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06 / 06 / 2008 - CÓIR ARE ANSWERING BISHOPS` CALL FOR VOTERS TO BE INFORMED ON LISBON TREATY
Campaigners for a NO vote in the Lisbon Treaty have welcomed the statement by the Catholic Bishops which called on voters to inform themselves casting their votes on June 12th.
"People need real information on this treaty," said Richard Greene of Cóir. "That's been the main function of Cóir; providing factual information on the Treaty for the past five months, the length and breath of the country."
Mr Greene also welcomed the Bishops' call for honesty in the debate on the Treaty and their condemnation of those who 'offered misleading or incorrect advice' during the referendum campaign.
He said that the 'Yes' side, particularly the government, were trying to scare people into supporting the Lisbon Treaty by exaggerated portrayals of a loss of standing and good will in the EU if the Irish people voted 'No'. He added that they were misleading voters by muddying the waters on social issues that will be affected by the constitutional element of the Treaty.
In their Pastoral Reflection, "Fostering a Community of Values", the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ireland encourage people to vote after studying and reflect prayerfully on the contents of the Treaty.
The bishop's statement recognised 'pressure form powerful interest groups in Ireland and in other parts of the EU to influence the outcome' of the vote, and 'condemned unreservedly' those 'offering misleading or even patently incorrect advice' to the public. They asked that the 'right of the people to exercise their franchise freely be respected'.
Mr. Greene also said: "Fianna Fáil have been particularly vocal in misrepresenting Cóir's statements on social issues like abortion, prostitution, euthanasia, and drugs, and have influenced their European partners with their misrepresentations. We have said, and our position is legally correct, that the European Court of Justice will be given the competency to judge on the matters after Lisbon. Until they establish a history of case law on the European Fundamental Charter of Human rights, nobody knows how this charter will be interpreted, but we do know it will super-cede the Irish Constitution. I call on the government to acknowledge that and to apologise to Cóir for their attack on our position.'
When asked what he meant by 'their European partners', Mr. Greene said he was referring to a story written by Michael Kelly in the Irish Catholic where an unnamed figure in the church purportedly criticised NO campaigners and accused them of telling lies. Mr Kelly admitted to the Irish Family Press that the source, who he said he could not name, was a member of the Irish Hierarchy but was part of a group based in Brussels.
It is not known whether the "source" was correctly informed as to Cóir's position or fed a distortion from a politically-motivated informer.
Meanwhile Cóir has warmly welcomed statements by two leading economists, Professor Ray Kinsella and Colm Rapple, who say that a NO vote is needed to protect Ireland's economic future.
See also: www.LisbonVote.com
Source : Irish Family Press