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Libertas Institute (Ireland)

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Libertas Institute (Ireland)

This article is about Declan Ganley's Libertas between October 2006 and June 2008. See also For other uses of the term, see Libertas.

The Libertas Institute is a lobby group that along with others successfully campaigned for a "no" vote in the 2008 referendum in Ireland on the Treaty of Lisbon.

Libertas Institute
Logo of the Libertas Institute.
Formation 24 October 2006[nb 1]
Type anti Lisbon Treaty advocacy group
Headquarters Moyne Park, Tuam, County Galway, Ireland[nb 1]
Location Ireland
Official languages English
President Declan Ganley
Key people Naoise Nunn, David Cochrane, John McGuirk, James O'Reilly, Norrie Keane, Martina Higgins.

Mission statement

Its mission statement was " initiate and provoke enlightened discussion on the European Union, its relevance to its member states and peoples and its role in World affairs having regard to our shared values of peace, democracy, individual liberty and free markets..."[1]


The founders of the Libertas Institute were:

Founder Notes
Declan Ganley[2] Associated with Ganley Group[3] and Rivada Networks.[4]
Naoise Nunn[2] Associated with Rivada Networks.[2]
James O'Reilly[2] Associated with Ganley Group[3] and Rivada Networks.[2][4]
Norrie Keane[2] Associated with Rivada Networks.[2]
Martina Higgins[2] Associated with Ganley Group[3] and Rivada Networks.[2]
Seán Ganley[2] Brother of Declan.[2]
Dr. Chris Coughlan Later president of the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland[2]


Libertas Institute personnel included:

Name Job(s) Notes
Declan Ganley President[5] Founder
Naoise Nunn Executive Director[5] No longer in post[6][7]
David Cochrane Publishing Director,[5]
later Campaign Manager[8]
Irish political blogger and editor on
John McGuirk Communications Director[10] No longer in post[6]
Caroline Simons Senior Spokesperson[11]


The Libertas Charter (archived

The charter was signed by the following:

  • Declan J. Ganley[12]
  • Naoise Nunn[12]
  • Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev[12]
  • Paul MacDonnell[12]
  • Carlos Rodriguez[12]
  • Dr. Jana Hybaskowa, MEP[12]
  • Ivan Gabal[12]
  • Dr. Chris Coughlan[12]
  • Professor Roger Downer[12]
  • Artur Osuchowski[12]
  • Stephen Nolan[12]
  • Dr. Eamonn Conway[12]
  • Eamonn Cregan[12]
  • Gerard Lawless[12]
  • Diego Solana[12]
  • Francis O'Flaherty[12]
  • James O'Reilly[12]
  • David Cochrane[12]
  • Keith O'Grady[12]
  • Fiona Fallon[12]
  • Zoltan Angyal[12]
  • Professor Antonio Bar Cendón[12]
  • Michael McCann[12]

Press releases

The first Libertas Institute press release archived on the Wayback Machine dates to 22 June 2007.[13][14] It concerned French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Treaty of Lisbon's clause regarding free and undistorted competition:[13] an article by Ganley dated 16 July 2007 in Business Week covered similar themes.[15] The Libertas Institute continued to release press releases during its existence.

Commonality with other organisations

Libertas is registered at Moyne Park, Tuam, County Galway along with other organisations associated with Libertas and/or Declan Ganley.[16][17][18][19][20][21] A list of organisations associated with and/or Declan Ganley is given here.



2007 expenditure by Libertas Institute Ltd according to its accounts was:

Date Description
2007–08 Room hire in the Davenport Hotel to discuss strategy[6]
2007–12 Room hire, Merrion Hotel, Dublin for a press conference[6]
2007–12 Photocall & billboard outside Merrion Hotel, Dublin[6]
2007–12 Hire of PR firm Bracken PR, employer of John McGuirk[6]

The deadline for submitting a copy of its 2008 bank statement to SIPO was 31 March 2009.[22]

Expenditure during the Lisbon I campaign was estimated at "approximately €800,000",[6] "exceeded €1 million",[6] or "€1.3 million",[6][22] or "€1.8 million".[22]


The Libertas Institute had a loan facility with Ganley, and by 3 October 2008 it had used €200,000 of this money.[6] Since 1 January 2008, it also had the facility to receive public donations[6] via its website. Ganley and his wife (Delia Mary Ganley, née Paterek) also donated the maximum amount of €6,300 each.[23] Libertas stated that its donors were "100% Irish".[24]


The Libertas Institute was a "third party" for the purposes of political fundraising.[6] Regulation of such is monitored by the Standards in Public Office Commission which imposed a donations limit of €5,348 per donor per year,[6] rising to €6,348.69 per donor per year in 2009,[25] imposes a limit of €126.97 for any given anonymous donation,[25] and disallows any donation from any non-Irish citizens resident outside the island of Ireland.[25]


The Libertas Institute advocated a European Energy Innovation Fund intended to licence and fund carbon-neutral energy producers, the funding deriving from auctions of CO2 emissions allowances.[26] It also deprecated the Treaty of Lisbon[27] and advocated a "no" vote in Lisbon I, the first Irish referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon.

Libertas in the Lisbon I campaign

Main article: Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2008 (Ireland)

On 12 March 2008, Libertas launched a "no" campaign called "Facts, not politics"[28] and stated that they expected to spend in the region of €1.5m on the campaign.[29] The campaign targeted wavering moderates,[30] the most critical votes for the referendum.[30] The campaign was joined by businessman Ulick McEvaddy on 20 April 2008.[31] Activities undertaken by Libertas during the referendum were as follows:

Date Note
2007–12 to 2008–06 Libertas distribute 35,000[32] copies of "The Lisbon Treaty, the Readable Version", a text edited by MEP Jens-Peter Bonde[33] and produced by the Foundation for EU Democracy,[32][33] the political foundation at European level affiliated to the EUDemocrats, the political party at European level headed at the time by MEP Jens-Peter Bonde
2007‑12‑13 Ganley speaks at press conference, Dublin.[34]
2008‑04‑21 Ganley campaigns in Castlebar,[35] Sligo[35] and Letterkenny.[35]
2008‑04‑28 John McGuirk defends on the radio Ganley's rejection of the CAP.[36]
2008‑05‑12 Ganley spoke at a Forum on Europe regional meeting, Hotel Meyrick, Galway.[37]
2008‑05‑28 Ganley takes part in a televised debate and states that the Treaty of Lisbon allows the detention of three-year-old children[38]
2008‑05‑29 Ganley campaigns in Sligo.[39]
2008‑05‑31 Ganley speaks at "The Lisbon Treaty – a Modest Proposal or a Faustian Pact" debate.[40]
2008‑06‑02 Press call, Buswells Hotel, Dublin.[41] Ganley stated that a "yes" vote would jeopardise Ireland's corporate tax and that "a No vote would allow the Government to negotiate a 'better deal' for Ireland".[42]
2008‑06‑09 Libertas attend European movement debate in ESB, Dublin[43]
2008‑06‑09 Libertas canvass in Tallaght[43]
2008‑06‑09 Libertas attend Rock The Vote debate, Dublin[43]
2008‑06‑09 Ganley appears on RTÉ's Questions and Answers.[43]
2008‑06‑09 Ganley buys tickets to Brussels for Brian Cowen, Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore[44]
2008‑06‑12 Ganley spoke at a public meeting in Ranelagh.[45]

Several politicians, including Minister of State for European Affairs Dick Roche, clashed with the group's campaign stance[46] but the Sunday Business Post reported that the group's efforts at projecting its warnings about the treaty in the media were "hugely successful".[47]

The referendum was held on 12 June 2008[48] and defeated by 53.4% to 46.6%, with a turnout of 53.1%.[49]


Following the referendum, attention shifted to Ganley's new political party was redirected to that party's website.


  1. Number: 428569
  2. Name: The Libertas Institute Limited,
  3. Address: Moyne Park, Tuam, County Galway, Ireland
  4. Registered: 24 October 2006,


External links

  • Who is Declan Ganley? website
  • Wayback Machine.
  • Wayback Machine
  • Wayback Machine
  • David Cochrane editor
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