Irish Presidential Election 2018

Its official as of this week the Irish Presidential Election will take place on Friday, October 26th. On the same-day, there will vote on Thirty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution (Repeal of offence of publication or utterance of blasphemous matter) Bill 2018.

A number of candidates are vying to get on the on the ticket to challenge sitting President Michael D Higgins. There are three ways to get on the ballot paper, a sitting President (or former President who served only one term) may nominate themselves, nomination by 20 members of the Oireachtas or by nomination by 4 local authorities.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have both said they will not be nominating a candidate and will be supporting the President. Labour who nominated Michael D Higgins in 2011 are supporting him in this election.

Sinn Fein will also be announcing a candidate. They have a process in train and will announce a candidate on the 10th of September.

The last Presidential election in 2011 had a record 7 candidates, this year could equal that or exceed it providing that the independents in the Dail and Seanad agree on a candidate and the county councils nominate the maximum number of candidates. There are 31 councils (26 County Councils, 3 City Councils and 2 City & County Councils), 4 per candidate meaning 6 possible candidates from this route, as well as the incumbent and the Sinn Fein Nominee, meaning a possible 8 candidates from the 11 announced so far.

I hope to keep this post updated as nominations come in before the deadline on September 26th

So who are the candidates?

Confirmed

Nominations Received (4 councils or 20 Oireachtas members needed)

Looking for Nominations

  • Peter Casey – Businessman
  • Patrick Feeney – Retired Aer Lingus Worker
  • Mannix Flynn – Independent Councillor on Dublin City Council
  • John Groake – Farmer
  • Marie Goretti Moylan – Volunteer
  • Sarah Lousie Mulligan – Entertainer
  • Gemma O’Doherty – Journalist
  • Kevin Sharkey – Artist
  • James Smyth – Musician

Possible Sinn Fein Candidates

  • John Finucane – Solicitor
  • Liadh Ni Riada – MEP

Withdrawn Candidates

Asking the Candidates: If elected will you continue to use Facebook/Twitter

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After thinking about all the tweets and facebooking from the Irish Presidential Candidates, I decided to ask them if they would contine use Twitter/Facebook if they were elected President of the Republic of Ireland.

I asked the question on Twitter initially, but then posted it also on the candidates Facebook to give them all a fair chance of responding.

These are the respons in the order I have recieved them and on what medium they responded on.

Mary Davis – Facebook

Hi Stephen, when I am elected I will definitely ensure that social media is a key part of my Áras an Uachtarán communications.

Sean GallagherFacebook

Certainly Stephen. I was using both Facebook and Twitter well before I announced my intention to run for the Presidency. Social media and new technologies mean that I can reach people and hear what you, the people of Ireland are saying more clearly than ever before. Best wishes, Seán

Michael D HigginsTwitter

@spiller2 if elected I hope to continue using social media Stephen #aras11

Martin McGuinnessTwitter

@spiller2 I do indeed Stephen

UPDATE 20:25

Dana Rosemary Scallon Twitter

@spiller2 I’m still learning, but I will keep it up while I’m in office. It’s a great way to connect with the people. #aras11 #dana

Senator David Norris (Team) – Facebook

Hi Stephen, I have asked your question and can confirmed a David Norris Presidency would certainly be using Social Media to make the Office of President even more accessible while continuing on the fantastic dialogue David Norris has enjoyed throughout his campaign. Admin (Ronan)

I have yet to recieve a response from Gay Mitchell. When I do I will update this post.

Pollwatch: Sunday Business Post/Red C October 16th

Michael D Banner

Tomorrow the Sunday Business  Post have a Red C poll for the Presidential Election. The comparison is with the Red C poll for Paddy Power on October 6th. The field work for this poll was done between Monday and Wednesday so does not include any changes, if any, after the Prime Time debate.

  • Gallagher, Sean (Ind) 39% (+18)
  • Higgins, Michael D (Lab) 27% (+2)
  • McGuinness, Martin (SF) 13% (-3)
  • Mitchell, Gay (FG) 8% (-2)
  • Norris, David (Ind) 7% (-7)
  • Davis, Mary (Ind) 4% (-5)
  • Scallon, Dana Rosemary 2% (-3)

The major change in this poll is the massive 18% leap in support for Sean Gallagher. It is becoming a two horse race between Gallagher and Michael D Higgins of Labour as they are the only candidates to see a rise in support.

All the other candidates have seen a drop in support, and independent Senator David Norris who has seen his support halved from 14% t0 7%. The other candidates have all seen their support drop between 2-5%.

The rise the Fine Gael were hoping to see for Gay Mitchell does not seem to have materialised as he drops 2%. But have the attacks on Martin McGuinness had some effect as he has dropped 3% in the poll?

Of course, no polls seem to be agreeing over a week so it will be interesting if next week the polls will change as the debate and revelations from Dana have any effect in the next set of polls, and of course will the media turn their attention on the leading candidates and change it all again?

Pollwatch: Catch up, October 6th Polls

The Poster Campaign: Gay Mitchell For President
Image by infomatique via Flickr

Its been a busy week here and I have managed to miss to polls that were published last Thursday, the 6th of October. The first poll was in the Irish Times and was carried out by Ipsos MRBI. The figures were as follows:

  • Higgins, Michael D (Lab) 23%
  • Gallagher, Sean (Ind) 20%
  • McGuinness, Martin (SF) 19%
  • Davis, Mary (Ind) 12%
  • Norris, David (Ind) 11%
  • Mitchell, Gay (FG) 9%
  • Scallon, Dana Rosemary (Ind) 6%

In the second poll by Red C for Paddy Power showed a similar result.

  • Higgins, Michael D (Lab) 25%
  • Gallagher, Sean (Ind) 21%
  • McGuinness, Martin (SF) 16%
  • Norris, David (Ind) 14%
  • Mitchell, Gay (FG) 10%
  • Davis, Mary (Ind) 9%
  • Scallon, Dana Rosemary (Ind) 5%

The polls are interesting to look at as they really are within the margin of error of 3%. The other fact to take in these polls is the collapse in the support for Senator David Norris. It seemed that he enjoyed more support when he wasnt on the ballot paper.

The surprise of the polls  is that Sean Gallagher is now the second favourite. This of course can be seen by the media now turning their attention to him and his past.

That is the one commonality in this campaign. As a candidate starts to climb in the polls, the media turns against them. Is that how we want our campaigns run?

Also if your not sure which way to vote, Votomatic is back to help you decide! I did it earlier and it suggested I vote in the following way:

  1. Mary Davis,
  2. Micheal D Higgins,
  3. Sean Gallagher,
  4. Martin McGuinness,
  5. David Norris,
  6. Dana Rosemary Scallon,
  7. Gay Mitchell.

With 16 days left in the campaign we will have plenty of polls and I will endeavour to keep on top of them. It will be interesting if the media can influence any further change in the polls. Interesting times ahead.

Pollwatch: RED C/SBP Polls September 25th

Sinn Fein Advice Centre, Circular Road, Castle...
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The Sunday Business Post has two polls for us about the Irish Presidential Election. It has one poll with the 5 nominated candidates so far and one poll with the 7 candidates who will most likely be on the ballot on October 27th.

In the 5 Candidate poll the 1st preference vote would look as follows:

  • Higgins, Michael D (Lab) 27%
  • McGuinness, Martin (SF) 20%
  • Davis, Mary (Ind) 20%
  • Mitchell, Gay (FG) 15%
  • Gallagher, Sean (Ind) 15%

This poll is interesting as it has Davis level with McGuinness, but with Sinn Fein being transfer toxic, Davis could be the one to make it to the final count with Higgins.

In the 7 candidate the poll, the first preferences are as follows:

  • Norris, David (Ind) 21%
  • Higgins, Michael D (Ind) 18%
  • McGuinness, Martin (SF) 16%
  • Davis, Mary (Ind) 13%
  • Mitchell, Gay (FG) 13%
  • Gallagher, Sean (Ind) 11%
  • Scanlon, Dana Rosemary (Ind) 6%

When Senator Norris is added in to the poll he takes a margin of error lead over Higgins. Davis falls back to tie with Fine Gael’s Mitchell who does not seem to be making much of an impact in the campaign.

Of course with this many candidates in the race it will all come down to transfers. With this looking like the first Presidential Election to go further then two counts, where the transfers go will be what is important. RED C have polled this and the results are interesting.

  • Norris, David (Ind) 6%
  • Higgins, Michael D (Ind) 20%
  • McGuinness, Martin (SF) 8%
  • Davis, Mary (Ind) 16%
  • Mitchell, Gay (FG) 14%
  • Gallagher, Sean (Ind) 14%
  • Scanlon, Dana Rosemary (Ind) 7%

This is where the campaign for Norris falls down as he comes last in terms of 2nd preferences where he is beaten by McGuinness and Dana. This would spell disaster as both Higgins and Davis could easily gain enough transfers to leapfrog him and leave it as a two horse race. Unless Norris can get a larger lead, he may win the first count but ultimately lose the election. The beauty of the Irish Electoral System?

PollWatch: Sunday Independent/Millward Brown Landsdowne

Michael D. Higgins
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The Sunday Independent has two polls in it today in relation to the Presidential Election today. I am going to ignore the “less scientific, Sunday Independent/ Quantum Research” poll.

The poll found support for the declared candidates as follows:

  • Michael D Higgins 32% (Lab)
  • David Norris 19% (Ind)
  • Mary Davis 18% (Ind)
  • Gay Mitchell 17% (FG)
  • Sean Gallagher 14% (Ind)

While this poll was taken before Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein entered the race, it is still interesting.

Sean Gallagher is starting to lag behind the other candidates in the poll while Mary Davis is starting to pick up speed and has jumped ahead of Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell who’s campaign does not seem to be gaining traction despite the support for Fine Gael being 40% in the polls.

David Norris’s support level is quite surprising, while at least he is second he is a good 13% behind Labour’s Micheal D Higgins who is managing to retain the top spot.

The entry of Martin McGuinness could change this balance. But with the possiblity of Norris and Labhrás O Muchú of Fianna Fail being added to the field, it wont be until Friday and the close of nominations that we have any idea what will happen. Then the polls will get very interesting.

PollWatch: RED C/Paddy Power #aras11

The president of Ireland's residence in the Ph...
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So with the campaigning underway and nominations coming in, Paddy Power has commissioned RED C to undertake an opinion poll for the Presidential Election.

The results are interesting and changes are from the last RED C Poll in August.

  • Micheal D Higgins (Lab) 36% (-3)
  • Gay Mitchell (FG) 24% (-1)
  • Sean Gallagher (Ind) 21% (nc)
  • Mary Davies (Ind) 19% (+4)

The only candidate to rise in the poll is Mary Davies, which may show some momentum in the campaign as her profile rises. The drop in the support of the two party candidates will be a surprise to the teams, but may also serve to light the fire under them to get them working harder.

The other key finding of the poll in 33% of votes are undecided on who they will support. They are predominately young voters under 35.

While Sinn Fein have yet to announce a candidate, they possible will this weekend, this is the first poll with the four candidates and no “fantasy” candidate.

As the polls come in, during the campaign, I will again be doing a poll of polls. This is will be the initial poll.

Meanwhile in the betting stakes, also from Paddy Power, the odds are:

  • 8/13 Michael D.Higgins (from 4/7)
  • 3/1 Gay Mitchell
  • 13/2 Mary Davis
  • 8/1 Sean Gallagher (from 9/1)
  • 28/1 Mary Lou McDonald
  • 28/1 Martin McGuinness
  • 28/1 Michelle Gildernew

Its getting interesting.

Race for the Aras Gets Under-way

Presidential flag of Ireland.
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This week has the campaign for the Irish Presidency has got properly under-way. Official nominations have begun to passed by nominating Local Authorities. So far five local authorities have used there constitutional right to nominate a candidate.

Sean Gallagher is the closest independent candidate to gaining a full nomination having received the backing of three councils. Meath County Council, Leitrim County Council have nominated him, while Cork City Council will officially nominate him at a meeting next week following a special meeting last night. Mr Gallagher has also the received motions of support from four other councils including, Longford County Council, Donegal County Council, Roscommon County Council and Clare County Council.

Mary Davis has is halfway to the nomination. So far she has received nominations from two councils, Galway County Council and Sligo Council. She also has the support of six other councils. They include Louth County Council, Monaghan County Council, Mayo County Council, Limerick County Council, Kerry County Council and North Tipperary County Council.

In regards to the Party Candidates Labour’s Micheal D Higgins has begun to gather his 20 signatures at the Labour Party think in. Both Ciara Conway and Aodhan O’Riordain have tweeted about signing Micheal D’s nomination papers.

Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell seems to be continuing his campaign and as far as I can tell has no signatures signed yet, but he does have until the 28th of September and with the Fine Gael thinking starting today, he will begin to gather them.

A campaign to get David Norris to re-enter the campaign for the Aras is still going, they have a petition going and will be on the streets of Cork, Dublin, Limerick and Galway gathering signatures.

It is doubtful that David Norris will get the nomination as I cannot see 20 oireachtas members or four councils backing him in the time left.

One other thing to note will be the absence of a Fianna Fail Candidate on the ballot. This will be the first Presidential Election in which Fianna Fail will not contest. Whether this is a good idea or not only time will tell, but it certainly wont help them to win back votes and certainly seems to be a money saving idea.

 

The Race for the Aras

Presidential flag of Ireland.
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This year sees one of the most hotly contested Presidential elections in years. With candidates declaring from all parties and none, it will be interesting to see who actually makes it on to the ballot paper. It is notoriously difficult to get a nomination as Dana found out in 2004 when she attempted to run against the current President Mary McAleese. To be nominated candidates need 20 Oireachtas members to nominate them or 4 city or county councils.

The Party Candidates:

Fine Gael and Labour have a number of candidates who have expressed interest in being their parties candidate in the Presidential election. Within Fianna Fail no one has expressed an interest yet and Sinn Fein have abandoned their plans have holding the presidency during the 1916 centenary.

For Fine Gael, Mairead McGuinness MEP is the only declared candidate while Sean Kelly MEP is widely known to have an interest in a run. With the withdrawal of John Bruton, my money would be on McGuinness being the Fine Gael candidate. This year Fine Gael will use an electoral college system to select their candidate with votes being distributed between the Parliamentary Party, Local Councillors and the Party Executive. Only those who turn up on the day of the Electoral College will have a vote, so location could play a major factor. Pat Cox has also been linked with a possible backing from Fine Gael, but I can’t see him getting widespread backing,

For Labour 3 names have emerged in the fight for their nomination. Former TD Michael D Higgins, former Chef De Cabinet and current Barnardos Chief Fergus Finlay and Former Senator Kathleen O’Meara. Michael D would traditionally have been the favourite among the Parliamentary Party but with the expanded party and many of Micheal D’s supporters having stood down at the last election, he may find it difficult. Kathleen O’Meara is a name that isnt well known, so I have doubts that Labour would pick her as their candidate. As childrens rights is major issue at the moment, and a referendum on it coming up, Fergus Finlay is in a prime poistion to get the nomination.

For Fianna Fail no one has official announced for the election. Current Ireland South MEP Brian Crowley has in the past been linked with the Presidency and he himself has said he is interested. A name mentioned in the past has also been Bertie Ahern, but I think that has been discounted as an idea for now. A number of Independents have also been linked to possible Fianna Fail backing, with maybe a number of Fianna Fail TD’s nominating along with Independent Oireachtas members to show they arent a Fianna Fail candidate.

The Independents

A number of independents have declared their interest in running. Senator David Norris of course is the most widely known candidate and has the backing of one council so far (As nominations aren’t open he hasn’t been nominated). He has also ran into a bit of trouble in relation to an interview he did back in 2002 for Magill has now emerged and could cause him damage.

Mary Davies the Special Olympics Organiser and Managing Director for EurAsia has also declared hher interest in running. She would be quite well known from her current role and could do well if she can get a nomination. She has been linked with a Fianna Fail in the past in realtion to being their candidate, but has decided to go the Independent root.

Sean Gallagher from Dragon’s Den has also decarled his interest in running for the Aras. Having been linked to Fianna Fail in the past and been mooted as a possible candidate in Louth. I think he has realised that running as a candidate with Fianna Fail backing would be a death knell at this point.

Pat Cox, who hasn’t offically announced, is sending out feelers to the possibility of a run. He has been linked with possible FG backing. He is a former PD/Independent MEP and is a former President of the European Parliament. He ran the Ireland for Europe Campaign during Lisbon II along with Brigid Laffin and recently advised Fine Gael in the run up to the election.

Who ever gets the nominations this will be a very interesting race. Candidates vary in their ability and their appeal, so I think we can expect a very interesting few weeks in October/November.

Some Contributions from the Third Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill

The Dáil resumed its Debate on the second reading of the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008. Some selected contributions.

Deputy John Perry (Fine Gael):

In resuming the debate on Second Stage of the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008 I reiterate my support for the provisions in the Lisbon reform treaty aimed at reinforcing the national parliamentary dimension in the European Union. In recognition of the growing importance of EU legislation and the need to hold the Government accountable for the negotiation of this legislation, the Oireachtas established the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny, the central task of which is to act as a watchdog, scrutinising all proposed EU legislation which, on average, amounts to more than 500 documents annually. It can decide to scrutinise in depth proposed EU legislation which it believes holds significant implications for Ireland.

The need to bring citizens closer to the decision making process has also been recognised by the European Commission which decided in 2006 to send all proposed EU legislation directly to the national parliaments at the same time as it is sent to governments and the European Parliament. The intention is to invite comments from national parliaments on proposals for EU legislation. The joint committee, through its scrutiny process, can prepare opinions on draft EU legislation. It, therefore, seeks to play its part in bridging the perceived divide between the citizen and their capacity to influence the EU decision-making process.

The work of the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny comes at a critical time as the country prepares to vote in a referendum to decide on the ratification of the Lisbon reform treaty. It is important to demonstrate efforts are being made both at national and EU level to listen to the citizens and respond to their concerns regarding the perceived lack of democratic accountability within the EU.

Any single national parliament will have the power to veto EU legislation in the field of family law. There is also a further safeguard whereby those national parliaments which submitted a negative opinion are free to bring an action against the Commission to the European Court of Justice on the grounds of an infringement of the subsidiarity principle. National parliaments would be represented by their governments in such proceedings.

An Taoiseach, Deputy Bertie Ahern (Fianna Fail):

We have the privilege of living in one of the most peaceful and prosperous regions of the world. It was not always that way and there is nothing written in stone saying it will always be. We have to work continuously to maintain and improve what we have and nobody with any sense believes we could have achieved what we have for our region by acting as individual member states. It would be foolish to believe we can sustain our shared success by pursuing it individually.

It is true this treaty does not contain a big ticket issue as others before it did. There is no Single European Act, no single currency to be launched on this occasion. Nor, in its structure, is it a thing of beauty. However, its focus on improving the functioning of the Union, rather than altering radically its area of competence, represents a level of maturity within a Union of 50 years standing. What we are doing now in Europe is getting our house in order; we are tending our tree.

In this regard, I see taxation features in the newspapers again today. Let me once again spell out the position: the treaty will change absolutely nothing here and decisions on taxation will continue to require the unanimous approval of all member states. Nothing could be clearer

When I signed the treaty on behalf of Ireland, I did so knowing that, as with the earlier constitutional treaty, we had achieved all our key goals during the negotiations. No country gets everything it wants in negotiations of this nature but we are extremely satisfied with a treaty which enables Europe to function much more effectively and efficiently and which does not adversely affect any of Ireland’s key interests.

Deputy Dan Neville (Fine Gael):

Ten or perhaps 20 years ago there were those who began to comment that there was a need to communicate with the people on what happened in the European Union and the benefits of membership thereof. Both the national parliament and the political system in general have failed to communicate this message to the public. However, some of the blame for this failure must be placed on the Union and its systems. In the next two months we will have an opportunity to debate the various issues involved. We have a duty to inform the people with regard to that in respect of which they are being asked to vote. We must ensure the treaty is passed in order to bring about a more effective and efficient Union and to allow it to develop in order that it might benefit all its citizens. We have had various communications with regard to criticisms of the treaty and the campaign to defeat it. Although we fully accept the right of people to campaign and express their views on the matter, some have introduced red herrings into the debate, which often cause confusion. I also experienced this in debates in Maastricht treaty referendum. I want to deal with some of these red herrings on which we have received information. Oireachtas Members have received documentation from several groups and individuals on the reasons we should vote “No”.

The treaty will not create a super-state, as has been claimed. It safeguards the sovereignty of Ireland and other EU countries. The “No” campaigners claim that the treaty is a grab for power by Brussels at the expense of the individual member states, including Ireland. In fact, the opposite is the case. The treaty sets out for the first time the European Union’s exact responsibilities and its limits in these areas. It outlines the parameters of the Union’s influence and decision making powers. There will be a clear division of powers in decision making and the influence of the Union over its members.

The previously rejected extension of the EU constitution has been discussed. We are told that the Lisbon treaty is the European constitution in another name and that a con-job is being perpetrated on the people by calling it the Lisbon treaty rather than the European constitution. The treaty is similar to the European constitution, but the elements that made that document a constitution rather than a treaty, including elements with which certain member states were uncomfortable, such as giving status to the EU flag, have been removed. We should vote on the substantive issues, not on the basis of words such as “treaty” and “constitution”. The European Union as a project is unprecedented and labels such as these do not do justice to the unique institutional arrangements put in place by the current 27 countries.

As other countries are not holding a referendum, it has been suggested we should use the opportunity to vote “No” to give these other countries a chance to have their say. That is one of the theories being peddled. We have our own Constitution that dictates that we must hold a referendum. No other European country has dictated to us that we should not hold a referendum or told us how to manage our affairs; therefore, why should we tell other sovereign nations how they should go about ratifying a treaty, whether it be an EU treaty or any other international treaty? How other countries decide whether they should sign up for the treaty cannot be dictated by Brussels or any other member state, including Ireland. This is basic international law and also common sense. It would be a dangerous precedent for us to try to dictate to other countries by insisting that they hold referendums. In fact, referendums are unconstitutional in some EU countries such as Germany where they were banned after being abused by Hitler in the 1930s.

We have seen posters of Deputy Creighton throughout the city implying that the treaty will force Ireland to join a European army, but this is absolutely not the case. The new arrangements for co-operation in the areas of security and defence fully respect the neutral position of Ireland and other member states. Ireland will not be subject to a mutual defence clause. European military activity is directed at peacekeeping and crisis intervention. Participation is the option of each member state and not obligatory. Since the 1950s we have been lauded throughout the world for our work with the United Nations. While we have and will continue to participate in peacekeeping missions, it will be on a case by case basis, subject to the triple lock principle, requiring the support of the Government, the Oireachtas and a United Nations mandate. Without these three criteria, the Army will not participate in any peacekeeping or crisis intervention duties.

The “No” campaigners have been forecasting the end of Irish neutrality for 36 years but they have always been wrong and still are on this occasion. There is a view that we should vote “No” to punish the Government’s poor level of performance. We agree that the Government has not performed well but we disagree with using a “No” vote to punish it in this respect. We are extremely concerned by the performance of the health service, about our inadequate education system, the mismanagement of the economy and crime. Coming from Limerick, I am very concerned about that issue, as are people from the mid-west and elsewhere. However, the people must not use these matters as excuses to vote “No” and punish the Government. That chance will come at the local and European elections next year. At that time they will be able to judge the Government’s policies, but to do so now would damage the country’s future role and influence in Europe. It would be the wrong thing to do. I will campaign actively in my area to ensure a “Yes” vote. We are having the first public meeting on this matter in Adare, in my constituency, on 21 April. The leader of Fine Gael, Deputy Kenny, will address the meeting.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform Deputy Conor Lenihan (Finna Fail):

This referendum is ample testament to the courage and dignity of the Taoiseach in his leadership of the country and Fianna Fáil. It is a benchmark of the singular importance of the referendum that he chose to put aside his own position and sacrifice himself politically in order that the referendum might be passed and that our national interests would be correctly served by a “Yes” vote. It is also a testament to the importance of the referendum and the treaty that the “Yes” vote for which I am calling is being echoed by the three major parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party. These three major parties command the hearts, minds and loyalties of the people when they go to the ballot box. It is important to note that these three major parties, which the electorate supported demonstrably in the recent election, are behind the treaty

The treaty will provide a voting system and administrative arrangements that will enhance the decision making process. Simultaneously, it carries the necessary changes and adaptations that will allow for democratic accountability, which is important.

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Deputy Michael Ahern (Fianna Fail):

Europe, including Ireland, cannot stand still, nor can we act alone. The world is becoming ever more interconnected and we need to exploit that interconnectedness to address new and emerging challenges, including globalisation, demographic shifts, climate change, the need for new sustainable energy sources and labour mobility. These are the issues facing Europe in the 21st century. Borders are meaningless in the face of such challenges and EU member states cannot meet them alone but, acting together, Europe can deliver results and respond to the concerns of its people.

Across Europe there is a consensus on the need to create a market for innovation and innovative ideas. The challenge for Europe is that competition for human resources in science and technology is now global. Europe is in direct competition with other major trading blocs for the best research resources. Researchers, for example, are moving more rapidly. We need to find ways to address these challenges.

Ireland supports openness and free trade. Our whole approach to globalisation is clearly linked to the improving competitiveness of the EU. This momentum must be maintained. The unambiguous connection between embracing globalisation and competitiveness, through national and EU programmes, must be maintained. The Lisbon reform treaty will provide the necessary cohesion to improve and drive our competitiveness.

The EU has played a critical role in the formation of our successful and vibrant economy. Yet, the benefits of EU membership go far beyond financial transfers. Almost no aspect of our public life has been untouched. The European Union has contributed to the modernisation of the Irish economy and society and the Union, under the Lisbon reform treaty, will continue to be a modernising influence in our move towards a knowledge economy.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins (Labour):

A “Yes” vote makes it possible for us to change the direction of Europe and defeat the Mandelson reductionist position and replace it with something that comes from the European tradition – a respect for intellectual life, values based on genuine humanity, respect for discourse, respect for diversity, respect for different models and hundreds of years of economic theory from Adam Smith through Marshall to Keynes that realised that the entire purpose of economic proposals was to serve a moral and social purpose. If we are living what I am saying, the case for a “Yes” vote need not be made in the context of illiteracy. It can be made from a standpoint of principle by social democrats and socialists who are anxious to develop a Europe that many future generations will respect as one that gave them a better prospect of intergenerational justice.

The Debate resumes later today.
—–
Source:
Parliamentary Debates (Offical Report) Dáil Debate Vol. 651 No. 2, Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Previous Posts:
Some Contributions from the Second Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill
Some Contributions from the First Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill