Tuesday 20 August 2019

McKenna threatens court action over 'partisan' booklet

Aine Kerr Political Correspondent

ANTI-LISBON Treaty campaigner Patricia McKenna is considering a legal challenge against the independent referendum watchdog.

But last night the former Green Party MEP refused to reveal the identity of the lawyers who told her the Referendum Commission's information campaign on the referendum is promoting a 'Yes' vote.

The People's Movement chairwoman claimed an information booklet on the Lisbon Treaty from the body is "evasive", "inaccurate" and "misleading" and must be changed or withdrawn immediately.

The Commission is chaired by High Court judge Frank Clarke, backed up by the clerk of the Dail, clerk of the Seanad, Ombudsman, and Comptroller and Auditor General.

According to Ms McKenna, the booklet entitled "The Lisbon Treaty -- Your Guide", which has been distributed to households countrywide, is designed to achieve a 'Yes' vote.

"This document which the voters believe to be balanced and non-partisan is one of the most disturbing aspects of the campaign to date," she said.

She said her legal advisers are experts on Irish constitutional law and are agreed on the need to withdraw the booklet.

Ms McKenna, who resigned from the Green Party earlier this year, said it fails to point out that Ireland's vote in the Council of Ministers decreases by over 50pc.

The booklet also fails to mention the loss of the veto, which means moving to majority voting in a whole range of new policy areas.

"These two changes are of crucial importance but the Referendum Commission has basically ignored them," Ms McKenna said last night.

Rejecting the accusations, a spokeswoman for the Commission said: "The information in the booklet is accurate and unbiased as required by law."

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