Thursday, November 27, 2008

EU chief talks to bishops on future Irish role

European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering yesterday attended a meeting in Maynooth with the Irish Catholic bishops at which they had a private exchange of views on Ireland's future role in the European Union.

Afterwards, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin told a news conference that Mr Pottering, who had requested to meet the bishops, expressed confidence in Ireland's commitment to the European ideal.

"President Pottering did not get involved in second-guessing or self-fulfilling prophecies as to whether there would be a second referendum, or what would happen if that referendum went one way or the other," said Archbishop Martin.

"The president was clearly leaving it [a resolution of the Lisbon crisis] to the Irish authorities and said he was looking forward to the presentation which the Irish authorities will make to the European Council in December."

Dr Martin said that the Irish Episcopal Conference had no idea what exactly the Government had planned for going forward with addressing the Lisbon questions.

"When we have some idea about what that will be, we will think about whether it is appropriate to issue another statement on Europe," he said.

"I have to see what proposal is made to the nation and then we will make a judgment on that," Dr Martin said, defending the bishops' decision -- prior to the June Lisbon referendum -- to not tell voters whether to vote 'Yes' or 'No', but instead urge them to inform themselves of the issues.

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(Source: II)