Search

 

Cablegate: The "Yeas" Make Bumpy Progress in the Lisbon

VZCZCXRO7362
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHDL #0310/01 1511536
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301536Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY DUBLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9214
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUBLIN 000310

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/30/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL EI
SUBJECT: THE "YEAS" MAKE BUMPY PROGRESS IN THE LISBON
TREATY REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN

REF: DUBLIN 282

Classified By: DCM Robert J. Faucher; Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

-------
Summary
-------

1. (C) Political leaders and the political parties are
working hard to ensure a 'Yes' vote in the June 12 Lisbon
Treaty referendum and are making visible progress, though
their efforts could be undermined by a decision by either
SIPTU, one of Ireland's largest trade unions, or the farmers'
powerful IFA union to recommend a 'No' vote. With two weeks
to go, the 'Yes' supporters appear confident and well on
track, but nowhere near ready to declare victory. End
summary.

-----------------------------
In-Fighting Among the "Yeas?"
-----------------------------

2. (U) At the beginning of the week, Prime Minister
(Taoiseach) Brian Cowen challenged Fine Gael and Labour to
intensify their campaigns for a 'Yes' vote. Cowen said he
wanted to see the same level of support for the Treaty in
rival parties who have "the same vocation to the European
idea as (Fianna Fail)." Fine Gael reacted angrily to the
comments, referring to a cowardly strategy of blaming the
main Opposition party in the event of a referendum defeat.

3. (U) Cowen,s comments followed a poll on the Treaty by
the Sunday Business Post (reported on May 25), which showed
the 'Yes' vote at 41 percent, up three points, the 'No' vote
at 33, up five points, and the "don't knows" down eight
points at 26 percent. However, when broken down by party,
the poll showed that a large majority of Fianna Fail
supporters intend to vote 'Yes,' while Fine Gael voters are
almost evenly divided between the 'Yes' and 'No' sides. The
reason for the low level of support among Fine Gael voters is
said to be that many of them see the referendum as an
opportunity to embarrass the Government. Fine Gael has urged
its supporters to hold their political firepower until next
year's local and European elections.

4. (U) Cowen denied that his comments were aimed at Fine
Gael and said what he had been doing was giving words of
encouragement and mutual support to all the parties
campaigning for a 'Yes' vote. Political commentators have
come out strongly to say that it is in the interests of both
Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to tone down the inter-party
rhetoric if they wish to achieve their mutual objective of
passing the Lisbon Treaty. By the end of the week, the
headline article in The Irish Times proclaimed that Fianna
Fail and the opposition parties were uniting to push for a
'Yes' vote -- replete with a photo of Fianna Fail leader
Prime Minister Brian Cowen cozily taking tea with Labour
Party Leader Eamon Gilmore and a Fianna Fail Member of
Parliament during campaigning at a suburban Dublin shopping
center.

-----------------------------------
Ireland's "Vital National Interest"
-----------------------------------

5. (U) On May 22, Cowen said a 'Yes' vote in the Lisbon
Treaty referendum was in Ireland's "vital national interest."
In an address to the Forum on Europe in Dublin, Cowen said,
&I believe in a European Union that believes in Irelands,
future. I see the respect the EU shows to Ireland and other
smaller countries and how this has been core to the Treaty.8
Countering allegations made by Treaty opponents, Cowen said
taxation would remain subject to unanimity in the EU and that
Ireland would continue to have a veto. He also said defense
would remain a sovereign matter and that Ireland's neutrality
would be &rock solid8 under the Treaty. Fine Gael and
Labour leaders later echoed his views, while Sinn Fein's Mary
Lou McDonald described the Treaty as a very poor deal, saying
Ireland would lose "very many sensitive vetoes" if the Lisbon
Treaty was passed.

------------------------------
Farmers and the WTO Doha Round
------------------------------

6. (U) The Government is coming under increasing pressure to
use its veto in the WTO talks, if the WTO deal does not
satisfactorily protect Irish interests in the agriculture
sector. The country's leading farmers organization, the
Irish Farmers Association (IFA), is still threatening to
recommend that its members vote 'No' on the Treaty if it is
not satisfied with the WTO talks and the position of European

DUBLIN 00000310 002 OF 002


Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson. Cowen said publicly
this week that he felt it was foolish for the IFA to link the
Treaty referendum to the WTO negotiations.

7. (C) Meanwhile during several high-level meetings in
recent days, top political leaders privately expressed
confidence that the referendum will pass, though they
hastened to add that they could not be seen publicly to be
expressing such assurances because complacency is their
greatest foe and powerful interests have yet to weigh in.
Such views were expressed by Prime Minister Brian Cowen to
Senator Patrick Leahy, and both Minister for Finance Brian
Lenihan and Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea to the
Ambassador.

-------
Comment
-------

8. (C) Political leaders and the political parties are
working hard to ensure a 'Yes' vote and are making visible
progress, though their efforts could be undermined by a
decision by either SIPTU, one of Ireland's largest trade
unions, or the farmers' powerful IFA to recommend 'No.' With
two weeks to go, the 'Yes' supporters appear confident and
well on track, but nowhere near ready to declare victory.
FOLEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC