THE independent body tasked with explaining the Lisbon treaty to voters endured an embarrassing moment yesterday when it was unable to explain a key section of the document.
The Referendum Commission held a press conference to “clarify” five key issues that had arisen during the campaign. In a press release it handed out, the commission explained that Ireland’s right to veto EU proposals would be removed in a certain number of areas if the treaty was passed. These included: “Arrangements for the control of implementing powers.”
Asked by a journalist what this meant, commission chairman High Court judge Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill appeared flummoxed. “As your question necessarily points up or implies, it’s quite difficult to be precise about what that means. There certainly isn’t a precision about it whereby one could say it applies to A, B, C or D.”
There then followed a lengthy silence, as journalists waited for the judge to expand further. When he did not, he was asked if he could clarify what areas of power were involved, to which he replied: “No, we’ll consider that and we’ll return to that later.”