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  1. #11
    He3 He3 is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by eurosceptic View Post
    ...
    Its funny because for Amsterdam and Nice1 the referendums commissions job was to offer objective arguements both yes and no. For Nice2 it was changed to advertising the referendum and distributing slanted material.
    and thanks to Papinian, and to Mark Hennessy who asked the killer question at the Ref Com press conference, we see how the development has continued.

    An impartial information source was fine in theory. Practice in this case makes imperfect.
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  2. #12
    He3 He3 is offline

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    Incredibly, on its website EU Law A&L Goodbody continue to claim that it advised the Referendum Commission on the Maastricht Treaty referendum when there was NO Referendum Commission in place for such referendum.

    Ouch.

    Among our high profile assignments in this area have been:

    Advice to Ireland’s Referendum Commission on the Nice and Maastricht Referenda


    Goodbody site
    Last edited by He3; 31st May 2009 at 12:05 AM.
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  3. #13
    He3 He3 is offline

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    Here is a funny thing.

    Immediately after my last post on this thread - the one giving a link to the Goodbody site, substantiating the amazing claim made by Papinian that they claim to have given advice to a non-existent Referendum Commission, someone went to the trouble of going to the Rating option, gave the thread a minimun one star rating, and left without saying a word.

    Now why would someone do that?
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  4. #14
    Catalpa Catalpa is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papinian View Post
    Prior to the Lisbon Treaty referendum I posted a thread on politics.ie about the fact that the advisors to the Referendum Commission had close associations with both Fianna Fail and the Yes campaign.
    http://www.politics.ie/lisbon-treaty...y-tatters.html

    Among other things I noted that Murray Consultants PR firm were retained by the Referendum Commission to provide marketing, communications and project management consultancy services to the Referendum Commission - an account worth EUR 350,000 for controlling a budget of EUR 3.5 million.

    I noted that:
    - the tender for Murray Consultants' services was carried out not by the Referendum Commission itself, but by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
    - Murray Consultants has had close links to Fianna Fail. Frank Dunlop formerly worked there.
    - One of the two persons from Murray Consultants working on the Referendum Commission account was Olivia Buckley. As acknowledged on the Murray Consultants website at the time she was Fianna Fail press director from 2003 to 2007.
    - Not only did Olivia Buckley work for Fianna Fianna but she is native of Febane, Offaly personally close to Taoiseach Brian Cowen, as evidenced by the following quote from the 4 November 2004 issue of Business and Finance magazine, describing the 2004 Business Awards: "Elections didn't seem to be bothering the Fianna Fail contingent on the night. The soldiers of destiny always like a good party and Fianna Fail's director of communications Olivia Buckley and new Minister for Finance and fellow native Brian Cowen certainly enjoyed themselves, partying past midnight." I even posted a picture of the two of them together.

    What I had written about the dubious nature of the Referendum Commission's advisers came to the attention of several anti-Lisbon organisations who issued press releases which brought matters to the attention of the media. See:
    BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Commission rejects bias claims
    libertas.eu :: RefCom's independence must be questioned

    Nevertheless I was shocked to read in the Sunday Times this Sunday that Olivia Buckley has been recruited as director of a group calling itself "We Belong" that plans to recruit diverse but like-minded people to make the case for a Yes vote and highlight how Ireland has benefited from its role in Europe. "We Belong"
    Celebrities courted to swing Yes vote on Lisbon treaty - Times Online
    Olivia Buckley is quoted in the article as saying “Many people have expressed an interest. There is a really diverse group of people from business, the arts, sport, law, former politicians and NGOs, who believe they have a role to play.”

    This article is being discussed on another politics.ie thread, but everybody (including the Sunday Times) seem to have forgotten Olivia Buckley's role as running the Referendum Commission information campaign in the first Lisbon Referendum.

    How can it be appropriate for someone who was at the centre of the Referendum Commission's activities in the first Lisbon Referendum to be heading up a group campaigning for a Yes vote in the second Lisbon Referendum? Olivia Buckley's mobile number is on every press release issued by the Referendum Commission. She was involved in the drafting of them and indeed every aspect of the Referendum Commission's activities, including large amounts of information (e.g. legal advice, polling information) available to the Referendum Commission but not to the public.

    Under the Referendum Act 1998, Mr Justice Iarflaith O'Neill who chaired the Referendum Commission for the first Lisbon Referendum was obliged to issue a report to the
    Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on the performance of its functions in respect of the referendum. Mr Justice O'Neill issued his report in December last year, barely within the six month timeframe required under the Referendum Act 1998. The report can be read in full at
    Welcome to the Refcom Website

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr Justice O'Neill did not address anywhere in his report the serious questions that had been raised over the roles of Murray Consultants, and Olivia Buckley in particular, and A&L Goodbody (the Referendum Commission's legal advisers). However, the report does contain a few interesting statements:

    First, the report nowhere says how A&L Goodbody were selected as legal advisers to the Referendum Commission. We know that there was no public tender for such legal advice. The report refers to the Referendum Commission holding its first meeting on 18 March 2008 and having detailed consultations with its legal advisers prior to meeting on 9 April 2008. However, nowhere does it say when and how its legal advisers were selected.

    The selection of A&L Goodbody is particularly incredible given the misrepresentations made by A&L Goodbody about its previous experience of advising Referendum Commissions for previous referenda. Incredibly, on its website EU Law A&L Goodbody continue to claim that it advised the Referendum Commission on the Maastricht Treaty referendum when there was NO Referendum Commission in place for such referendum.

    Secondly, the report says that the closing date for the receipt of tenders for the provision of marketing/management consultancy services to the Referendum Commission was 10 March 2008 and that following the selection process Murray Consultants were selected. However, nowhere does the report say that Murray Consultants were selected by the Referendum Commission itself. Interestingly, the report says that "On 3 April 2008, the Commission formally retained the consortium led by Murray Consultants", with the use of the word "formally" suggesting that Murray Consultants were in fact involved prior to 3 April 2008.

    Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly in the current context, in the acknowledgements section of the report Mr Justice O'Neill says: "As Marketing/Communications Consultant to the Commission, Murray Consultants, and Mr Mark Brennock and Ms Olivia Buckley in particular, played a vital role in ensuring that the various strands of the campaign were delivered on time and in a co-ordinated fashion." This makes it clear the very key role that Olivia Buckley had in the Referendum Commission's work in the first Lisbon Treaty referendum.

    Serious questions must now again be asked about the role played by the Referendum Commission in the first Lisbon Referendum. In particular, the terms upon which and the circumstances in which Murray Consultants and A&L Goodbody were retained must be publicly disclosed. An explanation must be given as to how Olivia Buckley is one year at the centre of a supposedly impartial Referendum Commission and the next is chief executive of a group campaigning for a Yes vote. Details must be given as to what actions will be taken to ensure that it cannot happen again in the future that a Referendum Commission "insider" can abuse their powers in this way. And of course, Olivia Buckley's now declared support for a Yes vote on Lisbon calls into question the basis upon which the Referendum Commission operated in the first Lisbon Referendum and is likely to revive suggestions that Government ministers were sometimes aware of actions taken by the Referendum Commission in advance of the Referendum Commission publicly announcing such actions.

    I do not suggest that Mr Justice O'Neill has acted improperly. However, with the volume of details now coming to light it is clear that he and the other members of the Referendum Commission were been naive and negligent in the performance of their functions. As the politician responsible for oversight of the Referendum Commission it is now incumbent on Minister for the Environment John Gormley to respond to the serious questions raised above - both in the context of the first Lisbon Referendum and in anticipation of the next.
    Thanks for exposing this Stinker!

    The RC came across as weak as water and in some respects the members appeared in over their heads on the subject.

    Can't say I blame them as the thing (LT) is written in gobblygook!
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  5. #15
    Trampas Trampas is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by eurosceptic View Post
    Its funny because for Amsterdam and Nice1 the referendums commissions job was to offer objective arguements both yes and no. For Nice2 it was changed to advertising the referendum and distributing slanted material.
    The remit of the Referendum Commission was changed by the FF/PD govt in the run-up to Christmas 2001 (i.e. between Nice 1 and Nice 2). Few noticed. The timing saw to that, which was of course the intention . The result was a mountain of pro-Nice propaganda from the RC for the second referendum, including a cartoon-like depiction of the EU as a "big Momma" gathering in her East European "children".
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  6. #16
    ibis ibis is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by dot View Post
    gosh! has no-one a political platform in this era of tawdry soundbyte ibis ?
    Nah - just pointing out that the country is so small that cross-over of PR advisers appears to be inevitable even between Yes and No groups (Terry Prone, Naoise Nunn, etc), yet is being treated here as evidence of some kind of conspiracy because it allows the throwing of mud at the Referendum Commission.

    It strikes me that, once again, the No side is engaged in doing their best to destroy the credibility of any neutral body before the referendum, because neutral bodies fail to agree with their hysterical claims.
    Last edited by ibis; 31st May 2009 at 01:13 PM.
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  7. #17
    Horses Horses is offline

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    The Referendum Commission was a joke during the campaign and completely destroyed any credibility it had. If the No side had said the sky is blue and snow is white the commission wouldn't have waited long to say it's all 'lies and misrepresentation'.
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  8. #18
    Destiny's Soldier Destiny's Soldier is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibis View Post
    Nah - just pointing out that the country is so small that cross-over of PR advisers appears to be inevitable even between Yes and No groups (Terry Prone, Naoise Nunn, etc), yet is being treated here as evidence of some kind of conspiracy because it allows the throwing of mud at the Referendum Commission.

    It strikes me that, once again, the No side is engaged in doing their best to destroy the credibility of any neutral body before the referendum, because neutral bodies fail to agree with their hysterical claims.

    God IBIS, you're nothing but a traitor to this country.
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  9. #19
    Trampas Trampas is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by ibis View Post
    It strikes me that, once again, the No side is engaged in doing their best to destroy the credibility of any neutral body before the referendum, because neutral bodies fail to agree with their hysterical claims.

    But of course the RC is not neutral and has not been neutral since December 2001.
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  10. #20
    ibis ibis is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trampas View Post
    But of course the RC is not neutral and has not been neutral since December 2001.
    In the sense that it no longer puts forward every argument, however mad?
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