That does not seem to me to be helpful but if Senator Regan persists in being helpful in this manner to the Taoiseach, I would advise him to sit on the "No" side and be helpful to the people because then they will all vote "No" in this matter.
Although I take this position, it does not mean that I wish to associate myself comfortably with everyone else who takes this position because there are, as there are on the other side, some troubling elements who do not always tell the truth. I was horrified to hear people speaking on this in the context of the Roscommon Hospital situation. To get people to vote against the Lisbon treaty simply on local parochial grounds of self-interest about a hospital is a flagrant and cynical abuse of that vote. I would not welcome such support. I wish to have people who have a reasoned, calm and rational viewpoint and who will raise questions such as the clear commitment of the European Union, enshrined in the Lisbon treaty, to continue and sharpen the process of liberalising the markets, to open up the markets of the poorest and least developed countries on the globe which were raped in the 19th century by the colonising powers and which we are now going to pillage economically at the behest of people such as Mr. Mandelson.
People on the other side of the argument are not telling the truth when they say, as has been said regularly, that in terms of human rights legislation we would not have had the decriminalisation of homosexual behaviour without the European Court of Justice. It had nothing to do with that court, nor to do with the European Union. I ought to know. I was, after all, the litigant. It was the European Court of Human Rights which is a function, not of the European Union, but of the Council of Europe.
I wish that the honourable judge who was on the radio at lunchtime would answer a couple of questions. He said he would do as much. I would like him to let the Irish people know about the European Defence Association, so coyly renamed from the former European Armaments Group. We know that we would be tying ourselves in with countries that are still committed to the manufacture and use of cluster munitions.
I ask the Leader to give Members a debate on Burma. I gather there is to be some kind of an agreed position on the issue. I welcome that and the opportunity for it to go through with some small degree of debate. When this matter was raised previously it was before the disaster of the cyclone. The country has now had that disaster and I wish to send my sympathy, and that of everyone else in the House, I am sure, not just to the Burmese people but also to the Chinese people who have had the catastrophe of the earthquake in central China. I believe we can reasonably draw comparison between the behaviour of the Chinese premier who immediately got involved in this, and the disgusting behaviour of the military junta.
With regard to No. 19, motion 4 on the Order Paper concerning the Abbey Theatre, could we invite the new Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, Deputy Cullen, to come to the House? It would be an opportunity to impose that issue as a planning matter and get the Abbey Theatre where it should be, on the Carlton site in the middle of O'Connell Street.