Irish Times

THE GOVERNMENT will not opt out completely from European security and defence policy (ESDP) in response to last year’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, according to Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin.

“No that is not being considered. That was never considered,” Mr Martin told journalists yesterday when asked if the Government was planning a Danish-style opt-out from ESDP. But he said there was no final decision yet on whether Ireland would withdraw from the European Defence Agency,

Mr Martin said a draft text outlining guarantees on neutrality had now been written in co-operation with the legal service of the council of ministers. The Government is also finalising specific guarantees on taxation and social/ethical issues in advance of a second referendum on Lisbon. It hopes to insert the guarantees into the European treaties via Croatia’s EU accession treaty to make them legally binding.

Mr Martin, speaking at an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, said no final decision had yet been taken on the timing of any second referendum. He said a lot of work had to be achieved before the Lisbon Treaty could be put to the people.

Other domestic responses under consideration by Government include adding a clause to the Constitution specifically outlawing conscription, an issue that caused concern for some voters in last June’s referendum on Lisbon. It is also considering national legislation to boost the rights of workers to meet trade union concerns. Mr Martin said the Department of Foreign affairs had set up a new unit to counter misinformation about Ireland’s economic situation. He said the unit would act to protect the country’s reputation by contacting embassies and media to correct misinformation.

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The Croatian accession treaty is the legal piece of text that will allow Croatia into the EU if that ever comes about. It is expected to be in the next few years. The guarantees used as an excuse for a second referendum are promises of the current governing party to negotiate legally binding text in a treaty that does not exist sometime in the future if they are still in power, they “hope”. Adding amendments to the Irish Constitution to protect the Irish people from new EU laws created under the Lisbon Treaty is also a con, it would require a referendum in it’s self and would be made irrelevant due to the 10th amendment of the Irish Constitution. Article 29.10 of the Irish Constitution, below, says nothing in the Irish Constitution prevents any EU laws. The 10th amendment puts all EU laws above anything that may contradict it in the Irish Constitution, it invalidates the Irish Constitution in all areas the EU makes laws. None of these false guarantees will protect the Irish people or other non-Irish people (who don’t have a vote) from the implications of the new EU created by the Lisbon Treaty.

Irish Constitution, 29.10: “No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State which are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union or of the Communities, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the European Union or by the Communities or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the Treaties establishing the Communities, from having the force of law in the State.