German Leader Asks Irish To Vote For Treaty

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, has pleaded with the Irish people to vote 'yes' in the upcoming Lisbon referendum.

The German leader spoke during her visit to the Irish capital on Monday, meeting both Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.

Speaking about the referendum, which goes to the ballot box on June 12, Ms Merkel said: "To all the sceptics, I can only tell you please vote for this treaty, as it strengthens the rights of citizens."

She added that the treaty would improve the functioning of the European Union and would allow Europe to be more effective in tackling global issues like climate change and energy supplies.

Anti-Lisbon campaigners are however concerned about the creation of a "European Superstate".

On Monday, anti-Lisbon group Libertas accused the government of a U-Turn in policy, claiming the arrival of Ms Merkel contravened the governments previous policy halting visits from nation leaders during the run up to important European votes.

A spokesman for the group said: "Those supporting the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty have conducted a rather spectacular 180 degree turn on the issue of foreign interference in the Irish referendum."

The group's chairman, Chairman Declan Ganley, said the visits were "clearly intended to boost support for the Lisbon Treaty" and would be conducted in the "most message-controlled manner possible".

Mr Ganley added that the gushing welcome afforded to the two would be in stark contrast to the stern warnings from the 'Yes' campaign last December that foreign special interests would try to interfere in the Irish referendum process.


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