The 26 Counties is set for a debate that could fundamentally affect the future of the EU this year.
After the people of France and the Netherlands killed off the European Constitution by voting No in 2005, the project was rebranded as the Lisbon Treaty in 2007. Member states have until 2009 to ratify this new version or it too will fall. However, European leaders openly conspired to deny people their voice, recognising the Treaty would be rejected and only Ireland (part of anyway) seems set to have a referendum.
The majority of the political establishment in the south is openly endorsing the treaty, with even the Greens adopting a strange position where the parliamentary party will support the treaty while the rest of the membership can campaign how they choose.
At present there are two major campaigns in opposition:
The Campaign Against the EU Constitution (CAEUC) which incorporates a range of left wing opinion and groups – Communist Party of Ireland, Community Action and workers Group, éirígí, National Platform, Peace and Neutrality Alliance, People Before Profit, People’s Movement, Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Workers Party – along with SF and elements of the Green party including former MEP Patricia McKenna.
As yet the date for the referendum hasn’t been set but Europes eyes will be increasingly fixed on Ireland as it approaches.