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Sunday 21 January 2018

Ireland must not be bullied over vote, says McCreevy

The Irish delegation members take their place at the meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg yesterday
The Irish delegation members take their place at the meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg yesterday

Michael Brennan Political Correspondent

IRELAND cannot be "bullied" by the EU after its rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy warned yesterday.

Although he said it was possible that 'new arrangements' could be made between the Government and EU leaders on the way forward, he said the "sovereign decision" of the Irish people had to be respected. His forthright stance will come as a relief to his former cabinet colleague, Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who is due to discuss the implications of the vote with EU leaders on Thursday.

Mr McCreevy said the turnout for the referendum had been very high; the people had spoken; and the treaty as planned could not go ahead.

"It'd be absolutely an outrage that in an international agreement, in which it was clearly understood that everyone must ratify per their procedures, that any member state would be so bullied. That will not happen. The EU is not about that," he said. He hinted that new arrangements or changes to the governance of the EU could be made, but it was too early to do so yet until a "listening process" took place.


"So it's a matter in the coming months for cool heads and I would just like to point out the EU is going to continue today the same as it continued last Thursday before the Irish people voted," he said.

Mr McCreevy (59) said the decision to hold a second referendum was a question for the Irish Government.

But he pointed out that Taoiseach Brian Cowen would be treated with the "utmost respect" in Brussels and that the treaty's predecessor, the European constitution, had been rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005.

"I somehow suspect that if many other member states of the EU had to put it before their people, the result would be the same," he told Today FM news.

However, Mr McCreevy defended his assertion during the campaign that no "sane or sensible person" would read the Lisbon Treaty -- which was credited as one of the reasons for the 'No' vote. He said this was a " red herring" because he had been referring to the treaty itself and not the reasonably easy to read consolidated version.

"The treaty as such, the real document, refers to sub paragraphs of former sub paragraphs in other documents, and no person this side of Timbuktu would be in a position to understand it," he said.,"

Mr McCreevy was in Dublin to launch a new regulatory regime for credit rating agencies so that future banking crises -- such as the massive sub-prime debts -- can be identified before it is too late.

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