One of the Ireland’s senior bishops on European affairs has said Catholics have no reason to vote No in the Lisbon Treaty referendum on religious or ethical grounds.
For more: RTÉ.ie/Lisbon
Bishop Noel Treanor told an Oireachtas Committee today that he can unequivocally state that a Catholic can vote Yes in good conscience.
Bishop Treanor is the Irish Bishops' Conference Representative to the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community.
Bishop Treanor also said that the Lisbon Treaty does not alter the legal position of abortion in Ireland.
He said there are some organisations that are giving out misleading and inaccurate information on the treaty.
He said none of them speak on behalf of the Catholic Church.
A group from the No side has called for public debate on the Lisbon Treaty.
The Say No to Lisbon/CAECU group, representing 14 affiliated organisations, has invited the Taoiseach and his Government colleagues to a full public debate in Dublin's Mansion House at lunchtime on an agreed date in late September.
The group want to discuss the actual content and implications of the 28th Amendment to the Constitution, the Lisbon Treaty and associated documents.
They have proposed three speakers from each side and an independent chairperson.
The group say they are taking the initiative because the Government axed the only body capable of organising a balanced debate on the treaty, The National Forum on Europe, just before the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty was called.
Cameron would put Lisbon to referendum
The leader of the Conservative Party in Britain has indicated his determination to press ahead with plans for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, even if Ireland accepts the treaty on 2 October.
David Cameron said a Conservative government would put the treaty to a popular vote in Britain as long as it had not been fully ratified by all the EU member states.
'There are still several countries that are yet to ratify and implement the Lisbon Treaty and while they are doing that I don't want in any way to prejudice or prejudge what they are to do,' Mr Cameron told a news conference in London.
'Unless and until they do that, the Conservative Party will be absolutely clear that we want to have that referendum, we want to recommend a No vote in that referendum, we want to withdraw the British articles of ratification as a result of a No vote in that referendum and change Europe in that way.
'That is our position and the Irish referendum doesn't change that.'