The Government is doing a very good job in recruiting allies to its strategy in the run up to Lisbon II.
The Oireachtas sub committee on European Affairs published its report on how to get around the democratic will of the people as expressed in Lisbon I.
Ireland could be “severely damaged” if things remain as they are and the country could suffer serious economic consequences in a two tier Europe the committee reported.
RTE also enthusiastically joined the Government’s campaign by doing a hatchet job on Libertas leader Declan Ganley. Ganley is seen by the Government as the greatest obstacle in its strategy to reverse the democratic will of the people.
The Standards in Public Office Commission, an organisation that’s usually as quiet as a mouse, has come out with all guns blazing in an effort to force Libertas to reveal the source of its funds.
Libertas has been issued with a formal warning and given one week to respond or face the consequences. To my knowledge this is the first time Sipo has actually issued a warning, formal or otherwise – to anybody.
The stark contrast between its strong attack on Libertas and its complete failure to challenge the secret funding of political parties suggests that this so called independent body is nothing more than a government pawn.
The McKenna and Coughlan judgements are also under attack. The McKenna judgement forbids government from using public funds to influence the outcome of a referendum. The Coughlan judgement ruled that both sides of a referendum should be given equality in terms of broadcasting.
Dr. Barrett, UCD School of Law said that the McKenna judgement “crippled the Government’s right to persuade the public of its cause and led to the emergence of groups such as Libertas.” The Coughlan judgement, according to Dr. Barrett “had the effect of neutralizing the role of political leaders.”
Clearly Dr. Barrett is deeply concerned by the problems an open democracy can cause to government wishes.
Fine Gael TD Jim O’Keeffe’s suggestion that the policy of giving equal airtime to both sides in a referendum debate “could result in a group such as a paedophile association being given 50 per cent coverage” is an indication of how obnoxiously low the Yes side are prepared to sink.