Ireland pledges better campaign for Lisbon re-run

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland will need to run a more intensive campaign in favour of the Lisbon treaty than last year when voters rejected the European Union's reform pact, Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said on Tuesday.

"There can be no grounds for complacency surrounding the Lisbon Treaty, despite encouraging signs in recent opinion polls," Martin said in a statement.

An Irish Times' survey on Monday showed 52 percent of respondents would vote Yes, up one percentage point from a previous poll in February, while 29 percent say they would vote No, a drop of four percentage points.

Despite growing dissatisfaction with the government, Irish voters are warming to the Lisbon Treaty, seeing Brussels as an economic safety net during the recession.

The government is hoping concessions on military neutrality, taxation and retaining Ireland's right to keep its own commissioner, will ensure a Yes vote in an autumn poll.

But the Green Party, the junior coalition partners of Martin's Fianna Fail, has warned there is a risk the government could get too distracted by twin banking and fiscal crises to run a timely and thorough campaign.

Lack of sufficient information about the treaty was cited as the main reason for the victory of the "No" side last June and the accord has remained far from the centre of Ireland's political agenda this year.

"This time round, we will all need to up our game," Martin said. "We will all need to do more and to do it better, if we are to get the result that we sincerely believe to be in the interests of Ireland."

(Reporting by Andras Gergely; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

Article Published: 19/05/2009