Thursday 15 November 2018

Anti-treaty group denies getting funding through US military linksHead of anti-Lisbon Treaty campaign group Libertas, Declan Ganley denies any CIA link to the source of his €1.3m funding.

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

'NO' campaign group, Libertas, was last night challenged to clarify if it was getting its funding from "the CIA, the UK Independence Party or their friends in the US military".

The challenge came as Libertas became the latest 'No' campaign group to accept that the Lisbon Treaty won't affect this country's abortion laws.

The anti-treaty group, headed by businessman Declan Ganley, was last night targeted by Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell, who queried the €1.3m he said Libertas was spending on its Lisbon campaign.

"Are they getting it from the CIA, the UK Independence Party or their friends in the US military? I don't believe they are getting it from €100 donations," he said.

Accusation

Libertas simply denied the accusation and said it had no further comment to make.

Mr Ganley's company, Rivada, does supply a section of the US military, but he said yesterday that this had nothing to do with his views on Lisbon.

"My work is in the public safety sector and with those involved in disaster recovery and public safety and nothing else.

"The branch of the green suits in the military that we work with are the National Guard, who respond to hurricanes, disasters, earthquakes, that kind of thing," he said.

Attacking Fine Gael and Labour, Mr Ganley said that their MEPs had voted in the European Parliament in favour of EU moves that would see tax rates harmonised.

Tactic

The exact same tactic was adopted by Mr Cowen during the general election campaign last year, when he accused the opposition parties of undermining Ireland's position on corporation tax.

Libertas is highlighting Fine Gael and Labour's vote three years ago on a European Parliament report, part of which called for some single tax rates across the EU.

Although the Lisbon Treaty ensures the Government still retains a veto on tax matters at EU level, Mr Ganley claims the "enhanced co-operation" elements will mean a consolidated tax base could be introduced by the back door.

"There is no reason to believe anything that Fine Gael or Labour say on matters of taxation, given that they have voted to criticise Ireland in the EU parliament for wanting to retain our tax independence," he said.

Labour's Ruairi Quinn firmly rejected Mr Ganley's claims, accusing him of "misleading" the public and of "selectively quoting" from the Parliament report.

"We have a veto in relation to direct taxation," he said.

"Libertas are scraping the bottom of the barrel to try to scare people," he added.

Meanwhile, Libertas spokesperson Caroline Simons said the Treaty would not give the European Union influence over abortion laws in this country.

"In relation to the abortion issue, there is, as you know, since the Maastricht Treaty, a protocol reserving to Ireland the full rights to interpret Article 40.3.3 and keeping that outside the ambit and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice," she said.

But she said in relation to other aspects, such as reproductive medicine, the European Court of Justice "may very well become involved".

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News