Declan Ganley’s interview with Pat Kenny was another classic example of how Ganley mangles the truth and is ever willing to distort the facts. The interview is examined here in detail. Pat Kenny opened the interview asking Ganley about the trouble that Libertas had landed itself in over its attempt to get €300,000 from the EU Parliament. The Libertas application ran into trouble when two of the people whose names appeared on the application denied that they were supporting the fund application.
What Declan Ganley Said "Just business as usual in Brussels Pat, we don’t see it that way; there are those bureaucrats in Brussels that would like to present it. What happened is we decided that we would do the courtesy to the system and apply to be recognised as a pan European political party, which is something we are doing anyway… "
The Truth: Ganley not doing any courtesy, rather trying to get money out of the system without meeting the rules that apply to every other organisation. He scrambled around to find 7 signatures by the deadline, all of whom were marginal figures in their member states, mainly eurosceptic, in some instances xenophobic and racist. There is not a single main-stream party among them. He craved the recognition of main stream European parties like the EPP, PES, European Greens and Liberals. This is why he applied, and as Pat Kenny rightly points out, his application was a fiasco, or as the Irish Times put it 'decended into farce' as two of the seven withdrew their signatures, alleging they had been duped into signing under false pretences.
Pat Kenny But you don’t have to do that to compete in the election.
What Declan Ganley :That is correct, you don’t and it was something that we were doing out of a courtesy now as much as anything else, so what you have to do to register is, about three months ago or so we collected a number of signatures of people who were prepared to sign up to allow the Party to be formed, now that did not mean that those people would be candidates or that they would run for us but that they supported the formation of the Party, if you like and the democratic process.
The Truth: This is blatantly untrue. The Estonian and Bulgarian stated categorically that they never supported the formation of a party at the European level. In all probability the real nature of the application was never explained to them.
Pat Kenny: Just to clarify this, you needed seven names of existing MEP’s.?
What Declan Ganley Said: You needed seven names of, you needed, well actually more than seven names but from a minimum of seven member States of the European Union. So, for example we had Lord Alton of Liverpool who signed in the UK, we had Philip deVilliers and others sign in France and we had these two gentlemen who actually I don’t know, who signed, they are acquaintances of one of our Advisors, Yens Peter Bonde who signed to support the process, that application was worked on by the European Parliament, by the bureaucracy in Brussels for three months, we have been told from inside the system that the Lawyers that were working on scrutinising it had been told to find anything that they could to disqualify us on, which they failed to do, and then it went forward….
The Truth: Astounding that the Chairman of the party never made it his business to meet and get to know two members of national parliaments which he was supposedly signing up to his party. Is this a way to take seriously an application for European public funding? By the way, Bonde, is not simply 'one of his advisors' but the chief political director of the European Libertas campaign, running his Brussels office of reportedly up to 100 staff - for the most part stagiaires/intererns being paid 700 euro a month. He was also the leading eurosceptic in the European Parliament for the past 30 years, giving lie to Ganley's claim to be pro-European.
Pat Kenny: To explain to our listeners though, the seven countries, one of them was Estonia. What happened then, Igor said, never sign a thing
What Declan Ganley Said: What happened was somebody in the European Parliament, one of the Liberals in the European Parliament said that Igor said that he hadn’t signed, unfortunately for these guys in the European Parliament we had and have Igor’s signature and his passport and his Parliamentary Pass, all of which are required to be submitted as part of this process, which of course he gave us, and one can only imagine what kind of pressure that they put this poor guy under and the guy in Bulgaria, and so if people visit libertas.eu they will see with the appropriate private details blurred out, the signed documents and signatures of these individuals and of course it is anybody’s right to withdraw their signature for whatever reason after the fact and we asked them and talked to them a few days ago, when this whole thing started and we said, please withdraw your signatures, they both sent us notification saying yes we would like to withdraw them and we have now replaced them with other signatures.
But let me just say this, the fact is that what we were doing, we weren’t seeking and we said, we don’t, we are not looking to use or draw down funding, public funding, until and unless Libertas gets an electoral Mandate, we should not get access to taxpayers money in our opinion, so we had no intention of using that money anyway and had said so publicly and up front.
We are trying to play by their rules, they are trying to knobble us, which is to be expected given the fact that they are innately anti democratic and they have proven the fact by the fact that they are trying to make us vote again and ignoring the French and Dutch votes so one way or the other and I have said this in interviews yesterday, we are coming, Libertas is going to happen to Brussels whether they like it or not and to your point earlier Pat, we can run candidates anyway because we are registering Libertas as a political Party, nationally in every member State of the European Union. I am speaking to our (contact) from Munich in Germany, right now today we are in the process here, it is a very important day in Germany, there is a big Hearing on the Lisbon Treaty, where a number of key Judges in the country, they said this is going to be one of the most important decisions that this Court has made in decades and you have got people like the Stauffenberg family, there is a movie about their ancestors out today, these last few weeks, you have got the former CEO of Fison Crop (pho) in there saying exactly what Libertas has been saying across Europe, this is a powerful message, it is the view of the majority of the people of Europe and what we need to do is make sure. I was listening to your interview with Shane Ross there, before this, we need to make sure that we do not chain ourselves to the same set of policies which were enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, that got Europe, not just Ireland, all of Europe, into this economic mess that we are in and the question of the leaders that got us there is another question that people can start to answer in a June election.
The Truth: So much of this is untrue that its hard to know where to start What Ganley says about a Liberal MEP . Grazin himself said he didn’t sign. Typically Ganley is distorting the truth. The suggestion that pressure was put on Grazin is ludicrous. This man lived through the Communist era & is unlikely to be intimidated by a couple of bureaucrats.His membership of the Estonian Liberal Party is incompatible with him joining a new party. He made it patently clear himself that he always intended staying in his own party.
As for the Bulgarian, he has never claimed that contact was made with him by anybody in the European Parliament. He stated that he learned of being part of the Libertas application through the media and he was naturally furious.
Libertas put Grazin’s personal data were put on the internet, did Ganley ask his permission first? Ganley’s suggestion that the details were blurred is untrue. Journalists were able to download Grazin’s mobile phone number from the Libertas' Flickr website. Here Libertas is not playing the rules, but trying to flaunt the rules and get European funds without meeting the same criteria that apply to everybody else – and Mr Ganley talks about ‘elites’. The same rules apply for all European Political Parties. All the others met the criteria with the appropriate number of signatures and without any scandal. Only Libertas had MPs saying they were duped and refuting the suggestion that they had signed the funding application. Libertas can't register in the UK or Czech Rep because there is already an existing party of that name..
Pat Kenny There is a very large statement saying that the EU policy framework caused the banking crisis…
What Declan Ganley Said: I didn’t say it caused, I am not saying it caused it but I am saying the same policies that are further enshrined in this, they are not going to get us out of these problems, what is going to get us out of these problems is stimulation of small and medium sized businesses and risk taking, the creation of new business and the unleashing of Europe’s genius and it is there, we have an opportunity across Europe and in Ireland to reshape the global economy and lead and there are mistakes being made in the United States right now, we have an opportunity, as a united Europe, as Europeans to go out there and lead and Ireland can play a very important part in that role, but chucking good money after bad into these banks in terms of what you were talking about earlier is definitely not the way to go about doing it.
The Truth Ganley is tripping himself up.
Ganley specifically said that “policies which were enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, that got Europe, not just Ireland, all of Europe, into this economic mess” two minutes later he is denying what he said. Ganley’s suggestion that the EU is to blame for the problems in Irish banking is pure bunkum. The reality is of course that the international financial collapse started in the USA and spread around the world. The EU certainly does not call the shots in New York. Everybody in Ireland knows full well that Ganley’s attempt to blame the EU for our domestic banking & economic problems is utter waffle. Without the EU we would be toast.
Pat Kenny There is a big debate right across Europe as to what is the best way to go, no more than there is one in the United States, as you know the Republicans differ and many Wall Street people differ with Obama in terms of the announcements yesterday, so you can’t say there is one clear way forward which is going to rescue the situation, but you did say one thing, you did say, a united Europe. You are regarded as someone who is not a proponent of a united Europe, the Eurocrats are saying Lisbon is the way to go, you are saying Lisbon is not the way to go.
What Declan Ganley Said: And because we are Europeans we have trouble with the Lisbon Treaty and the fact is Pat, and I have challenged journalists, I said the point to anything that Libertas or I have ever said that is anyway Euro sceptic, we are exactly the opposite, I have poured scorn on Euro sceptics because scorn is what they deserve, but to think that if people understand the affect of the Lisbon Treaty, not just on us in Ireland but right across Europe, they would be outraged at what is in this document and it is amazing to see the same old people harp on with the same old tunes that they have been singing for well over a year now, saying that this somehow makes us more European. It does enormous damage to Europe because it roots out democratic accountability to the extent that it exists, it rooted out the institutions of the European Union and transferred huge areas of sovereignty to Brussels. I have no problem with the sovereignty transfer, what I do have a problem with is the fact that people making those Laws, exercising power over you, me and all of these listeners are never going to have to face us in ballot box and we should all have a problem with that and certainly the people of Germany and France and Spain and Italy and right across Europe do and that is why Libertas is getting so much attraction.
The Truth The old saying – you are known by the company that you keep applies to Mr Ganley. Over the last year Ganley’s associates in Europe are a veritable who’s who of Euroscepticism. In his Brussels office his right hand man is the arch anti-European Jen Peter Bonde. Over the years Bonde has actively campaigned against the EU. Ganley has also lined out with Philippe De Villiers, France's most hostile anti-EU figure. He has also aligned Libertas with the xenophobic, anti-immigrant True Finns party which is the only Eurosceptic party in pro-European Finland. The suggestion that those making EU laws are unelected is blatently false. EU law is made by the Council of Ministers – all of whom are members of democratic Governments with mandates from their Parliaments and people. Increasingly the EU Parliament is involved in the making of EU law – the MEPS are democratically elected.
Pat Kenny Loads of people don’t face us at ballot boxes, the Financial Regulator doesn’t face us at ballot boxes….
The Truth Ganley knows full well that EU laws are made by the Council of Ministers, where our Irish Government Ministers and their counterparts from the other 26 Member States represent their countries and by the MEPs - the only directly-elected body in the EU. The comment is yet another example of Ganley’s disregard for the truth.
Podcast of Declan Ganley on Pat Kenny here
Libertas on Flickr