THE UK Independence Party (UKIP) will send a leaflet to every Irish home urging a No vote in the Lisbon Treaty to close an “open door” to immigrants.
It will also argue that the final decision on sensitive ethical issues such as abortion and euthanasia will pass from Irish to European courts if the treaty is ratified.
British MEP and UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: “With the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is justiciable at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, it will no longer be your Supreme Court that takes decisions on really hot and contentious issues.” He added the European court had a record of “political activism”.
Mr Farage, who is a trenchant critic of the EU, described the Government’s guarantees on the treaty as “laughable”.
He said UKIP had decided to get involved in the Lisbon referendum campaign because the “No side seemed to be a bit thin on the ground, and someone needed to redress the balance”.
UKIP, which won the second biggest vote in the recent European elections in Britain, has 13 MEPs. It is the biggest party in the newly- formed Europe of Freedom of Democracy group within the European Parliament.
Mr Farage said it would cost more than €100,000 to fund the leaflet drop and other campaign activities in Ireland. The Europe of Freedom of Democracy group would provide the cash for the campaign even though the parliamentary group does not contain a single Irish MEP.
Mr Farage, who rejected any suggestion that UKIP’s involvement in an Irish referendum was political interference, added: “We are not the Tories, for Christ sake. We are not the party that governed Ireland and fought tooth and nail against the creation of a free state and all the rest of it. We are unashamedly a pro-British party but that doesn’t make us anti-Irish.”
One of the most controversial arguments in the campaign leaflets which will be sent to Irish homes in the next few weeks is a claim that the Lisbon Treaty will open the door to immigration.
“I suspect no one else would touch this issue with a barge pole but we will deal with it in an utterly responsible way,” said Mr Farage, who added that UKIP was not in any way racist and had five black or Asian candidates in the recent European elections.
Mr Farage will travel to Ireland next Tuesday to attend a debate on the treaty in Dublin.
Another UKIP MEP, Marta Andreasen, was in Dublin yesterday to launch the NO to Lisbon 2 campaign.
Ms Andreasen, a former European Commission chief accountant, said the EU was giving “no help at all” to member states in the current economic crisis.
“Ireland has had many economic policies that have helped the country grow until 2002 without the help of the European Union,” she said.
Ms Andreasen, an Argentinian-born Spaniard, said she was dismissed from her former job for going public with concerns about accounting systems. “I have seen what happens within the walls of the European Union, and out of that experience I wouldn’t like my children to be ruled by this political elite in Brussels.”