Libertas Institute

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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]
  • Ireland
Official language
Declan Ganley
Key people
Naoise Nunn, David Cochrane, John McGuirk, James O'Reilly, Norrie Keane, Martina Higgins.

Mission statement[edit]

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[9]
Associated with Rivada Networks.[10]
John McGuirk Communications Director[10] No longer in post[6]
Caroline Simons Senior Spokesperson[11]


The Libertas Charter (archived here) defined what was considered to be Europe's traditional values and influences, asserted what citizens' rights and responsibilities were, acknowledged the EU's role since WWII, stated that the present EU's structure was inherently undemocratic and unaccountable, and pledged to create a popular movement to debate Europe's future.[12]

The charter was signed by the following:

Press releases[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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, and the Libertas Institute website was redirected to that party's website.


  1. ^ a b The CRO entry for the Libertas Institute gives these details:
    • Type: Company,
    • Number: 428569
    • Name: The Libertas Institute Limited,
    • Address: Moyne Park, Tuam, County Galway, Ireland
    • Registered: 24 October 2006,


  1. ^ "Libertas Institute:Mission Statement" Libertas Institute website, retrieved via 20071117014019 entry on the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Most Libertas founders work for firm with military links", Irish Times, Tuesday, 20 May 2008
  3. ^ a b c "Ganley Group:Management team" Archived 6 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine., from the Ganley group website
  4. ^ a b "Rivada Networks:Key Personnel" Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine. from the Rivada Networks website
  5. ^ a b c "Libertas Institute:Management" Libertas Institute website, retrieved via 20071117014217 entry on the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Substantial amount of funding for Libertas came from Ganley", Irish Times, Friday, 3 October 2008
  7. ^ "Nationality of Libertas founder was listed as British in UK records", Irish Times, Monday, 22 September 2008
  8. ^ "Libertas Staff" Libertas Institute website, retrieved via 20080122115509 entry on the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Member profile of David Cochrane on
  10. ^ a b "Libertas executive director is Rivada employee", Irish Times, Saturday, 24 May 2008
  11. ^ "Ganley insists 'this is a pro-European message'" Irish Times, Saturday, 14 June 2008
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Libertas Institute:Charter" Libertas Institute website, retrieved via 20071117014059 entry on the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ a b "Libertas Expresses Outrage at Sarkozy's Assault on Single Market" Libertas Institute press release, 22 June 2007, retrieved via 20070627043906 entry on the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Libertas Institute:Home" Libertas Institute website, retrieved via 20070630145757 entry on the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "An Anticompetitive Europe Must Not Rise", Business Week, 16 July 2007
  16. ^ "Self Serving US Military Agenda of Messrs Ganley and McEvaddy" Archived 27 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Press Release, 25 April 2008
  17. ^ "Man who says no" Irish Independent, Saturday 7 June 2008
  18. ^ "Opening of September II plenary session: Minute of silence for victim of ETA bombing / Funding of the No campaign in Ireland", European Parliament press release, 22 September 2008
  19. ^ "MEPs seeking source of Libertas funding", Jamie Smyth, Irish Times, 23 September 2008
  20. ^ "Ireland Takes the EU Spotlight" Washington Post, 12 June 2008
  21. ^ "On the mysterious trail of 'Mr No'", Irish Times, 31 May 2008
  22. ^ a b c "Comment: Ganley cashed in on our ‘kick the cat’ mood "[permanent dead link], Sunday Business Post, Sunday, 15 June 2008
  23. ^ "Libertas and its letters from Austria". The Sunday Business Post. 25 May 2008. 
  24. ^ RTÉ news – Martin accuses Libertas over Cowen criticism – Tuesday, 20 May 2008
  25. ^ a b c "Third Parties" Archived 27 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine. from the Standards in Public Office Commission/Coimisiún um Chaighdeáin in Oifigí Poiblí website
  26. ^ "Libertas Energy Initiative – European Energy Innovation Fund" Libertas Institute website, retrieved via 20080122130832 entry on the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ " – The Lisbon Treaty" Libertas Institute website, retrieved via 20080122112042 entry on the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "Anti-Lisbon treaty campaign is launched". RTÉ News. 15 June 2008. 
  29. ^ Kelly, Fiach (12 March 2008). "Treaty camps matching each other in €3.5m splurge on poll". Irish Independent. 
  30. ^ a b Brady, Hugo. 2008. "Will the Irish Guillotine Lisbon?". Centre for European Reform Briefing Note. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  31. ^ "McEvaddy joins Lisbon 'no' campaign", RTÉ News, 20 April 2008
  32. ^ a b "Libertas denies breach of electoral donations law", Irish Times, Wednesday, 11 June 2008
  33. ^ a b "What next after Lisbon fallout?" – Irish Times, Tuesday, June 17, 2008
  34. ^ "EU Leaders Sign Treaty, Plan to Avoid Popular Votes (Update2)", Bloomberg, 13 December 2007
  35. ^ a b c "Lisbon: Don’t say yes without reading treaty" Archived 22 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Sligo Weekender, 22 April 2008
  36. ^ "Libertas leader attacked CAP", Irish Independent, Saturday 3 May 2008
  37. ^ REFERENDUM DIGEST, Irish Times, Monday, 12 May 2008
  38. ^ "Ganley defends comments on detention of young children", Irish Times, Friday, 30 May 2008
  39. ^ "The smart people of Ireland have No excuse, says Libertas", Irish Times, Thursday, 29 May 2008
  40. ^ REFERENDUM DIGEST, Irish Times, Saturday, 31 May 2008
  41. ^ REFERENDUM DIGEST, Irish Times, Monday, 2 June 2008
  42. ^ "Ganley says tax issue is key to Libertas campaign", Irish Times, Tuesday, 3 June 2008
  43. ^ a b c d REFERENDUM DIGEST, Irish Times, Monday, 9 June 2008
  44. ^ "Libertas buys Cowen a ticket to Brussels", RTÉ News, Monday, 9 June 2008
  45. ^ REFERENDUM DIGEST, Irish Times, Tuesday, 3 June 2008
  46. ^ "Lisbon Treaty will not curb veto rights on tax, says commission". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 May 2008. 
  47. ^ Leahy, Pat. "Irish Business News". The Sunday Business Post. Retrieved 8 May 2008. [dead link]
  48. ^ "12 June pencilled in as date for Lisbon Treaty vote". 2 April 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 
  49. ^ "Results received at the Central Count Centre for the Referendum on The Lisbon Treaty". Referendum Returning Officer, 13 June 2008. Archived from the original on 19 June 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 

External links[edit]