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Friday, May 23, 2008

Dublin Could Yet Torpedo Lisbon



This is the banner on the home page of Libertas, the Irish organisation running the 'NO' campaign prior to the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, coming up next month. The leader of Libertas is 39 year old Declan Ganley (pictured below), and he's doing a storming job, catching out Irish government Ministers who are misleading the people about the terms of the Lisbon Treaty (click on Libertas for details), especially as to the loss of Ireland's veto to QMV over any terms that the EU agrees to in WTO negotiations.

Farmers are worried. In Ireland farming carries political clout, as it is a far bigger part of the economy than in Britain, for example.

'Stop lecturing us and telling us how grateful we should be,' said one farmer.

'Why would we support an institution that's taking away our livelihood?' said another, according to today's WSJ.

The WSJ lists out the areas of concern as follows -

Farmers are concerned that they will be forced to compete with cheaper imports, as well as seeing their EU subsidies reduced at the same time. Trade Unions fear that the Treaty will weaken their members' rights. Peace activists say that the Treaty will force Ireland to beef up its military, and anti-abortion groups worry that the Treaty will force Ireland to alter its anti-abortion stance.

The Yes campaign denies that any of these fears are necessary. But all in Ireland are aware that the competitive tax regime in Ireland with the 12.5% Corporation Tax has done a lot to attract business and FDI into Ireland. If tax harmonisation policy becomes enforceable from measures brought in subsequent to Lisbon, again by QMV, which they will, then Ireland's economic competitiveness could start to seep away.

The country is already suffering from a property price downturn and rising interest rates, and the Irish are not so willing to suspend their doubts about the EU as they were. earlier in May a poll put the YES and the NO votes neck and neck, but with 30% undecided. All the big parties are backing the Treaty, as is the media, but the lone voices of Declan Ganley and Libertas, backed by Sinn Fein might yet pull off the vote. The battle is on.

UPDATE - Dan Hannan in this week's Spectator is upbeat about the chances of Lisbon being sunk by the Irish referendum HERE.

And his colleague Roger Helmer MEP East Midlands (Conservative) has this to say in his monthly newsletter -

The mood in Ireland is swinging against the Yes Campaign. A recent poll of small businessmen in Ireland showed 74% against. Ten thousand Irish farmers marched in Dublin against the Lisbon Treaty. They are worried about Peter Mandelson's world trade position. Recently Mandy called the Irish farmers "liars". This was headlined in Irish papers. You can imagine how such a comment from an English Commissioner was received. One Irish NO Campaigner called Mandelson "The gift that keeps on giving".

The Yes side are getting very worried, in Dublin and in Brussels. They can't move the vote to a later date, because they know that developments under the French Presidency (July/Dec '08), especially on tax and agriculture, will strengthen the NO vote.
It is difficult to see how the EU could respond to a NO vote in Ireland, but it would be a huge boost for our cause. Fingers crossed for June 12th..

An Irish Take on the Lisbon Treaty

In the (Irish) Sunday Business Post, Tom McGurk argued, "If you thought the Maastricht and Nice masterpieces needed a whole afternoon in a political seminar to understand, then try Lisbon. It is the Finnegans Wake of EU treaties, a master-class in confusion and obscurity. It would be funny if it weren't so serious; indeed, were any student in Europe to submit the Lisbon Treaty as an academic political thesis, they might well be thrown out of their faculty."


The last word should go to a thoughtful Irishman, Anthony Coughlan, who explains in simple terms what Lisbon would mean for Ireland, if it were to be ratified. Read HERE.

1 comment:

Robert O'Coillean said...

As an Irishman of the diaspora (all four of my grandparents were of Irish descent) I am vitally interested in the present and, especially, the future of my home land. This issue of the Lisbon Treaty frightens me to death! I'm afraid that too many of my brothers and sisters do not realize that the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is in effect a decision equal to new elections in Ireland. The decision on ratifying the Lisbon Treaty is - upon transferring the current powers of the nation state of Ireland to the federal state in Brussels – it is a decision on accepting or rejecting the permanent construction of A NEW FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENT OVER IRELAND. To do so will be to utterly discard on the rubbish heap of history all the sacrifices of our ancestors, both the suffering against British oppression and the fighting for freedom in which so many lives were lost.

This is a crucial time in Irish history - a time when you/we will decide whether to march on under your/our own strength and character and leadership or to surrender your/our rights, lives, and fate to others who have, upon every past opportunity, either turned their backs on Ireland in her need or swooped in to take advantage of her riches. Which is exactly what is happening now. Ireland (God bless her forever!) has risen, by her own strength of character and moral fortitude and by God's kind grace, far above her past of subjection and base poverty to a point where she is a jewel in the crown of Europe and the world. Ireland has earned all her scars and medals of valour and has come into her own - at last. (One might quote of Ireland as well, "Free at last, free at last! Thank God almighty, we're free at last!")

And now, in the time of finally enjoying the fruits of our hard-won, blood-bought freedoms and successes, Ireland considers handing over her self-mastery to yet another foreign dictator! God forbid it! Let Ireland be Ireland, not some small dot on the EU map. Let Ireland be Ireland, not another chattel within another kingdom - for such is the becoming EU/EC. Never forget the sacrifices made by our (OUR) grandparents for the possibility of self-rule for Ireland. We are Ireland! We are not Europeans - we never have been. We were at best pets, at worst slaves of Europeans. Ireland has suffered too long to throw away her freedom and self-sufficiency on yet another European master race. We are Ireland!

Look long and hard at America and learn from her mistakes. Under her own power, the United States stood together by choice. Today, we have given up the idea of mutually beneficial partnership among the member states and have become subjects to a dictatorial Federal Government who seeks to rip our choice from us - from freedom of religion to freedom of choice to freedom of speech. American is becoming what the EU would march straight into, from the beginning.

Ireland, my Ireland, whom I learned to pray for and to love from my mother's knee and my father's stories, remember the source of your strength in your tortured past - return to your faith and your moral sense of self. God lead you through 700 years of tribulation and abject slavery. Your/our sense of Irish identity apart from that of the rest of the world kept us unified and alive during years of deprivation and attempted genocide. Please, please, please don't give all that up now for a new, stronger master.

We, the children of your diaspora, are counting on you to safeguard our heritage and our home. Guard and keep them from another outsider who seeks to steal and destroy our culture. We are counting on you. Please don't let us down. Remain independent and free and self-governing. Please.

We are Ireland!