Government must publish Attorney General's advice on Treaty

Workers Party call on government to publish Attorney General's advice on referendum

The Workers Party has called on the Taoiseach to immediately publish the Attorney General's advice on the need to hold a referendum on the EU Fiscal Treaty.

Workers Party spokesman Padraig Mannion said that the clear responsibility for the findings in the Behaviour & Attitudes poll in last weekend’s Sunday Times showing that a large number of people still don’t know what the Fiscal Treaty is about lies with the government. Now, rather than bombarding the people with government spin and filling studios and newsrooms with government ministers, the government should ensure that the Referendum Commission has the proper funds, and is free from political interference, to allow it to inform the people what exactly the treaty is really about, not the government’s interpretation of what it is about.

Mr. Mannion said that central to the production of a fully informed and unbiased information programme by the Referendum Commission it was essential that the government should publish the Attorney General’s advice on why a referendum was constitutionally necessary.

“Despite calls from a wide range of organisations and parties, including the Workers’ Party, the government was dead set against holding a referendum and the EU establishment was appalled at the idea that the Irish people would be given a vote on the treaty.  The Attorney General’s advice to the government, which set this referendum in train, obviously indicated that there is something in the treaty which could potentially be repugnant to the Irish Constitution.  In the interests of democracy, clarity, and fairness the government must publish the Attorney General’s full advice on the proposed Amendment to the Constitution”.

Mr. Mannion said that if the government, during both the Nice and Lisbon Treaty referendums, had deliberately failed to inform the public of the facts, and had made it difficult for citizens to get accurate and factual information. “We once again see that the government’s budget of €4.2 million for yes-vote propaganda will greatly outstrip the budget and resources of the Referendum Commission. If the government fails to empower the Referendum Commission to explain accurately and clearly what the Fiscal Treaty means, and what implications it has for this country, then the people can draw their own conclusions when they vote on the Treaty on May 31st

“The government, as they did in the re-runs of both the Nice and Lisbon referendums are trying to succeed by peddling ignorance and fear. Once again we will say very clearly to the people of this country - if in doubt, throw it out. We have no doubt that on May 31st that is exactly what the citizens of this state will do".

The Workers Party is campaigning for a No vote to the Fiscal Treaty.

Issued 23rd April 2012


Note: this press release was issued today (April 23rd) before news of the Referendum Commission's report on the conduct of the Judge's Pay Referendum. The Referendum Commission makes some interesting recommendations which mirror the concerns expressed by the Workers' Party.
Read the Referendum Commission Report here

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