Socialist Worker

Lisbon treaty passed in Ireland but resistance must continue

by Chris Bambery
Issue No. 2172

The 67 percent vote in the Irish Republic to ratify the European Union’s Lisbon treaty represented a major victory for the country’s corporate and political elite.

Big business and the establishment parties united in the yes campaign. They went all out to bully the population into voting yes after they had had the audacity to vote no in the previous referendum in 2008.

They were urged on by their counterparts across Europe who wished to see the last remaining obstacle to their model of a neoliberal and militarised EU removed.

The Irish employers’ organisation mobilised vast sums to fund the yes campaign.

But even this mighty effort could not guarantee the “correct result”. That relied on the Labour Party and most of the trade union leaders.

They falsely claimed the treaty gave workers improved rights, when instead Article 28 gives as much of a right to employers to use lock-out tactics as it does to workers to strike.

Even so, the country’s biggest unions and union federation backed a yes vote without consulting their members.

But one third of voters still voted no and feel none of the establishment parties speak for them.

This comes as the ruling Fianna Fail/Green Party government is spearheading attacks on services, living standards, pensions and more. Ireland’s rulers have won a key battle – but they have not won that war.

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Tue 6 Oct 2009, 18:30 BST
Issue No. 2172
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