Thursday, 30 July 2009 Irish women are being urged to vote Yes in the Lisbon Treaty Referendum on October 2nd next. Launched today, Women for Europe is a new civil society movement, representing women from all strata of society who support a Yes vote the forthcoming referendum.
Launching the campaign, special guest speaker Nell McCafferty said; “I have no wish to live in a country which is ruled exclusively by this or any Irish government. I do not want to place myself at the mercy of their less than tender hands. I want to live under the protection of the European Union”.
“I was there in 1976 when the Irish government tried to derogate from the European law to which it had signed up, which gave women the right to equal pay. Europe forced them to give us equal pay. I am still here and the Irish government is doing its cruel best to row back on commitments to equality for women. The latest example is its savage attempt to cripple the Equality Authority, by cutting its funding in half. All over the country, right now, funding for women's groups has been reduced. The government wishes that women would shut up, go home and stay there. We need the protection of the European Union. We need to get out of the home, speak up, throw the kitchen sink at them and vote Yes”.
Olive Braiden, Chairperson of Women for Europe said; “The Lisbon Treaty strengthens and protects the rights of women in areas such as employment, gender equality, education and work-life balance. The Lisbon Treaty puts citizen’s rights – from women’s rights, to workers rights to social rights like healthcare and education at the heart of the EU. Women for Europe believes that a Yes vote is in the best interests of Irish women and we urge women to come out on the 2nd of October and vote Yes for their future”.
Speaking about the establishment of the campaign Ms Braiden said; “In forming Women for Europe we listened to the concerns of women from throughout Ireland. Many women voted no in the last referendum because they had genuine concerns which were not clearly addressed. The guarantees secured by the Irish government provide security with regards to Ireland’s sovereignty on issues such as taxation, neutrality, abortion and on immigration. There should be no lingering doubts in the minds of women on these issues”.
“One of the widespread myths concerning the Lisbon Treaty is that young Irish adults would be conscripted into a European army. This was one of the single biggest concerns for many Irish women in the last referendum. This was not, and is not the case. The fact is that the Lisbon Treaty maintains the status quo on military issues. The EU is not allowed conscript Irish soldiers into a war, is not able to force Ireland to take part in military action and cannot commit Ireland to any level of military spending”.
“Similarly, the Lisbon Treaty does not affect the right to life as laid out in the Irish constitution. This fact was reconfirmed in June 2009 by all 26 other countries in the EU. We have now secured the right for all EU states to nominate a Commissioner which is a significant concession won by Ireland for all EU States”.
Ms. Braiden said that the global economic crisis had also focused attention on the protection provided to Ireland’s economy as a result of its membership of the larger European Union. “Many of us are rightly concerned about what the future holds for our children and grandchildren. Ireland as an active, participative member of the EU is better placed to weather the current economic storm. Some of Ireland’s largest employers are multinational companies attracted to Ireland as an English speaking country at the heart of the EU. Our membership has also provided us with a stable currency, low interest rates and access to larger markets for our goods and services. Securing a Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum will safeguard our economic position in the future”.
“There is nothing to fear from this Treaty. It is about making the European Union more efficient, more democratic, more transparent and more accountable in how it does its business. I urge women throughout the country to enter the debate and to make sure they make an informed decision on October 2nd”, she added.
A website www.womenforeurope.ie has been established and the group will be hosting a series of events between now and October 2nd, including a visit to Ireland by the current Secretary-General of the European Commission, Catherine Day. Women for Europe has made links with over 70 networks nationwide and is supported by authors Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell, Kathleen Fahy (Rhuama), Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, Miriam Hederman O’Brien, Sylvia Meehan, Carmel Naughton and former Lord Mayor Eibhlin Byrne among others. Women for Europe outline 10 reasons why women in Ireland should vote Yes to Lisbon. These are attached.
For further information, please contact:
Billie Sparks, Women for Europe
Tel: 01 605 1727
Women for Europe Launches Yes Campaign
Why Vote Yes
Women across Europe share many concerns. We worry about our families, our children, our jobs, the economy, our place in society and our future. In many of these areas, a YES vote to the Lisbon Treaty will bring many benefits to women - both now and in the future.
Voting Yes to the Lisbon Treaty will create a European Community which can -
1. Better protect older people, children and those with disabilities.
2. Protect women and children from domestic violence, human trafficking and degradation.
3. Protect consumers and bring prices down.
4. Ensure women are treated equally and protected from discrimination.
5. Protect the freedom, dignity and equality of women through the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
6. Support Irish Jobs.
7. Ensure greater accountability, democracy and transparency in Europe.
8. Help eradicate poverty in the developing world.
9. Protect our right to live and work in Europe.
10. Enable us to tackle Climate Change.
Women for Europe is asking women to:
• Vote Yes in the Lisbon Treaty on October 2nd
• Log on to www.womenforeurope.ie to find out more about the Treaty and the benefits it will bring
• Host an event in partnership/collaboration with Women for Europe