Workers’ Rights, Blair Horan & RTE

  Mr Blair Horan, General Secretary of the Civil and Public Services Union elevated a minor textual error in a quote from the Charter of Fundamental Rights into a slanderous allegation that Joe Higgins MEP ‘falsified’ and ‘forged’ the Charter of Fundamental Rights in order ‘to suit his purpose.’


Mr Blair Horan, General Secretary of the Civil and Public Services Union elevated a minor textual error in a quote from the Charter of Fundamental Rights into a slanderous allegation that Joe Higgins MEP ‘falsified’ and ‘forged’ the Charter of Fundamental Rights in order ‘to suit his purpose.’

Mr Horan and his colleagues in the ‘Yes’ campaign rather than engaging in a serious debate on the true implications of the Lisbon Treaty with regard to workers’ rights are instead intent on muddying the waters.

We ask Blair Horan, are we lying when we saying that Article 52 of the Charter – all seven paragraphs of it – places limits on workers’ rights?

Is he saying that we are lying when we highlight the recent record of the European Court of Justice, the final arbiter in interpreting treaties, in handing down decisions justifying the exploitation of workers posted from areas of low pay?

Speaking on RTE Mr Horan said that “It doesn’t mean that the Charter is constrained by competition policy in the Treaty and Joe Higgins has falsified Article 52 in his press releases to suggest that” Mr Horan is absolutely wrong here.

Article 52, which has 7 paragraphs absolutely does provide for the constraining of rights for competition purposes when it says:

‘Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.’ ( From Art 52, Par 1)

This is added to by Paragraph 7 which says that

‘The Explanations drawn up as a way of providing guidance in the interpretation of this Charter shall be given due regard by the courts of the Union of the Member States.’

These Explanations make clear that limitations may be made on rights based on the case law of the European Court of Justice.

We call on Blair Horan and the Charter Group debate these issues with us at a major Public Meeting and let working people themselves decide on the truth of these issues.

Questions to RTE and Sean Whelan, Europe Correspondent

Why did RTE TV News at 1.00pm, 6.00pm and 9.00pm News on Wednesday September 9th, give such massive prominence to Mr Blair Horan using a minor textual error in a press statement of the week before , to launch a slanderous accusations of falsification and ‘forgery’ against Joe Higgins MEP?

(By contrast the Press conference on workers’ rights hosted by Joe Higgins and the Socialist Party on Monday, September 7, was only shown on Six One News and dropped in the Nine O’Clock News)

Why did Sean Whelan repeat without qualification Mr Horan’s allegation that Joe Higgins had changed to wording of the Charter in his website and press releases in view of the following:

  • On Monday September 7th, Sean Whelan attended a press conference in the Davenport Hotel hosted by Joe Higgins and the Socialist Party where the press statement he was given along with other journalists had the text from Article 52 (2000 version) without the textual error.
  • In his own report on Wednesday September 9th while he is reporting Mr Horan’s allegations the RTE report actually shows a display from the Socialist Party press conference of Article 52 (2000 version) without the textual error
  • Why did Sean Whelan not report that in Blair Horan’s own press statement which quotes Article 52 paragraph 2 from the 2000 version as the ‘correct version’ ,which was a mistake? The correct version was that promulgated December 14th, 2007 and was actually shown in Sean Whelan’s broadcast.

In view of the seriousness of the slanders of Mr Horan why had RTE not asked Joe Higgins to appear on camera to respond to the allegation? Instead Sean Whelan quoted from a short telephone conversation.


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