A sensational war of words has erupted between two rival Irish European Union politicians, with one accusing the other of being a “puppet of the U.S military.”
Jim Higgins, a Member of the European Parliament for the Irish political party Fine Gael, has said that businessman and politician Declan Ganley is doing the U.S military’s bidding.
Higgins has also complained that Ganley has refused to explain how much money he has given to Liberatas, the anti-European Union party Ganley founded.
Ganley is challenging Higgins for his seat in the European Parliament elections, which are to be held in June.
Ganley burst on to the political scene out of nowhere last year, when he campaigned against the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty in a referendum held in Ireland last year.
The fact that Libertas refused to disclose the source of its funding led many to speculate that Ganley, a self-made millionaire, was the main funder.
Some of his companies do business with the U.S military, with one company supplying it with emergency response systems. This has provoked accusations that he is a shady figure, and that his organization is being funded by money coming from abroad.
Ganley was a passionate and persuasive figure on the “No” side in the Lisbon Treaty referendum, when he set up the organization Libertas.
In part thanks to his effectiveness as a campaigner, the Lisbon Treaty was rejected by Irish voters, leading to a European Union crisis. Under its rules, all countries must agree to the treaty for it to proceed. The idea of holding another referendum in Ireland on the treaty is a very strong possibility.
The Lisbon Treaty would have altered the structure of the Union. Its critics said that the Lisbon Treaty would have given more power from individual countries to the European Union, enhancing a so-called “democracy deficit.” Those in favor of the treaty said that it would allow the Union, which has expanded greatly over the years, to function more effectively.
Libertas has now spread beyond Ireland. Ganley told Irish TV that it would field 100 candidates across 27 states in the forthcoming European Parliament election. They will run on an anti-European Union integration platform.
He acknowledged that his wealth had made his anti-Lisbon Treaty possible, but said that there were “ridiculous” figures being “bandied about” over his personal contributions to Libertas.
A spokesman for Ganley didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment.