Mullingar for Europe, a new independent group of Mullingar people committed to promoting a yes vote in the forthcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, has been launched in Mullingar. The launch event heard strong endorsements for ratification of the Treaty from former Leinster and Ireland rugby international Denis Hickie, businessman Pat Davitt, and professor Ciarán Ó Catháin.
The launch was attended by leading figures from business, farming, trade unions, the arts, and sport, who are among the growing number of prominent Midlands people who believe that a yes vote is in the best interests of their families and their country.
Speaking at the launch Mr Hickey said, “Ireland for Europe is inviting the people of Ireland to think carefully before they vote, to think of their own and their family’s long term interests, to think of our country’s interests and standing, to reflect on the common good and to separate their anger about politics and policy at home from the choice in hand. I am delighted to be here for the launch of Mullingar for Europe. This referendum is so important for Ireland’s future that it is great to see the commitment here.”
Promising a vigorous campaign, Westmeath for Europe chairman, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, said that this was a crucial time for the Midlands, and for Ireland as a whole. “We need to vote yes to secure jobs and our economic recovery,” he said. “Every ‘Yes’ vote to Europe has been good for Ireland. Now more than ever, we need to build on the best partnership this country has ever had; our membership of the EU.”
Paul O’Brennan, president of Mullingar Chamber of Commerce said he was delighted to be associated with this campaign. “I think at times like this it is vital that people stand up in their communities and be counted. If we vote ‘Yes’ we will retain our European Commissioner. We have always had an Irish voice at the top table. We have also been given legally-binding guarantees that our neutrality is safe and that our tax rates and decisions on sensitive ethical decisions, like abortion, stay in Irish hands.”
Professor Ó Catháin said that he was particularly glad that EU leaders had also, since the last vote, made a solemn commitment to protect workers’ rights and public services. “I was already convinced Lisbon was good for workers because of the protections in the Treaty’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. This just confirms it for me,” he added.
He went on to say that the lives of Irish men and women had been enhanced by EU equality legislation; better maternity leave and workers’ rights.
Mullingar for Europe is linked to Ireland for Europe which believes the campaign for a yes vote should be led by people in their own areas and which has acted as a facilitator for the establishment of local campaign groups all over the country.