Aine Kerr Political Correspondent
LIBERTAS chief Declan Ganley outmanoeuvred all the political parties on the Lisbon Treaty campaign and won the argument, European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has claimed.
In a veiled criticism of the tactics and performance of Fianna Fail and other pro-treaty parties, Mr McCreevy said the Libertas founder had been listened to more than anybody else and was "singularly successful" in getting people to vote 'No'.
"We live in a democracy. Mr Ganley decided that he was going to front a campaign to get the Irish people to vote 'No'. He was singularly successful in that against the might of all the political parties in Ireland," Mr McCreevy said in an interview with 'Hot Press' magazine to be published today.
"Against the might of practically all the established media and all of the representative politicians in Leinster House, bar a few. He won the argument because the Irish people listened to him more than anybody else."
The former finance minister also argued that if the only answer to the Lisbon Treaty was 'Yes', then there was "no point in putting the question to any of the other 26 countries.
Amid suggestions that Ireland could be "isolated" following rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in June, Mr McCreevy said there was no provision in the existing treaties to isolate any country.
"There is no provision to throw out anybody, unless unanimously all the existing members of the club agreed to throw you out. And I doubt now, or in the future, any Irish Government is going to unanimously agree to throw themselves out," he said.
The referendum turnout also suggested that a "considerable segment" of the 53pc who voted were those who failed to vote in last year's general election, the European Commissioner said.
"So, therefore, people did take the issue very seriously. So, that has to be respected," he said.
Despite criticism of his claim that people would be "insane" to read the treaty document, Mr McCreevy said he had no regrets about his comments.