people of Ireland would be better served if he were to deal with the real issue at hand and explain in an open, balanced and coherent fashion how Ireland will actually benefit from the massive changes to the future functioning of the EU proposed in the Lisbon Treaty.
"I would urge the taoiseach to stop engaging in boot-boy politics and instead acknowledge that those on the No side have legitimate concerns in relation to how the EU currently functions and what the changes proposed by Lisbon will mean for Ireland as one of the smaller member states of the EU. This treaty is a clear shift of power from the smaller to the bigger states of the EU and provides the EU all the powers a European superstate needs for the foreseeable future.
"Many of us on the No side have been struggling for years to achieve a more democratic and accountable EU that puts the interest of people first.
"Tragically our greatest opponents have been those elected to serve the people of this country and defend our interests. The time for an honest debate on the direction of the EU is long overdue and this campaign provides prime opportunity to do so.
"We cannot allow our politicians and political establishment to squander it for short-term political and personal gain," Ms McKenna insisted.
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