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Chairman's Report on Forum debates on the Treaty of Lisbon

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maurice hayesThe Chairman of the National Forum On Europe, Maurice Hayes, has published a report which he says will assist voters in making an informed judgement on the Treaty of Lisbon on referendum day. 

The Chairman’s Report - his ninth - summarises the Forum’s intensive programme of activities to date this year and also encapsulates the debates on the Treaty in a readable form. In 2008 alone, Maurice Hayes has chaired thirty-seven Forum meetings in the run-up to the referendum on the Treaty on June 12th

“The role of the Forum in relation to the Treaty is to promote and facilitate public debate on the Treaty and its implications for Ireland’s future in Europe” says Maurice Hayes.  “The Forum does not advocate or favour any particular view of the Treaty and has taken great care to ensure that all sides of the debate received fair treatment and were afforded a reasonable opportunity to put their case.” 

The Forum’s membership is made up of all the political parties and forty five national organisations, including the Social Partners, the Churches as well as groups campaigning for and against the Treaty.

“This Report will assist voters in making an informed judgement on a Treaty which, by its nature, is a long and complex document”, says Maurice Hayes. “This does not necessarily require a perfect knowledge of the Treaty’s terms. All that is required is sufficient knowledge for people to make up their own minds, sensibly and honestly.

In his overview in the report, the Chairman says the aims of the European Union are “to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples” and its values are “respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights…”  

“The Treaty’s stated aims are to enhance the European Union’s efficiency and democratic legitimacy and to improve the coherence of its action”, says Maurice Hayes.  “Supporters believe these aims have been achieved in the Treaty while Ireland’s key interests have been protected.  Critics contend that the Treaty does not serve the aims and values of the European Union and that the Treaty does not advance its own stated aims.  The Treaty’s opponents argue that a better deal is available if the Irish people vote “No”.

The Forum’s plenary meetings heard from the leading advocates and opponents of the Treaty.   Their addresses to the Forum, and their discussion with Forum members, provide a comprehensive set of arguments on this debate.  The Forum has therefore decided to publish the complete set of plenary transcripts alongside the Chairman’s  Report. Copies of both publications are available by contacting the Forum on info@forumoneurope.ie or by telephoning 01-6705900.

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