Libertas 'Detention of three year olds' most outrageous claim yet

29 May 2008

Statement by Eamon Gilmore TD

The Leader of the Labour Party Eamon Gilmore TD has described a claim made by the Libertas Leader, Declan Ganley, that the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights as part of the Lisbon Reform Treaty would lead to the detention of three year old children for educational purposes as probably the most misleading and outrageous claim made to date by those seeking a no vote.

Deputy Gilmore called on Mr. Ganley to withdraw the baseless claim and he called on other organisations opposing the Treaty to disassociate themselves from the Libertas allegation.

"I was absolutely shocked that, in the course of my debate with Mr. Ganley on the Nightly News With Vincent Browne Programme on TV3 last night, he should have made such a claim that was clearly an attempt to frighten people into voting no. The no campaign is increasingly resorting to scaremongering.

"When I was outlining the potential benefits of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Mr. Ganley suggested that it would give powers to 'enable children above three years of age to be put in detention for educational purposes'.

"Mr. Ganley's comments are part of the increasingly hysterical chorus of baseless claims we are hearing from the no campaign. Newspaper reports today quote Libertas activists, campaigning with Mr. Ganley in Sligo as claiming that the Lisbon Reform Treaty will bring 'abortion, euthanasia, homosexual marriage' and other that is 'bringing us into dictatorship -Hitler all over again'.

"It is important that there should be a proper, balanced debate in the referendum campaign so that people can make an informed judgement on June 12th.

"The reality is, or course, that he adoption of the Lisbon Reform Treaty and the Charter of Human Rights will greatly enhance the rights of children in Ireland and throughout the rest of the EU. For instance Article 24 of the Charter says:

'Children shall have the right to protection and care as is necessary for their well being.........
In all Actions relating to children, whether taken by public authorities or private institutions, the child's best interest must be of primary concern.
Every child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis a personal relationship and direct contact with both his or her parents, unless this is contrary to his or her interests.'

"The Charter also provides specifically for the prohibition of child labour and the protection of young people at work and says that 'the family shall enjoy, legal economic and social protection.'

"There are similar benefits for children and their parents in the Treaty itself including, for instance, a commitment to combat trafficking in children. The Treaty has also been welcomed by the European Children's Network, representing children's rights NGOs from across Europe who described it ' as a significant step forward for the protection of the rights of 100 million children living in the EU'.

"I would urge voters to ignore the baseless, scaremongering of Mr. Ganley. They should access the information that is available about the Treaty and the Charter and make up their own minds, rather than accepting these outrageous claims".

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