McCreevy stands by Lisbon comments

Thursday 17 July 2008 10.00
McCreevy - No Lisbon regrets
McCreevy - No Lisbon regrets

Charlie McCreevy has said he does not regret his comments or actions during the Lisbon referendum campaign.

Speaking on his way into a financial regulation conference in Dublin, the European Internal Market Commissioner defended his view that it was impossible for members of the public to read the treaty and understand it.

Mr McCreevy said for him to say he had read the treaty would have been akin to him saying that he had read a medical textbook this morning, which he would have read, but not understood.

When asked if he could turn back the clock, would he have made the comments, Mr McCreevy responded by asking if was he expected to tell lies.

In relation to the amount of effort he put into campaigning for the treaty, Mr McCreevy said some previous commissioners had never campaigned at all and some argue that it is not appropriate for commissioners to campaign.

He added that there were few past referendum campaigns into which the main political parties had put more effort.

Speaking on the next step for the treaty, Mr McCreevy said a feverish period of comment and analysis would be expected, and a time for both sides to reflect.

He added that there had been a series of comments by people in Europe over the past number of weeks, some bordering on the stupid, some a little more sensible.

He said Ireland would have to take its time and reflect on what comes next. Adequate time should be given to everybody to adjust, he added.