Main parties pledge over €1 million on Yes for Lisbon

Ireland’s three main political parties, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour, will collectively spend about €1.2 million on trying to secure a Yes result in the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, it was revealed when they presented their publicity plans at formal campaign launches this week.
Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Brian Cowen said the party’s budget would be less than the €750,000 spent last year and would be about €550,000. They will have 22,000 posters around the country.
FF plans to make the best of its lesser funds by using volunteers and agreeing lower printing costs. The party’s campaign messages will be ‘Ireland Needs Europe’ and ‘We’re Stronger With Europe’.
At the Fine Gael campaign launch, a budget of over €330,000 was pledged, including outdoor, online, door-to-door leafleting and postering. FG has published 20,000 poster with its messages of ‘Yes to Europe’, ‘Yes to Jobs’ and ‘Yes to Recovery’. Many of the posters feature a photo of FG leader, Enda Kenny.
Labour plans to spend about €200,000 on its ‘Work With Europe’ campaign for a Yes vote, which is about the same amount as it spent on the first Lisbon referendum. Half of the budget comes from party coffers and the other half from its grouping in the European Parliament, the Party of European Socialists.
Green Party leader John Gormley is urging people to vote Yes for economic recovery. In launching its Lisbon campaign, he said that a No vote would be counterproductive but admitted that Green Party funds were low and their campaign budget was “to be frank, meagre”.
As well as the monies spent by the main political parties hoping to get the treaty approved, various vested interest groups such as Ibec, Pat Cox’s Ireland for Europe and We Belong, whose director is former FF press officer, Olivia Buckley, are canvassing and postering.
Sinn Fein is the only Dail party opposed to a Yes vote. They are joined by various left-wing activists, including Socialist MEP Joe Higgins, Roger Cole’s Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA), Patricia McKenna’s People Movement and the anti-abortion group, Coir.
A spokesman for Coir said they had 12,000 posters printed with various themes relating to why people should vote No. The Ukip party in Britain plans to run a leaflet campaign which will see the Euro sceptic grouping urging Irish voters to vote No.
But the No side campaigns this time without Libertas, the Declan Ganley-led group which spent €1m on the last referendum. Libertas was disbanded as a political party after a poor showing in the European elections.

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