Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Which is more democratic?

The following email was sent by me to Ms Monica Frassoni (pictured left), an Italian politician and Italian Green Party representative, who is also co-chair of the European Greens-European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament.

I sent the email after hearing her comments in this video (just after the two minute mark).

Dear Ms Frassoni,

I hope this email reaches you. I write to you from Ireland with regards to some comments I heard you make in the European parliament. You said and I quote:

"I respect the Irish vote. But no one is ever going to convince me that a referendum where half the population participated is more democratic than parliamentary ratification."

I must say as someone who voted No in that referendum it doesn't sound to me like you do respect the Irish vote. I hope I am very much mistaken on that. I must point out to you that it was considered quite a good turnout, certainly in comparison to previous EU treaty referendums. I would suspect too that if the result of the referendum had been different, you would have no issue whatsoever with the size of the turnout. Again, I hope I am mistaken on this.

The primary reason for my letter though Ms Frassoni is I'd like you to answer me the following question which has troubled me greatly since I heard your remarks:

How is parliamentary ratification, where none of the population participates, considered more democratic in your mind than a referendum which in fact actually allows for the population to participate?

I look forward to hearing your response.

Best wishes...etc.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Barack Obama, the US and values...

I'm sure there is a feeling amongst many of you that I haven't quite covered the Lisbon Treaty in enough detail here on United Irelander. I'm sure a lot of you are baffled as to where I stand on that issue for which I apologise.

However I figured I'd turn my attention at this point in time to the United States who, as we all know, have their own election concerns to deal with. Obviously the US presidential race will be followed with great interest by many countries with Democratic candidate Barack Obama squaring off against his Republican counterpart John McCain.

In the past I haven't followed US presidential races with great interest until the eve of the election itself, but this time, like many people, I've been following the campaign closely as it's been very intriguing. I won't pretend to be an expert on American politics or claim that I know a great deal about the day-to-day worries that grip the nation at this moment in time. Admittedly I view the whole affair from an emerald prism and look upon the election with a view as to how it will affect my country and the rest of the world as a whole.

I must say however that I have found myself becoming increasingly impressed with Barack Obama and would add myself to the growing list of people who admire the innate charisma of the man.

I must say too that I wasn't terribly concerned with who would win the Democratic nomination between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I've found Obama a likeable soul, but I also remember the good work the Clintons did for the Irish peace process and felt that the Clintons in the White House would have been good from this island's perspective. A woman running the US might have been good too for America. (then again there were some Brits who said that about Thatcher and look how that turned out!) Overall I was pretty much on the fence for that whole situation but with Obama getting the nod from Democratic supporters I've since taken the time to read up on the guy and I've been most impressed.

I've been reading a book of his that I picked up in Easons called The Audacity of Hope and the Senator certainly writes a damn good book. He essentially outlines his political philosophies and I've found many of them to be both progressive as well as profound. I've so far only read the first couple of chapters in the book although perhaps I'll write a review of it when I'm done. One quote of his that I found particularly insightful was this passage from his chapter on values. It might not be considered a revolutionary viewpoint but in the world of politics I consider it very refreshing. He writes:

"I am obligated to try to see the world through George Bush's eyes, no matter how much I may disagree with him. That's what empathy does - it calls us all to task, the conservative and the liberal, the powerful and the powerless, the oppressed and the oppressor. We are all shaken out of our complacency. We are all forced beyond our limited vision.

"No one is exempt from the call to find common ground.

"Of course, in the end a sense of mutual understanding isn't enough. After all, talk is cheap; like any value, empathy must be acted upon. When I was a community organizer back in the eighties, I would often challenge neighborhood leaders by asking them where they put their time, energy and money. Those are the true tests of what we value, I'd tell them, regardless of what we like to tell ourselves. If we aren't willing to pay a price for our values, if we aren't willing to make some sacrifices in order to realize them, then we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in them at all."

I'm sure this has been said about every Democratic nominee put forward over the past few decades but I honestly see a bit of JFK in the man. I'm sure there's at least a few people in Offaly who would think just as highly of him since he apparently has Irish roots there. Poor guy. (joke)

With regards to McCain, I wouldn't be too down on him. I've seen him a few times on TV and I think he's one of the good guys. I know there are many fundamentalist Christians in America who consider McCain to be too liberal-leaning for their liking which would indicate to me that McCain can't be all that bad! I have a feeling that the US in the end will endorse McCain as president as I'm not sure if certain US states are quite ready yet for a black man to run their country. It's a shame race has to be an issue but let's be honest, it will be.

Personally though I'll be looking on and wishing Senator Obama well. I feel he is an articulate, thoughtful and genial sort. If one compares the charm of Mr Obama to our own Mr Cowen, it's kind of like comparing Frank Sinatra to Frankenstein. I feel a President Obama in the White House would be a breath of fresh air for America and that he would repair much of the damage done to his nation by his predecessor.

It will be up to Americans to decide their own fate but I just hope they make up their minds based upon the issues at hand and not upon the skin colour of the respective candidates.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Why did the young people vote No?

I see a lot of people have been discussing the poor campaign put forward by the Yes side for the Lisbon Treaty on the back of new research which shows a majority of voters, including a majority of those who voted in favour, found the No campaign more convincing.

RTE report that 68% of all voters, and 57% of those who voted Yes, thought the No campaign was stronger. The results were from a Eurobarometer telephone poll of 2,000 adults.

What I found particularly interesting though was the fact that the poll found 65% of young people aged 18 to 24 were more likely to have voted No.

Hmm, I wonder why that is? I mean it's hard to believe the Yes side lost considering they put forward such intelligent ads like these...

Strange that such thought-provoking advertisements didn't resonate with the young folk of the country. I mean we're being told that many No voters voted the way they did because they didn't know what the Treaty was about, and clearly these ads endeavoured to educate and inform the public in a frank, straightforward and mature manner. Where did it all go wrong then?


Friday, June 20, 2008


'Irish are bloody fools' - Sarkozy

It just gets more unbelievable by the day. Now the EU have resorted to insulting us.

'Bloody fools' is what Nicolas Sarkozy is reported to have told his aides according to le Canard Enchaîné weekly, say The Times.

Following the result, Sarkozy fumed about the Irish:

"They are bloody fools. They have been stuffing their faces at Europe's expense for years and now they dump us in the shit."

The Times goes on to say:

"He then ordered his government to play down the 'no', proceed with their plans and find ways to save the treaty. "We have to manage the Irish 'no' with calm, with sang-froid and neither dramatise nor minimise it," he said last weekend.

"The French "hyper-president" is determined to make the Irish vote a second time on the treaty, if possible even before European Parliament elections next June.

"Mr Sarkozy, who was one of the brokers of the "mini-treaty" last June, has ruled out any rewriting of the text, which he hopes will be ratified by all 26 other states. He is asking Brian Cowen, the Prime Minister, to outline the guarantees Ireland would need to approve the treaty."

I'd like anybody who voted Yes in the referendum to justify this kind of behaviour because, to be honest, I'm amazed that my country can be faced with such bullying in this day and age. If Brian Cowen had any balls he'd tell these guys where to stick their Treaty.

The Times adds that the EU are using the British ratification of the Treaty, which was made official on Thursday morning, as justification for pushing ahead with the Lisbon Treaty. Here's what Barroso the clown, European Commission president had to say:

"I would like to thank the Government and Parliament for the constant support for the new Treaty during the negotiation and ratification process.

"The Treaty of Lisbon has now been approved by nineteen member states. I believe it is important that all member states express their position on the Treaty of Lisbon and I call on all of those that have not ratified the Treaty to continue the ratification process."

And here's our potty friend Hans-Gert Pottering, president of the European Parliament, adding his two cents:

"This shows that the Lisbon Treaty is very much alive."

This was echoed by Janez Jansa, the Slovenian Prime Minister who is chairing the summit, who said that British ratification...

"proves that it is still a living document."

So not only do the EU ignore our democratic wishes, they proceed to view us as 'fools' who 'stuff our faces' and they feel that they can push ahead with their plans by backing us into a corner.

Any attempt to foist a repeat referendum upon us must surely now be opposed by Irish people as a matter of principle. They are an utterly monstrous bunch.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


How do voters kill off the Treaty?

A fascinating interview here from BBC's Newsnight programme featuring European Commission Vice President Margot Wallström repeatedly avoiding the interviewer's simple question - what do voters have to do to kill off the Treaty? You can sense the interviewer's exasperation as he tries to get Ms Wallström to deal with the issue. Alas, she's just as ignorant as the rest of them.

What I particularly like though comes about forty seconds in...

Interviewer: "Presumably they (the Irish) voted No 'cos they don't like the Treaty?"

Ms Wallström: "Well you don't know that."

Just about sums everything up really.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


EU must be Potty...

The Lisbon Treaty rejection from last week was today debated in the European parliament in Brussels and I note that the president of the parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, wasted no time at all ignoring the result of the Irish vote and insisting that ratification MUST continue.
There is an opinion piece here from the potty Pöttering outlining his position on the Treaty and it is sorry stuff indeed. I figured I'd look at the president's comments in detail. He writes:

"On June 12, 2008 the citizens of Ireland voted "no" to the Lisbon Treaty. A detailed analysis will be needed of how this result came about and what caused the Irish, who have benefited from the European Union more than almost any other country, to vote this way."

Well Hans I suggest you speak to those from the No side then to find out the main concerns. Will you do this? I doubt it.

"At first glance it seems that the "no" vote resulted for contradictory reasons: Some business people favored a "no" because they felt their economic freedoms were under threat; others, such as some trade unionists, feared that the treaty didn't pay enough attention to the social system. Yet others even believed that abortion would be made easier by the treaty or that the Irish tax system would be put in question."

Nothing to say about the sovereignty issue, then? I reckon that played a considerable part for most people as you well know.

"As French General Charles de Gaulle once said, in a referendum answers are given to questions that were not asked. I would not go as far as that, but there is a kernel of truth in that statement. What really motivated the Irish people, why they did not believe the European Union was going into the future on the right path with this treaty, remains to be analyzed in detail."

Ah I see. So the answer we gave had nothing to do with the question asked. It all makes perfect sense now. Maybe we voted No because we didn't like the font used on the paper? Could that be it, Hans?

"The Lisbon Reform Treaty is a huge step forward and we should not give it up."

Even though French, Dutch and now Irish voters have expressed in the past three years an opposition to the ideas? The Treaty required unanimous support and you don't have that. Why on earth should you not give up? Are you democrats or not?

"Compared to the existing Treaty of Nice, the reform treaty offers many advantages that one cannot deny: Lisbon grants the EU more democracy, greater ability to act and greater transparency."

Yeah it's a lot better than Nice. Wait, wasn't that another Treaty we in Ireland rejected and then had foisted on us a second time because we were told it was so great? As for granting "more democracy", the EU's behaviour in recent days would suggest otherwise!

Thumbs up for fascism

"Lisbon allows citizens of the European Union a power of initiative in relation to the European Institutions what will make democracy on the EU level more vital. More Europe will not mean less space for decision-making on the local level."

A power of initiative? When you are effectively ignoring my vote now? Do you think they generally believe this crap or are they just taking the mickey?

"On the contrary: The Treaty of Lisbon guarantees local self-government."

Why do we need a Treaty for that?

"The Lisbon Treaty is the answer to justified criticisms that citizens have made of the European Union's shortcomings."

I would say the reaction to the Lisbon Treaty rejection answers justified criticisms that citizens have made of the EU's shortcomings.

"This treaty brings the European Union closer to its citizens."

Hardly, when you refuse to take on board the wishes of citizens!

"We must make it perfectly clear that the adoption of the reform treaty is an absolute necessity to enable the European Union to defend its values and interests in the 21st century."

In other words, it's an absolute necessity in order to make the European Union a world superpower. I have no interest in my country being a part of one. My country WAS part of a superpower, the biggest superpower on the planet at the time, and worked very hard to get out of that situation. I have no interest in going down that road again. I haven't got an inferiority complex.

"We call upon the EU summit on Thursday and Friday in Brussels to take all appropriate steps to make the reform treaty a reality."

All appropriate steps? Unbelievable how they can stick two fingers up at democracy like this, isn't it? I absolutely detest these lowlifes.

"So what comes next? First, the ratification process must continue without reservation, since 18 countries have already approved the treaty. Ratification by other countries of the European Union is just as valid and must be respected just as much as the vote in Ireland."

Yeah the ratification in the other countries is just as valid - EVEN THOUGH NONE OF THOSE COUNTRIES PUT THE PROPOSALS TO THEIR PEOPLE

The British will later on ratify the Lisbon Treaty despite opinion polls showing that most British people want a referendum, and would reject it if given the opportunity. How then can anyone view this process as 'valid'?

"We expect that at the EU summit in Brussels on June 19-20, the Irish government will give an initial assessment of the outcome of the vote in Ireland and put forward proposals as to how we can jointly progress beyond this difficult phase in European politics. The Irish government must have the first say in this matter. Not just because this is the custom but out of respect for the Irish vote. Therefore any speculation or conjecture as to possible solutions ahead of the summit would be inappropriate."

Yes possible solutions are inappropriate, but insisting that ratification must continue is apparently very appropriate. If the Irish government is genuinely committed to democracy they should inform the EU that the Treaty is dead in the water. What would the founding fathers of this state do I wonder? They wouldn't go to Brussels with their tales between their legs that's for damn sure. They had backbone though.

"The European Parliament will devote all its energies and display maximum commitment to overcoming these challenges. We expect the same of the European Commission and of the governments of all European Union member states."

So you expect the Irish government to display 'maximum commitment' towards 'overcoming these challenges'. So then, reading between the lines, you want to ignore democracy to get the result you want. Pathetic.

"We equally expect the European Parliament to be fully involved in the process. It remains our goal to see the Lisbon Treaty enter into force before the June 2009 elections to the European Parliament."

Yes, even though you knew that a rejection meant the end of the Treaty. Disgraceful.

It's abundantly clear to see that the European Union are changing their own rules in order to get their way. Their 'commitment' to democracy and their claim about respecting the Irish vote ring very hollow indeed when you read the comments from the likes of Mr Pöttering.

Without a doubt they are intent on putting another referendum to the Irish people and only by staying vigilant, and standing up for the last vestiges of our democracy, can we prevent the EU from trampling all over us and spitting on our rights.

Make no mistake about it these guys are the real enemy of the 21st century and only by acknowledging this reality, and standing up to their bullying and scaremongering, can we protect the sovereignty of the Irish people before it's too late.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Where do we go from here?

"Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get."- George Bernard Shaw

As the fallout from last Friday's Lisbon Treaty rejection continues to rain down upon Brussels, our own Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin was today facing the music from cheesed-off EU ministers. Naturally enough he himself has claimed otherwise, commenting that he was afforded 'overwhelming solidarity' and that there had been no discussion of putting the Treaty to another referendum. I find that hard to believe myself but his remarks do not surprise me. It would seem that the EU and this government are closing ranks for the time being with Mr Martin stating it was "far too early" to seek a solution and making the point that there was "no quick fix" to the crisis. Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel echoed this view earlier today saying that it was time for "a little bit of thinking and analysis" on the situation.

"It would be risky to say we are going to bring the treaty back to life when we are facing a blockade" he added.

However it is not hard to see the discontent and anger bubbling under the surface and there have been a few revealing comments from ministers in the past 24 hours. Take for example this comment from Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb:

"The treaty is not dead. The EU is in constant crisis management - we go from one crisis to another and finally we find a solution."

Yes indeed you certainly do 'find solutions', be they democratic or otherwise.

While Mr Martin spins us the line that everything is hunky dory, insiders are painting a very different picture. BBC reporter Mark Mardell in his excellent blog on the events surrounding the Treaty, reveals that three general viewpoints are emerging:

"People are starting to back one of three options:

Ireland votes again;
Abandon Lisbon;
Move ahead without Ireland."

OK let's take a look at these options:

1. Ireland votes again

To me this is utterly unacceptable. We were told before the referendum that the Treaty had to be endorsed by ALL 27 EU states for it to be implemented. It was not endorsed by the Irish people. So then, where is the justification for another referendum? In 2001 the Nice Treaty was rejected but it was given to the public again because, we were told, the turnout for the first vote was too low. Well the turnout for the Lisbon Treaty was higher than both of the Nice Treaty referendums and so that argument is obviously null and void. I was pleased that Eamon Gilmore of the Labour Party, who backed a Yes vote for the Treaty, set out his position on this matter quite clearly. He said:

"The situation will clearly have to be reviewed by EU Leaders at their summit in Brussels next week. However, it is not clear what action, if any, the summit can take. There can certainly be no question of putting the same Treaty back to another referendum in Ireland."

Spot on. NO QUESTION of putting the same Treaty back to another referendum in Ireland. The EU are of course entitled to renegotiate another Treaty amongst themselves but it needs to be a proper renegotiation, and not one that is 95% the same as the document rejected by the French and Dutch but with a different title.

EU Treaty - more comebacks than Madonna

There has been talk today from Luxembourg's foreign minister that Ireland could be given "assurances about defence and abortion" with a view towards having a second referendum. Well hold it, I for one did not base my decision on the Treaty upon the issue of abortion! Plus the issue of the EU's military muscle was but one concern of mine. What about our other concerns? The ones pertaining to national sovereignty, for instance? People voted no for a variety of reasons and the only fair way to press on from here is to rule out the idea of a repeat referendum.

2. Abandon Lisbon

Obviously this would be the outcome I would prefer, particularly since this was supposed to be the outcome in the event of a rejection. In fairness, there are those within the EU who have acknowledged this was the case initially. Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra has been urging Nicolas Sarkozy not to put pressure on his country, and the other eight member states who have yet to endorse the Treaty, telling Czech daily newspaper Hospodarske Noviny:

"The Lisbon treaty may be unpassable in the Czech Senate."

It would seem to me then that the rules as drawn up originally oblige the EU to abandon Lisbon now following the rejection. In fact I put this very question to Dr Diana Panke, Lecturer of European Studies at University College Dublin, when I interviewed her a month ago. I asked her, "If such a rejection occurs in June, do you believe the Irish government and the EU should respect the democratic wishes of the electorate and let the Treaty lie?" She replied:

"The Treaty as it is now formulated will definitely not be to put to another referendum just as it is."

That view was backed up today by EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy who conceded that the treaty as it was intended cannot now come into force following the Irish rejection. So then confused yet? You're not the only one. Which brings us to idea number three...

3. Move ahead without Ireland

This would be an arrangement whereby the other 26 countries ratify the Treaty (through their parliaments and not via referendums of course) and would push ahead with their plans without Ireland. This would appear to be akin to outright intimidation on the EU's part. British Foreign Minister David Miliband has said that Ireland should not be bullied but as the BBC's Mr Mardell reports:

"some MEPs are in favour of this 'coalition of the willing' and there is a suspicion that this is the French and German fallback position if Ireland doesn't vote again. Mr Miliband is clearly against. He told me that Ireland must not be bulldozed, and that it was written in 'black and white' that the treaty must be backed by 27 countries."

The comments by Mr Miliband are welcome, the attitude of the French and German ministers definitely not. Interestingly however our own Charlie McCreevy today said it was possible that what he described as 'new arrangements' could be made which would be in the best interests of Ireland and the EU.

I am totally against any intimidation or bullying from Brussels towards this country, and the Irish ministers must not allow themselves to be backed into a corner. I'm not sure what 'moving ahead' without ourselves might involve. If, as Mr McCreevy suggests, it could prove a beneficial situation for ourselves and the EU then perhaps it's an option worth considering, although it flies in the face of everything the EU is meant to represent - a union of equals. However, if issues of sovereignty can be safeguarded in such a manner then it's an option we perhaps should not be so quick to dismiss.

It's all up in the air though, isn't it? Where do we go from here? Well there are views and theories coming in from all sides but here's what I think will happen. I may end up being very wrong but I see things turning out like as follows...

There will be a quiet period, or 'period of reflection' as the EU would term it, where dialogue continues behind the scenes but little is said on the surface. Meanwhile, the countries that have yet to ratify the Treaty press ahead with ratification through parliaments until 26 out of 27 states have ratified it. The Irish government will then float their kites and their scare stories about how Ireland is in danger of being 'left behind' by these events. Following such scaremongering, the Irish government will assure the people that they will do their utmost to work with the EU to try and prevent the country from being left behind. After all this spin, the Irish government will inform the people that they have negotiated a terrific package for Ireland and that it would be madness not to accept the proposals on offer (which I suspect will merely amount to more assurances on neutrality and taxation). A repeat referendum will then be put to the people and it will be endorsed by a narrow margin.

RIP Irish democracy.

We will see what happens but I can only view matters based on how I've seen the EU treat Irish democracy in the past, and based on their comments towards Irish democracy at present.

My position though is clear. NO to a repeat referendum, NO to the idea of our opinions being ignored, and NO to intimidation and scaremongering.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Get the message - No means No!

Wow, what a week! Friday was one of the most tense, dramatic and ultimately satisfying days I've ever experienced as a voter. I was so proud and relieved that the people of the country stood up for democracy and bloodied the noses of the beasts in Brussels. Whoever said Friday the 13th was an unlucky day was wrong! Friday the 13th proved to be a very fortunate day for Ireland and Europe. How close we, and the rest of the EU, came to handing over important powers to the sovereignty-grabbing EU elite! We don't really have an 'independence day' in this country like for example the United States, but to me June 13th will forever be known as Ireland's independence day from now on!

What I've found most interesting though is the speed at which the EU have come out and demanded that ratification of the Lisbon Treaty continue! Now a cynical Dub like me was not of the belief that they would let things lie. I remember all too well how they treated the first Nice Treaty vote in 2001 with utter contempt. However I must admit I did not see them dismissing our democratic vote so quickly! I expected them to resort to their spin and lies but Jose Manuel Barroso (or Barroso the clown as I call him) has dismissed the result already!

In fact, Barroso's ignorant attitude and contempt for democracy was so astounding, that he actually treated the outcome with utter disdain - and announced the EU would press ahead with their plans - BEFORE the official result had even been announced in Dublin! Can you believe these guys? Said Barroso:

"The treaty is alive, and we should continue.

"The No vote in Ireland has not solved the problems which the Lisbon treaty is designed to solve... The European Commission believes that the remaining ratifications should continue to take their course."

That attitude flies in the face of comments by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who said this a day before the result:

"If the Irish people decide to reject the treaty of Lisbon, naturally, there will be no treaty of Lisbon."

Hmm, could it be that the EU are changing the rules to suit their own agenda? I think we all know the answer to that. There is without a doubt a great deal of confusion as to where we all go from here.

According to Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus:

"The Lisbon treaty project ended today with the decision of the Irish voters and its ratification cannot be continued."

However contrast that sentiment with this one from Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos:

"Without doubt it is not good news, but Europe will not stop. I am convinced that, as has occurred at other times in the past in the EU, we will find a solution among ourselves."

Now if ever a sentence summed up the undemocratic nature of the European Union, truly that is it. "We will find a solution among ourselves". That could have been a sentence delivered by any fascist ruler throughout human history, yet it comes from a man who would claim to be a democrat and who would tell you the European Union are a democratic institution. I would like those from this country who voted Yes, and who scoffed at those of us like myself who pointed out the undemocratic nature of the EU, to please justify this kind of attitude. Because, to me at least, such an attitude is reprehensible.

The bozo Barroso!

As I've said before on United Irelander you can't be a part-time democrat. You can't claim on the one hand to support democracy and then on the other hand be willing to ignore the outcome of democratic votes because you don't like them!

Of course the idea being floated about now is a repeat of the referendum. This is an outrageous suggestion. We cannot see a repeat of the Nice Treaty situation. Had the result been a win for the Yes camp there would be NO POSSIBILITY WHATSOEVER of another referendum so any attempt to have another one imposed upon us must be resisted tenfold. If this kite is to be floated in the next few weeks then we must shoot it down quickly. This goes right to the heart of our democratic values!

That's why I was quite pleased to see Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore assert that the result needed to be respected and there should be no repeat referendum. He commented:

"What we do now is this - the people have made a decision. It's a clear decision. It's a decision we respect and it's the end of the Lisbon Treaty. The speculation that there will be a second bite at it - there won't be."

While I strongly abhor his party's decision to support the Treaty, I welcome his statement on the matter. Let's hope he sticks to this view though. What is less welcome is the comment from our Taoiseach Brian Cowen when asked on RTE about the possibility of a second referendum:

"I'm not prepared to surmise on that. I'm not ruling anything in or out or up or down."

It's hard for me to put into words the rage that swells within my soul at the idea of the EU and the Irish government ignoring the Irish referendum result and making us vote on it again but I will say this - ANY POLITICIAN WHO FEELS IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO MAKE THE IRISH PUBLIC VOTE ON THE TREATY ONE MORE TIME IS NO LONGER A DEMOCRAT. END OF STORY.

My message to the Irish people who voted No would be this - stay vigilant. Stand up for your rights. You do not deserve to be treated with contempt. My message to the Irish people who voted Yes would be this - realise what we have been saying about these people. Please take Eamon Gilmore's view on the matter and respect the will of the people.

There can be no further vote on the matter. Last year I voted for a change of government. The government was returned. Hey, that's democracy. You get what you voted for - unless you are faced with those who treat your vote with scorn.

Here in Ireland we can't influence those countries who have yet to ratify the Treaty, but we can influence our politicians and we need to make it VERY CLEAR to them that the will of the people must be adhered to. Brian Cowen can't just say that like it's a hollow phrase. When he meets up with the European council he carries with him a mandate from the Irish people who are fed up with the direction of the EU. Whether he wanted this mandate or not is besides the point. He represents the people, not his own interests, and must not be bullied by Sarkozy, Merkel, Barroso or anybody else!

Get the message Brussels. Take the hint. No means no!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Referendum reactions

Here are a selection of videos on the fantastic decision by the Irish people yesterday to reject the Lisbon Treaty...

ITN news (Britain):

CNN news (USA):

RTE news (Ireland):

What I find terrific is that the overwhelming majority of comments left by Europeans are thanking Irish voters for striking a blow against the undemocratic EU. The Yes side prior to the election tried to make out that it would be unfair on the rest of Europe for the Irish people to vote No, however as I and many others argued, it was the EU who were being unfair by not giving these people a say on the Treaty. I think it's clear that most people throughout Europe are delighted with what happened on Thursday.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Victory for democracy!

The votes have been counted and Ireland has voted No to the Lisbon Treaty!

The result was won by 862,415 votes to 752,451 making it a 53.4% rejection versus 46.6%. Turnout was about 45%. (Edit - actually it was 53.1% BBC now report. Even better!)

We have today sent the EU's plans into turmoil and it is truly a great day for democracy and national sovereignty, not just here in Ireland but within the EU as a whole.

Already there is talk of the proposals being implemented in some other way and that is to be expected. EU treaties are a lot like the villains from scary movies. You think you've killed them off but they keep coming back every time.

However that is an issue for another day. The battle has been won on this day and I am thrilled! I have long argued against these vile proposals and I'm glad the Irish people have agreed with me on the danger they posed.

Just to put this into perspective, all the main Irish parties, the main trade unions, farmers associations as well as large sections of the media called for a Yes vote. The fact it's been rejected is astonishing and will raise many questions. To me it highlights the intelligence and defiance of the Irish character!

Were you listening, Brussels? We have just stood up for the rights of EU citizens who, unlike ourselves, were not given a referendum! Hang your heads in shame while we hold our heads up high!

A wonderful day for Ireland and also Europe!


Do we dare to dream?

The results are coming through in the Lisbon Treaty referendum and it seems that we may well see a No vote in Ireland after all. I am cautiously optimistic at this point.

RTE report currently that results are in from 21 of the 43 constituencies, with the Lisbon Treaty being beaten by a margin of 54.6% to 45.4%

They add that the margin is expected to tighten as more results are announced, but say the result is not in doubt.

The No vote was strong in many rural areas and in working class districts of cities, while middle class areas appeared to be less supportive of the treaty than had been anticipated.

In urban areas, middle class areas by and large appeared to have voted in favour of the treaty - but not by the normal large margin, and not by enough to counteract the large No in working class areas.

I will comment further as the day progresses, as I don't want to celebrate until the result is known for sure, but I am thrilled at the day's events so far. Already there is talk of the EU pressing ahead with their plans in some fashion. That is no great surprise as they are not democrats.

However if the result holds nationwide then the Irish people will have shown that they most certainly are. Fingers crossed...

Update 1: RTE says results are in for 33 of 43 constituencies. No vote still leads by 53.7% to 46.3%. They maintain the result is not in doubt. Only 6 of the constituencies declared thus far voted for the Treaty. My home constituency defeated it resoundingly which pleases me.

Update 2: 39 of 43 constituencies are in. Jose Manuel Barroso has just pre-empted the result and acknowledged the Treaty's rejection. The official announcement is expected shortly. It's currently 53.6% against with 46.4% in favour. Oh there will be egg on many faces tonight!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Ireland's date with destiny arrives

As I write this there are just over five hours to go until the polls open for the Lisbon Treaty referendum. I have been following the EU constitution/Lisbon Treaty closely almost since the time I set up this blog three and a half years ago. I genuinely regard opposing the EU's proposals in this Treaty to be as important for this island as the reunification of the country.

By the time you read this the polls may indeed be open. With that being the case I would urge anyone reading now to please get down to your local polling station and have your say on this hugely important matter. We are the only country in the EU to have the opportunity to vote - which in itself is an absolute disgrace - so it is only proper to get out there and exercise your democratic right. Who knows, it might be one of the last times we are actually able to make a difference via democracy. Let us hope not.

As readers of UI will know, I am staunchly against this Treaty. I have in the past few weeks come up against those who made a good case for supporting Lisbon, namely Dr Diana Panke of UCD who I interviewed a few weeks back. Likewise I have in the past few weeks come up against those who made a shockingly poor case for supporting the Treaty, namely the campaigner who came to my door and told me this was the 'Premier League' and that a No vote would mean 'relegation'. Talk to me with facts please. I would also have to mention the fellow who suggested to me that a No vote could lead to Ireland being 'kicked out' of the EU. If you're going to lie to me at least keep your lies within reason OK?

Ultimately I feel there is no strong case for supporting this Treaty. I've heard people I have respect for, such as Labour's Joan Burton, talking about how it protects women's rights, stops the trafficking of people etc. As far as I'm concerned, these matters can be dealt with in a way that that doesn't force us to sacrifice important aspects of our sovereignty. I also resent the bashing from the Yes side such as Bertie Ahern blasting those against the Treaty as 'lunatics' and Garret Fitzgerald suggesting we are 'nitpickers of the extreme right and left'. I likewise detest the scaremongering which tries to frighten voters into voting Yes for fear of what might happen to Ireland's status within Europe. The Irish people have always been a defiant nation, and I just hope there are enough defiant voters at the polls on Thursday.

I strongly believe that a No vote is essential for the country. It accomplishes three things. It sends a message to the EU that we will not be bullied, it sends a message that we will not settle for a poor deal for Europeans and it sends a message that abusing democracy is unacceptable and that greater consultation with the peoples of nation-states is required.

Here is a brief summary of some of the reasons I have decided to oppose the Lisbon Treaty.

Ireland loses its Commissioner for five years at a time.

This could have dire implications for a small country like ourselves without anybody fighting our corner.

Tax concerns

The French don't like our low corporation tax and have long sought to do something about it. According to many commentators, there are avenues the French can explore to get their wish. I don't doubt that one bit.

Creates an unelected President and a Foreign Minister of Europe

I am utterly against such an idea and see no logic to it other than to set us further down the road to an EU Superstate.

Promotes a militarised European Union

We're supposed to be so enamoured with our 'tradition of neutrality' yet I've not heard one Irish person ask the following - why the hell does the EU need to militarise in the first place, hmm? I don't think it needs to. We have a UN peacekeeping force, which includes many brave Irish troops, and if we need to improve the UN then let's do that. An important principle behind the creation of the European Union was so that Europe would never have to go to war again. Why then are we faced with proposals that would see Europe involved in a war? What do I think the real reasoning is behind it? See above.

"RESOLVED to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.

"IN VIEW of further steps to be taken in order to advance European integration."

Taken from the preamble of the Lisbon Treaty.

"Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen."

Article 10.3 of the Lisbon Treaty. A rather hollow claim since no other EU country has been entitled to a referendum on the Treaty, despite Gordon Brown promising the British people a say and despite the French and Dutch voters rejecting the EU's proposals when voting on the EU Constitution.

"There will be no treaty if we had a referendum in France."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy showing the true colours of the EU and highlighting the insincerity of the above article.

"As from 1 November 2014, a qualified majority shall be defined as at least 55 % of the members of the Council, comprising at least fifteen of them and representing Member States comprising at least 65 % of the population of the Union.

"A blocking minority must include at least four Council members, failing which the qualified majority shall be deemed attained."

Article 16.4 of the Lisbon Treaty. It is not worth giving up important national vetoes for such a flawed system.

"The Member States shall work together to enhance and develop their mutual political solidarity. They shall refrain from any action which is contrary to the interests of the Union or likely to impair its effectiveness as a cohesive force in international relations."

Article 24 of the Treaty. Ireland has friends outside the EU. Will we be forced to blindly follow the path set by France and Germany, lest we be deemed to be 'impairing' the EU's 'effectiveness' in international relations? This troubles me.

"The European Council shall identify the Union's strategic interests, determine the objectives of and define general guidelines for the common foreign and security policy, including for matters with defence implications. It shall adopt the necessary decisions."

From Article 26.1. I would rather see greater powers for the European Parliament which is the EU's only directly elected parliamentary body. I don't like that the European Council dictates the EU's foreign and security policies. Do you?

"If a member of the Council declares that, for vital and stated reasons of national policy, it intends to oppose the adoption of a decision to be taken by qualified majority, a vote shall not be taken. The High Representative will, in close consultation with the Member State involved, search for a solution acceptable to it. If he does not succeed, the Council may, acting by a qualified majority, request that the matter be referred to the European Council for a decision by unanimity."

Article 31. I have no faith whatsoever in any Irish party having the guts to stand up to the EU on an issue of importance, facing the kind of pressure that would come as outlined above.

"The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy shall regularly consult the European Parliament on the main aspects and the basic choices of the common foreign and security policy and the common security and defence policy and inform it of how those policies evolve. He shall ensure that the views of the European Parliament are duly taken into consideration. Special representatives may be involved in briefing the European Parliament.

"The European Parliament may ask questions of the Council or make recommendations to it and to the High Representative."

Is this a good enough role for the European Parliament in your opinion? To me this makes the E.P. a glorified version of our Seanad.

7 - the number of votes Ireland will be entitled to under the qualified majority voting system.

To put that in perspective, Bulgaria gets 10 votes, the Czech Republic gets 12 votes, Romania get 14 votes and the UK, Italy France and Germany all get 29 votes. Is that really fair on Ireland? I don't see why my country should be punished for having a small population. I was under the impression EU citizens were supposed to be equals.

"public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly".

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, another former French president and architect of the constitution spells out what most have us have known for a long time.

"The aim is to focus the campaign on overall benefits of the EU rather than the Treaty itself."

A leaked memo from a civil servant in the Department of Foreign Affairs to a Diplomat in the British Embassy outlining the Yes side's agenda.

"We need a European defence, a European army, not just on paper but a force genuinely capable of operating in the field, including beyond the European borders ... The philosophy behind all these proposals - economic, political, military - is always the same… And I am also quite clear that I am advocating a more powerful Europe, also a more closely integrated Europe ... In short I am advocating a United States of Europe."

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, speaking in March 2006. Says it all.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you are as deeply troubled by the direction the EU is taking as I am, then you can do something about it. Get out of the house, never mind what the weather's like or what football match is on the telly, and use your vote while you still can. I implore you to say No to the Lisbon Treaty.

This is probably going to be the last time I'm going to comment on the Treaty until the results come in. If we lose the battle then at least we can say we went down having done our best. You can't be a part-time democrat. You either abide by the people's views or you don't. I do, and I hope that the Irish people consign this Treaty to the dustbin. It is in the hands of the electorate now. The future direction of the EU is in our hands, and the hopes of future generations are on our shoulders.

"A common trait that can be found in all humans is a desire to be treated fairly. Countless events in history around the world have shown that when you back people into a corner, they come out fighting. It is an attribute that we call defiance and it is something that can certainly be found in the Irish character."

United Irelander, 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising celebrations.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008


It's the final countdown...

Thursday will soon be upon us and, with that, the crucial Lisbon Treaty referendum. On Wednesday the broadcasting organisations will observe the traditional eve-of-vote moratorium on referendum news but there's no chance of that happening here on United Irelander. I'm sure my position is clear at this stage however!

One thing I would like to add though. I keep hearing those from the Yes side remarking that we have the fate of the EU on our shoulders and thus should vote Yes for the sake of the people of Europe. First off, it is the European Union that refuses to allow other nation-states a vote on the matter! (Which is strange in itself considering we're told how fantastic the Treaty is!)

But not only that, the foreign nationals I've spoken to about this Treaty have all told me they believe it to be a worrying document. Make no mistake about it there are lots of people across Europe who are desperate to see this Treaty rejected.

It is indeed a great shame that we are the only people allowed to have a say on the Lisbon Treaty but I say let's use that opportunity to stand up for democracy and vote No. It's wrong for Europe and, most importantly, wrong for Ireland.


President heckled by loyalist bigots

I was disgusted to hear that a group of loyalists heckled President Mary McAleese whilst she was on a visit to a primary school in Derry.

The President was stopping by Millburn Primary School in Coleraine, and was greeted by a crowd of 30 or so people who held banners and shouted slogans, including 'No surrender', as she and her husband Martin arrived by car. According to news reports some of the abuse was sectarian.

The school's principal John Platt said he had been intimidated over the visit.

All I can say is what an absolute disgrace those people are. Talk about close-minded bigots. I am someone who thinks it would be a great idea if the British queen were to visit the Republic of Ireland. Now should such a thing take place, I wonder how those muppets who shouted sectarian abuse would feel if the British queen were treated in a similar fashion? I bet they'd be none too pleased.

What a right bunch of wallies they are. I guess they have to find something to keep themselves occupied whilst they wait for their Rangers matches to come back on the box. Pathetic.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


'Plan B'

Not long to go now until the Lisbon Treaty but I notice the Yes side keep saying there is 'no Plan B' in the event of a No vote. Surely there has to be? Or is this a subtle hint that if the vote is rejected that they will make the Irish public vote again like they did with the Nice Treaty?

Time we ignored all this scaremongering from the Yes side and voted No for Ireland's sake.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Your vote counts...vote NO

As I mentioned on Friday, the Lisbon Treaty result could still go either way and recent developments have confirmed as much. Following on from Friday's poll in the Irish Times which showed the No vote in the lead, in contrast the Red C poll in tomorrow's Sunday Business Post has the Yes side in front.

Those of us against this document shouldn't lose heart just yet however. The poll in the Sunday Business Post gives the Yes vote a marginal lead - 42% versus 39% against. Another encouraging sign is that the Sunday poll, like Friday's poll, shows the No side making gains, with the latest poll showing a 6% surge.

It seems interest in the vote is spreading across Europe too and I spotted this incisive article in The Times putting across some more reasons why we in Ireland should reject this undemocratic document. What particularly caught my eye was this bit:

"Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the former French president and architect of the constitution on which the treaty is based, said “public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly”.

Now if that doesn't sum up the undemocratic nature of the political entity we're dealing with then I don't know what does. How can Irish people think of backing such a mindset? How can Irish people expect Brian Cowen to be able to fight for our corner under the current muddled, meandering mess of proposals we are being offered by Brussels?

I must say I am pleasantly surprised at how things have turned out thus far as I honestly did not expect things to be this close in the run-up to the final days of the vote. I think it's a great testament to the intelligence and defiant spirit of the Irish people that they have not been fooled by the EU's or the main Irish parties' attempt to pull the wool over voter's eyes.

To any undecided voters who may be reading this I would simply ask you to think long and hard about what this document could mean for us in this country. The referendum on Thursday is about giving ourselves the best possible future in Europe. Does the Lisbon Treaty offer us that? I don't believe so.

Each citizen must make his/her own mind up. I hope that the Irish people will do the right thing this Thursday and, to me at least, that means following in the footsteps of the French and Dutch voters who gave the EU's proposals a big thumbs down.

This Thursday make your vote count and vote No to the Lisbon Treaty. We can find a better way.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


RTE'd do anything?

The pinnacle of entertainment - Mary Coughlan This is from RTE's website regarding the line-up for Saturday Night with Miriam on RTE One...

"I'd Do Anything' runner-up Jessie Buckley will be among Miriam O'Callaghan's guests on the first episode of the new series of 'Saturday Night with Miriam' on RTÉ One this weekend.

"The Kerry teenager, who made the final of the BBC talent series last week, joins Tánaiste Mary Coughlan and Red Hurley on Saturday night's show, and will sing live in studio."

I've underlined the bit that bothers me. Now while I've no issue with the talented Miss Jessie Buckley appearing on the show, could someone please explain to me why the Tánaiste is appearing on a show that will no doubt get considerable ratings just mere DAYS before the Lisbon Treaty referendum is due to take place, hmm?

I mean why the hell is a government minister appearing on an entertainment programme when there's a massively important vote on the horizon? I think you see what I'm getting at.

What are the chances that the Lisbon Treaty will be discussed on this show one wonders?

Jeez, it's almost as if the Irish state broadcaster is BENDING OVER BACKWARDS to help out the Irish state, don'tcha reckon?

What a disgraceful move this is on RTE's part. It was only a few weeks ago that RTE One conducted a Questions and Answers programme, featuring a debate on the Lisbon Treaty, in which there was NOT ONE panellist who wanted a No vote featured! It's clear to see what's going on here. RTE is doing its utmost to silence those against this Treaty, and is doing everything it can to satisfy the state fascists who are afraid to see Lisbon debated in a fair and democratic manner!

What a disgraceful abuse of the license fee!

The Irish government wants to confuse the public with their propaganda and scaremongering but I hope and pray that the Irish electorate sees through the government's sleazy scare tactics.

Sorry Jessie, but when it comes to 'doing anything', RTE and this government take the biscuit. They are doing ANYTHING to please their overlords in Brussels, and while we may not see a 'Nancy' on Miriam's show, I reckon there's a good bet we'll see at least one Nazi!

Vote No to the Lisbon Treaty!

Friday, June 06, 2008


Keep the faith

This is welcome news but let's not get too carried away. The result could still go either way at this stage. I expect the government to ramp up its scaremongering tactics in the coming days.

Be vigilant, compatriots.

We will do this country - and Europe as a whole - a great deal of good by killing off this despicable treaty once and for all. Just say No!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

© 2008 United Irelander.