02/09/2009

Cowen Dodges Post-Lisbon Leadership Query

The Taoiseach has rebutted the question of whether he will resign if the second Lisbon Treaty vote fails during the launch of the Government's 'Yes' Campaign today.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Dublin this morning, Mr Cowen refused to answer if he would personally resign if the referendum were lost, saying he did not contemplate defeat.

Instead, the Taoiseach said the Irish people deserved to hear a constructive debate about the future of Ireland and Europe and that his party would be campaigning on a positive message of why Ireland needs a European Union.

Mr Cowen said: "This is not about the future of the Government of personalities. It’s about the future of the country.

“It’s not politics as usual. We need to focus on the importance of Lisbon at this time. We need to decide what is in our interest as a people.”

The Taoiseach said only by working together can countries overcome many of the biggest problems, but the EU is currently working with out-of-date rules that benefit no one.

Mr Cowen said: “One practical example of the need for change is the fact that the chairperson of the most important council of the Union had changed 5 times already during the economic crisis – something which would be bad in a local club to say nothing of a Union of almost 500 million people.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin also outlined at the launch details of Fianna Fáil's campaign, which will include a full national effort up until the close of polling on October 2.

In addition to posters, leafleting and canvassing, the party has also set up a dedicated website: www.strongerwitheurope.ie ,where senior ministers will post online video responses to questions from the public about the referendum.

(DW/KMcA)


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