25 September 2009
Democratic forces in Ireland have had to face many challenges since the Government, in collusion with the EU Commission and other EU governments, decided to force a re-run of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
Not alone are all the establishment parties receiving huge sums of money from their European Parliament groups to finance their campaigns but the EU Commission is sponsoring several front organisations, while we have seen the introduction into Ireland of corporate campaigning by such companies as Intel, spending €500,000, and Ryanair, spending €250,000—both companies noted for their anti-worker and anti-union policies. They have publicly declared what they intend to spend; other corporations have not declared what they are prepared to pay or have paid to secure a Yes vote.
Another front organisation, in co-operation with Ryanair, is organising
|free flights from Brussels to Ireland Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of next week (29, 30 Sept, 1 Oct) to campaign alongside Europe for Ireland for a YES vote in the Lisbon Treaty Referendum on Friday 2 October.|
This is an extract from an e-mail message circulated by the “Europe for Ireland” group, which is linked to a similar organisation here in Ireland fronted by the corporate lobbyist and former president of the EU Parliament Pat Cox.
This message continues:
|Europe for Ireland has arranged free flights with Ryanair from Charleroi to Dublin. You could take either of two daily flights on whichever day suits you and come back whenever you like. Even if you can manage to take just one day off, you could fly over and back on the same day. Europe for Ireland will arrange your booking. You don’t pay, you just turn up.|
Ryanair has been promoting a Yes vote in the referendum through various gimmicks, including a Dublin–Farranfore–Knock–Dublin trip in an airliner embellished with “Vote Yes,” in which Michael O’Leary was accompanied by representatives of the press and by the EU Commissioner for Transport, Antonio Tajani. O’Leary needs the support of the EU Commission if he is to be successful in his attempt to take over the former national airline, Aer Lingus, now privatised, while Intel awaits a possible fine of €1.1 billion by the EU Commission for abuse of its monopoly position.
Yet despite all the money, all the bullying, all the blackmail and abuse, they have not managed to break the No campaign. As the latest opinion polls show, the No campaign is gaining ground. The tragedy is that the official labour movement has placed itself on the same side as the most anti-worker corporations in the world.