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Irish 'No' vote architect plans Europe-wide 'referendum' on Lisbon Treaty

 
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07/21/2008 12:40 AM
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Irish 'No' vote architect plans Europe-wide 'referendum' on Lisbon Treaty
Irish 'No' vote architect plans Europe-wide 'referendum' on Lisbon Treaty
by Tim Shipman in Washington
Last Updated: 12:08AM BST 20/07/2008
The man who delivered an historic "No" vote in Ireland against the EU's Lisbon Treaty has revealed far-reaching plans to give voters throughout Europe a peoples' referendum on the handover of power to Brussels.


Declan Ganley is planning to field more than 400 candidates in next June's European Parliament elections, in the 26 countries – including Britain – where voters have had no direct say on the treaty.

The energy and rhetoric of Mr Ganley, a multimillionaire businessman, was widely credited with persuading the Irish to reject the treaty, even though every leading Irish political party apart from Sinn Fein was urging voters to say "Yes".

Now he wants to give British voters a chance to deliver a bloody nose to both the Brussels establishment and to Gordon Brown, whose party first promised and then refused a referendum in Britain.


In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Ganley disclosed that he was starting to raise £75 million from online donations to run candidates in all 12 of Britain's European Parliament constituencies, and in seats throughout the EU.

He will turn his pressure group, Libertas, into a party with just one policy: to fight the Lisbon Treaty, which many see as the rejected European Constitution by the back door.

"We will tell people that Libertas is the box you put your X in if you want to vote 'No' to the Lisbon Treaty. It's clear, it's simple," he said.

"The message will be: we are now giving you a referendum and it's going to take place in June of next year at the European elections.

"People across Europe will have the chance to send the same resounding clear message that Brussels cannot continue with this treaty that the Irish people have rejected. For this to provide a meaningful opportunity for this to be a referendum, you'd have to run at least 400 candidates across Europe."

Mr Ganley spoke as the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, prepared for a visit to Ireland to assess the fall-out from June's rejection vote. The French leader, who will arrive in Dublin tomorrow, is a key supporter of the treaty and has already infuriated Irish euro-sceptics by suggesting that they "will have to vote again". Yesterday Mr Sarkozy said he would listen to Irish objections to the treaty, but added that the views of the 23 countries that had adopted the treaty already could not be overlooked.

Mr Ganley has previously flirted with the idea of expanding his campaign. But he has never before disclosed his ambition to run so many candidates in what could in effect be a Europe-wide "people's referendum" on the treaty.

He accused Mr Brown of ratifying the document without the referendum Labour once indicated it would offer: "It's not just undemocratic, it's anti-democratic," he said.

"It's an absolute disgrace that the British Government offered a referendum and then took it away. Power belongs to all the citizens of the UK and you loan that power on the condition that it is used wisely. You don't lend it to politicians to give away to someone who never has to ask you for a vote. That is what Gordon Brown has just done in just ratifying this treaty."

His plans will unsettle the Brussels establishment, which was at first dismissive of his efforts and then humiliated by his success in Ireland.

Mr Ganley, 39, made his fortune in the telecoms industry, but now runs Rivada Networks, a defence contractor with offices in Ireland and America, which supplies emergency response equipment to the military. A devout Catholic and teetotaller, who is said to work 18-hour days, he was born in London to Irish parents, but has returned to his family's roots in Co Galway, where he now lives in the former home of the folk singer Donovan with his American-born wife Delia and four children.

Mr Ganley said that campaigning on a single issue would enable voters to deliver "a clear, unequivocal message" that Europe's elites would not be able to misinterpret. In the past, EU leaders have claimed that "No" votes on the constitution in France and the Netherlands were the consequence of domestic political issues.

Mr Ganley hopes to win more than 80 seats in Strasbourg, creating a Europe-wide voting bloc which would have a strong mandate to block passage of the treaty. "There's no national party that can provide that sort of punching power in the European Parliament. The voters will have mandated candidates to go in and ensure that there will be no attempts to resuscitate the Lisbon Treaty."

Unlike many Tory eurosceptics, Mr Ganley says he supports the European Union but objects to the 287-page treaty document – which he says is far too long and complicated to be comprehensible.
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BriGuy

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07/21/2008 12:52 AM
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Re: Irish 'No' vote architect plans Europe-wide 'referendum' on Lisbon Treaty
excellent. see, why can't an American do this for our country?

Imagine, a government for the people, and by the people.

I know it's a stretch, but we could make it work...
fuck off
Queen

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07/21/2008 01:07 AM
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Re: Irish 'No' vote architect plans Europe-wide 'referendum' on Lisbon Treaty
bump
It is time to awaken to your real purpose. It is all up to you.
BriGuy

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07/21/2008 01:20 AM
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Re: Irish 'No' vote architect plans Europe-wide 'referendum' on Lisbon Treaty
This must be one of those "silent nod" threads.
fuck off