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Women for Europe reject the arguments from the new campaign 'Women Say No to Lisbon Again'

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Co-Founders Niamh Gallagher and Michelle O'Donnell KeatingMichelle O'Donnell Keating, Co-Founder of Women for Europe has totally rejected claims made by the 'Women Say No to Lisbon Again' campaign that launched today (14 September) that the Lisbon Treaty is about business and elite interests and is not about serving women as false and misleading.

Ms. O'Donnell Keating said, "The EU has already done so much for women's rights and indeed this Treaty will continue to improve human rights in the EU as the Lisbon Treaty will give legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights.  The Charter protects the improvements achieved to date in the quality of life for Irish women, the elderly and disabled, by clearly outlining our right to freedom and justice, and to be treated equally and with dignity.  A yes vote to Lisbon will make these principles binding on the Union's institutions and on the Member States when they are implementing EU law."

"The new women's group has said that the Charter of Fundamental Rights does not entitle people to housing, divorce, and a range of other issues," continued Ms O'Donnell Keating, "This is because these are issues that the EU has no control over.  The EU operates under the idea of subsidiary, and does not interfere in issues that are better addressed a the national level of each Member State.  The argument from the 'Women Say No to Lisbon Again' campaign would seem to indicate that they want to be less autonomous and give more powers over to the EU which goes against people's concerns last time round when they feared that too much power was being given over to the EU."

"Many of the issues which concerned women last time round such as neutrality, our commissioner, and other issues were listened to by our European partners and have been clarified and there should be no doubt in the minds of women that voting 'Yes' will impact positively on their lives," said Ms O'Donnell Keating.

"Women for Europe is a large non political organisation which has travelled to every corner of the country to talk with women about the Lisbon Treaty.  We have been engaging women from all sectors of Irish society and in the past few weeks we have met with women in Galway, Ennis, Dublin, Kilkenny and Donegal for example and we look forward to meeting with many more women between now and October 2nd.  It is fantastic to see so many women  taking part in political debate regardless of their job or background."

"There is nothing to fear from this Treaty," continued Ms O'Donnell Keating, "Its sole purpose is to make Europe work more efficiently and more transparently.  I urge women throughout Ireland to familiarise themselves with the Treaty before voting on October 2nd.  A guide for women to the Lisbon Treaty is available at www.womenforeurope.ie and is also available direct from our office by phoning 01-605 1727."