CPIR Statement on Children's Referendum
"A lot of people say we have no control over how this country is run"
These are the opening words of the current television advertisement campaign being run to convince people to vote in Saturday's referendum, and they reflect what most of us already know about the political system which operates in Ireland.
The advert however does not go on to explain how only those living in 26 of Ireland's 32 Counties will be given a vote and that a quarter of Ireland's population will be automatically excluded. That's not what they mean when they said that people don't think they have control.
What it does instead is to suggest that by having the "final say" that the other three quarters of Ireland is somehow democratic. If only that were the case! Of course, as those who rejected the Nice and Lisbon Treaties on the first occasion that they were presented know, the "final say" is only final when the decision is that which the government wants.
They also do not mention how it is determined what this limited portion of the Irish people will be allowed to vote on. The people themselves have no say on whether a referendum is put forward at all. They have no say in how the referendum is worded, on what alternative solution to whatever problem is being addressed might be suggested. The say that people have is limited to saying "Yes" or "No". There is no scope for people to put forward their reasons, or to qualify their decision. You are either with us or you are against us! Where have we heard that before?
In some other countries a referendum can be called on foot of a sufficient number of signatures on a petition. But in Ireland the right to call a referendum is reserved for a highly paid political elite that sit in Leinster House and it is closely guarded. Just like the political system that elects the 26 County President, the people are excluded until the very last stage, by which stage their input is almost meaningless. It is made even more meaningless by the fact that those with the most money control the information we are given about the nature of any referendum. It does not take a court judgment for people to know that!
Even the limited say that we do have over amending this document has already been diluted by successive "democratic" referenda. Already the rules have been re-written to say that nothing that the EU bodies do in accordance with their Treaties shall be considered to be unlawful by any Irish court. Unelected bodies in Brussels, Luxembourg and Frankfurt have much more say than anyone in Ireland.
But the politicians in Ireland who pretend to represent the Irish people are no better. They have the same interests as the EU and IMF banks and they continue without fail to vote in Leinster House to appease financial interests which almost everyone in Ireland knows are not in Ireland's interest. This should not surprise us. This is the same highly paid elite that thinks democracy is voting every five years. Conveniently for them no bank guarantee or social welfare cuts have been subject to a referendum. Conveniently for them there is no power to recall these representatives when they fail to represent the people! They take their orders from political parties and those who fund them rather than the people. These so-called representatives' interests lie with the directorships and board memberships that they will be able to secure after they retire, nevermind the pensions that they will continue to take long after they have stopped any pretence to be acting on behalf of the people. We all know know who they really represent!
In another month's time we will all witness the speed at which the Social Welfare Bill will be rushed through Leinster House to ensure that politicians do not have the chance to travel to their constitutuencies and be influenced by popular opinion. The Finance Bill of course is permitted to take its leisurely time so that all of the vested financial interests can have their say! The financial interests have all the say. The people have no say!
And so this referendum claims to give children rights. What rights does it really give children? No provision in this referendum will stop the much anticipated cut in Child Benefit. No provision in this referendum will reverse the cuts to Lone Parents payments, the cuts to carers, the removal of respite care. No provision in this referendum will lift one single child out of poverty. It will not feed one child, it will not heat one child, it will give no child the right to a free education, it will give no child the right to free medical care.
These are the rights that we should be fighting for. We know that representatives sitting in Leinster House, Stormont or Westminster will never give such rights. They do not have permission from their financial backers in London, Frankfurt and New York. The people of Ireland will only have a say in these matters when these financial chains are broken, when this pretend democracy comes crashing down and when they organise a Workers Republic across all 32 Counties of Ireland which values every child and is not prepared to tolerate these children's impoverishment simply to line the pockets of foreign bankers and their Irish accomplices. Such a change will never come as the result of a referendum.
Communist Party of the Irish Republic
8th November 2012
Caption: Video Id: Ow5uQxMqmiA Type: Youtube Video
here is the advert referred to in the article