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Bertie's 'loolas' unite!:-) Can the Lisbon No campaigners form a new Irish opposition movement?

category national | eu | opinion/analysis author Thursday June 26, 2008 20:12author by Brian Report this post to the editors

A look at the political thinking of the various groups that campaigned or voted No to Lisbon, with a view to seeing if it was possible for these groups to form a new united Irish opposition movement.

As the dust settles on the Lisbon verdict I think a lot of observers on the No side are beginning to feel that there is something radically wrong with the body politic in Ireland. Virtually all Irish political parties, and the representatives of the 'social partners', allied to nearly all the media organs, were in favour of a Yes vote while the majority of the Irish people were in favour of the No side. It just seems that these political parties etc no longer make much of an effort to represent us anymore, instead it seems that all these groups operate as PR agents for the EU as that body seeks to control us. Anyway a lot of people are clearly thinking this way now, the question is what are we going to do about it?

Clearly we need some kind of new political party or movement to properly represent the kind of people who voted No, and hopefully will go to make the Irish state genuinely accountable to its people, many of whom are suffering from disastrous public services, ruinous personal debts, and now high unemployment and even emigration. The good news here is that by some miracle or other enough sincere and committed activists were able to come together in the No campaign and carve out a victory in the teeth of massive odds against them. The point is that this demonstrates that there is a critical mass of activists, enough to make a real political difference, if they could only unite like that on other issues. I think anyway that these groups are just too small on their own normally to make any difference to the political climate in Ireland, if they remain fragmented. Obviously then the plan is to somehow get all (or most) of these groups into one room and come up with some unified group structure that could go on to support many of the other important issues around Ireland that are also neglected by the main political parties and the established media.

Of course the first objection that everybody would raise to that proposal is that these groups are so unalike that any kind of unity between them is impossible. But are they so incompatible? If you were to really get down to it and figure out the core values that motivated the activists in the No campaign maybe it might be found that unity is possible? If it was the case that those core values proved to be compatible with one another then you would simply create a unified new party that would incorporate all the core values of these currently separate streams of thought in Irish politics. Here is my assessment (for what its worth, I am sure there are plenty out there who could do a much better job of this!) of the kind of genuine dissenting opposition that is out there and was manifested in the No campaign:

1) Republican Groups
I think its obvious that a lot of the energy in the No camp came from various Republican groups. There is Sinn Fein obviously (which is of course already a well funded political party with a large media profile which probably doesn't need to join with any new group) but also the various non SF Republicans, many of whom feel misrepresented by that party and who seem to be coming together and growing in numbers in parts of the North. Republicanism, I suppose, is a distinct and long term Irish political ideology which doesn't always feel the need to join with any other group but maybe the merit in forming a wider nationalist grouping with these other parties could be contemplated? After all isn't it true that Irish political movements have succeeded best when people were united together like this e.g. in Sinn Fein before the Civil war, in the Civil Rights Movement, and even maybe in the first Inter Party Government which founded the Republic of Ireland while Sean MacBride was Foreign Minister, only 10 years after he was Chief of Staff of the IRA? Anyway trying to guess the core values here, possibly any new grouping they might contemplate joining would need to:
a) be forthright in defending Irish sovereignty against whatever party hopes to impinge on it, including the UK (or US) govt, the EU and any too powerful international organisations;
b) recognise that the basic unit of what we consider Ireland would be the whole island of Ireland and that this grouping would be organised accordingly;
c) agree that full cooperation with the organs of the state (both states), particularly the police, would be withheld until such time as the group is satisfied that they are not just operating as the eyes and ears of international intelligence agencies who have been found to support, rather than oppose, terrorist acts in the past;
d) undertake to support the civil rights of Republican (and indeed all) prisoners and work to ensure their timely release, bearing in mind that we now know that senior intel figures in the UK (and maybe NI govt ministers) are just as guilty as these prisoners and are not being punished for it.
As against that there are also obvious dangers to other groups being associated with Republican ones, so maybe a few rules would need to be set out on that score:
a) that this new group would be dedicated to achieving its aims by peaceful means (which of course includes actions like strikes, protests, boycotts etc), and in no way whatsoever would the organs of this party be linked to any paramilitary group; (Its got to be as clear as a bell that no paramilitary group is associated with this new party, for the obvious reason that it would put off other groups joining in, and secondly because it would be an excuse for the powers that be to close it down.)
b) that the question of the Troubles, and indeed the Irish Civil War, would be left to historians to contemplate, this group would not take an agreed position on who was right or wrong during the Troubles. I only say that because I am hopeful that maybe some ex SDLP people, for example, might get involved in this grouping and would not wish to be seen to agree with the stance taken by Republicans during the Troubles. I am sure the same is true vis a versa and hence it'd bog down the whole new party in endless, ruinous, arguments about Enniskillen, Ballyseedy, and the whole panalopy of historic reasons why Irish people should not cooperate with one another.

2) Catholic Groups
Anybody observing the No campaign surely has to agree that a large part of it was down to Catholic groups like Cóir, with their very successful poster campaign for example, and newspapers like the 'Irish Family Press' and especially 'Alive!' which I think were the only Irish owned newspapers to come out in favour of a No vote. I know a lot of people probably haven't thought to include Catholic groups in any new party, but I don't see why not. This is a large category of sincere and energetic Irish activists, (to be fair) completely central to the success of the No campaign, who should be approached to join a new party? More than any other group they seem to have got a huge dose of blackening from the established media but I notice some felt that they do not deserve this bad press, for example here is a comment from politics.ie:

My guess as to the core values here:
a) That traditional Irish Catholic moral teaching should take that place in the political dialogue of the country which is commensurate with its position as the ethos and heritage of the vast majority of the population. While that may sound wafflish I would say that these Catholic groups oppose two prevailing viewpoints which would therefore need to be absent from any new party that they would wish to join:
i) The prevailing establishment viewpoint which is that Catholic moral teaching is old fashioned, intolerant, uninclusive and has nothing to offer modern day society. Bear in mind that any new grouping would obviously be open to all faiths and none, and that opinions contrary to Catholic moral teaching would of course be totally permissible, openly debated, and indeed passed as the established policy of this new group if a majority of this new party in an Ard Fheis so decide. I am just saying that this overt, in your face, insulting atmosphere towards that teaching would need to be absent in this new party for this group to wish to join it.
ii) Also that Catholic moral teaching should not be brushed aside as just one group to be dealt with alongside Islam, atheism etc in a 'tolerant' society that treats all faiths equally, because in that atmosphere, in practice, the ethos of the vast majority is systematically crushed to accommodate the others. To illustrate that kind of viewpoint consider the debate over primary schools for example. Obviously many are saying that the Catholic Church should not run those schools, because it is seen as intolerant in the context of a multidenominational and multicultural Ireland, whereas Catholic groups would say that this is an example of where this concept of 'tolerance' is just been used to strip out of Ireland all trappings of its traditional Catholic faith and heritage. In the eyes of a lot of Catholic groups, and commentators, this prevailing concept is a constant stick used to beat them with. Hence I think a core value that they would have is that 'tolerance' of other faiths and cultures should never be implemented as a process of watering down or crushing the faith of the majority. Getting back to the schools question, they would feel I think that 'tolerance' is already accommodated by the fact that we have Moslem, Jewish, and Protestant denominational schools and that destroying the Catholic denominational schools, for its own sake, is actually the aim behind some parties who are crying 'tolerance'. This viewpoint occurs in all areas now, and is nearly always to the detriment of Catholics which is why I think it would be a core value for Catholic groups. To clarify then, this new party could of course take the view that Catholic denominational schools are bad and should be scrapped on whatever grounds like administration issues etc, its just that this idea that we have to water things down for the majority to accommodate the minority - as opposed to other ways of being inclusive - is the concept that this new group would need to avoid IMHO for Catholic groups to agree to join it.
I would leave the actual social policies to be decided by the new group by majority vote at an ard fheis, so people can argue the toss on abortion, contraception etc on a case by case basis, and bear in mind that no one group would have an in built majority in this new party.

3) Pro Immigration Control Groups
I know no significant political grouping campaigned on this issue in the Lisbon debate but I think it obviously was an underlying hot political issue, and probably central to the high No vote in working class areas of Dublin and Cork. Also there is much talk in the air of a new political party being formed on this issue which no doubt would attract many political activists energised by this topic. I know its obviously the case that Republican groups traditionally, and the smaller left wing and campaign groups especially, are very sympathetic to the problems that immigrants face and are generally bitterly opposed to groups like the UKIP in the UK. Hence its obviously a tall order expecting these entities to cooperate with the immigration control activists but I wonder if this situation is changing somewhat.

I think it is clear to everyone that Ireland has serious infrastructural problems that are clearly being worsened for everybody by the large immigration inflow that we are now receiving. This is true of schools, hospitals, transport, housing etc. Surely its irresponsible to keep inviting in such large numbers of international citizens when we have no schools etc to serve them? Also is it not irresponsible to invite people into Ireland during the bubble boom years and then have both immigrant and national form larger dole queues during the recession years which are now upon us? In otherwords isn't this pro-immigration to fuel pro-growth policy only a short term thing, when the bust comes what then happens to the immigrants and to the native Irish? I think too that a lot of people on the ground in working class areas can see that this immigration flow has led to serious economic hardship for some native working people, like taxi drivers, and maybe now elements within Republicanism and the small campaign groups (the Catholic groups were there already) might be beginning to see the merit in some kind of tightening of the rate of immigration into Ireland. Anyway the core value that I think this constituency is looking for is:
a) a statement that Irish people have a right to their own homeland in Ireland and that just like the Swiss in Switzerland or the Manx on the Isle of Man etc they are entitled to limit immigration into their country to a rate that doesn't overwhelm the ethnicity of the native population and doesn't bring with it undue resource or unemployment pressures;
b) a recognition that the present rate of immigration into Ireland has now reached or exceeded that limit and therefore should be curtailed.

4) Smaller Left wing and Campaign Groups
There are obviously many small left wing parties and groups currently out there campaigning on the various issues like Shannon, Tara, Shell to Sea, hospitals etc etc who I think are getting increasingly disillusioned with the powers that be in the established parties and media. These groups were also prominent in the No campaign and represented by groups like CAEU. Maybe as the Celtic Tiger brainwashing :-) wears off people the underlying poverty that currently exists in large parts of Ireland (and was disguised by the rate of personal borrowing) will come more to the fore and possibly will politicise an increasing number of Irish citizens. This more socially aware group will then probably grow and is also I think looking for a new home in a larger Irish political movement. Its core values might be:
a) similar to the Republican groups in looking for proper sovereignty over Irish natural resources, and airports, and respect for Irish heritage;
b) an overall aim to improve those services which are essential to peoples lives (e.g. housing, transport, health care, education etc) and provide them free from the state or affordable from the private sector;
c) also a recognition that (b) is not currently true of modern Ireland, where many public services seem to be run with a view to extracting extortionate charges from the general public (a simple example might be parking charges at hospitals), and where many other essential services are hugely unaffordable to ordinary people (e.g. housing, car insurance for young males) and in some cases run for profit by large private monopolies (e.g. telecommunications).

So thats it, thats my take anyway on the core thinking of the main groups that campaigned or voted No in the Lisbon referendum and who feel disenfranchised and excluded from the current political setup. I'm sure most people would say that its impossible for these groups to work together but they did over Lisbon and if they don't work together again then the chances are that each group on its own will go nowhere? Obviously you need a critical mass of supporters to achieve anything? Look at Shell to Sea, the most successful grassroots political campaign in Ireland before Lisbon afaik. It was supported strongly by the various smaller left wing parties, alongwith the anti-war groups and Justice campaigners, and also was backed by a large Republican contingent. These in turn were allied to the ordinary Irish people of Rossport who said the rosary in the face of state and Shell oppression and who were also led in part by a nun, Sr Majella McCarron (1), and are now supported strongly by the local priests.(2)

The simple mechanism that I would propose to form this new party would be for the above interested parties to prepare some kind of statement of their core values and that these collected statements would be incorporated into a new statement of principles for the new political grouping. Then they would organise some kind of joint Ard Fheis and take it from there. The question is can these various groups live with the kind of core values outlined above? That is the real question, if this was possible (an admittedly big 'if'!) that would be the basis for unity in this grouping. Obviously you don't have to believe all that the other groups believe, you just have to respect those core values. No doubt many people would regard this as a pointless exercise but I don't know how a large genuine Irish opposition movement can be formed without trying to bring together these sincere activists in these various groups. And I respectfully submit that at least people should start thinking about how they can work together to build on their great success in the Lisbon referendum.

1. http://www.corribsos.com/index.php?id=232 .

2. http://www.corribsos.com/index.php?id=1768 .

author by Brianpublication date Thu Jun 26, 2008 20:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Drat that should be CAEUC instead of CAEU and this is the missing quote from Retrolives at politics.ie:
"I volunteered for EU Reform, Libertas and then Coir two weeks ago.
I wanted to stay away from Coir because of all the bad stuff I'd heard about them and the fact that I have a deep distrust of organised religion.

It turned out that only Coir got back to me. I showed up to help out and at first reluctantly handed out leaflets just for the laugh, but they turned out to be the friendliest and most committed people I've met in long time. Top marks for integrity.

I'm convinced the work Coir did on the grass roots level defeated the referendum. Their posters were everywhere [the monkey one, 'It'll cost you', and 'the Irish constitution' one] and their message clearly resonated strongly with many reasoned people. They also had countless young volunteers out and about everyday and engaged the community on a one-to-one level.

Although a handful were in Youth Defense the majority I met were not. The campaigners I met did not focus on the gay marriage, euthenasia, legalised drugs arguments they are lambasted for. I'm actually in favour of that stuff! From what I saw those issues were only really raised with their own Catholic constituency.

I honestly doubt anybody from that group spat at anybody. Most of them wouldn't hurt a fly.
The vitriol being vented towards them I must say, from what I saw, is unwarranted. They had every right to celebrate earlier. I wasn't there in the RDS but after the names they've been called recently I hope they all get locked tonight in celebration. Without their dogged determination Lisbon would most definitely have passed."

author by Johnny Mullen - MLWGpublication date Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The TEEU opposed the treaty as did the IPR Group.

author by Jimpublication date Fri Jun 27, 2008 17:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Groups that combined socialist economics, armed struggle, hard right Catholicism and xenophobia emerged in the 1930's.
They were called fascists.

author by Howard Holbypublication date Sat Jun 28, 2008 17:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

According to Sinn Féin "to this end, a coalition of political parties, campaign groups, trade unions and others needs to be formed."

They propose an international coalition based on the successful No campaigns of four countries, Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The article in full:
Lisbon Treaty rejection : Taoiseach meets EU leaders
Is another treaty possible?

Sinn Féin Policy Director
Lisbon Treaty Campaign


Related Link: http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/detail/31048
author by aunty eu federationpublication date Sat Jun 28, 2008 22:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I also would have no problem in working with people like catholic workers etc but I find a lot of republicans disinterested in the EU becoming more integrated or federalist in fact as long as it is not 'the brits' taking them over they dont mind being subsumed more into a federal EU. I campaigned with them in the referendum and they did work hard but all the SF foot soldiers were very uninformed on where the EU is going in the future and most did not seemed too bothered I was left in no doubt that they were doing it for the party and because of the bad general election result. However RSF were even worse and the IRSP did nothing on Lisbon maybe they had better things to be doing? Eirigi were well imformed and clued in to the EU's real intentions. The left campaigns were ok in places where they had people but they failed to make the issue of a Social Europe an issue with ordinary workers. They could not explain it in simple everyday languague to the workers that they strive to represent. I think there is a growing number of people who are becoming suspicious and aware of the EU's real long term intentions and are also afraid of losing our identity and that they will vote against the EU even if parties such as the old D.L. and now the greens sell out and ask them to vote yes in referenda. I think that when SF finally gets into government with FF and asks the people to vote ves in whatever EU referendum that they will give them the same answer and say NO. So in a way it does not matter who leads the campaign as the people will do the correct thing regardless.

author by aocpublication date Sat Jun 28, 2008 22:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1. On immigration control: " I think it obviously was an underlying hot political issue, and probably central to the high No vote in working class areas of Dublin and Cork."

This is just your prejudice about working class people. There is no evidence that working class people are more anti-immigrant than anyone else. There was no mention of immigration on any leaflet, poster, or speech, so to say that was "obviously" a part of the no vote says more about you than anything else.

2. The local priests in Rossport do not support the Shell to Sea campaign.

The local clergy are split between supporting Shell, and advocating some sort of onshore develoment at an alternative location which might be more acceptable to some local people.

The link you cite shows that the parish priest in Rossport gave a character reference to a man accused of assault, who is clearly innocent. Civil servants also teestified to the men's good character, but you couldn't claim that the civil service support Shell to Sea.

author by Brianpublication date Thu Jul 17, 2008 15:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1. "Immigration Control....your prejudice about working class people."
It is true alright that there were no posters etc but I think though that a lot of people feel that immigration was a factor in the debate? e.g. there is this from the Sunday Business Post 22 June 2008:
"A fear of foreign workers taking jobs and driving down wage rates was an unspoken issue behind the Lisbon No vote.

Immigration may not have raised its controversial head in the public debate leading up to the Lisbon Treaty referendum, but it was certainly on the radar of politicians on the doorsteps.

Once the ballot boxes were opened, the issue of migrant workers became ‘the elephant in the room’ that few politicians had wished to confront before the referendum.

‘‘It was definitely there, but nobody really wanted to talk about it,” conceded Fine Gael deputy Leo Varadkar. ‘‘A lot of left-wing campaigns stirred the immigration pot, some deliberately and some unwittingly,” he said.
This weekend’s Red C/Sunday Business Post poll confirms a high percentage of No voters want more stringent limits on the number of foreigners coming into Ireland.

This newspaper’s poll reveals that, of all respondents, 59 per cent believe there should be stricter limits on the number of foreigners coming to Ireland, while 37 per cent disagree. About two thirds of those who voted against the treaty agree with stricter limits.

‘‘It’s not as if all the political parties don’t know it’s an issue over a huge period of time. No politician has overtly gone there, since they know it’s extremely complex and dangerous, and no one feels they have the language to deal with it,” was the view of one senior political adviser.

Chris Andrews, Fianna Fail TD for Dublin South East, said politicians were aware of immigration concerns but were reluctant to open a Pandora’s box. ‘‘It has been a festering issue, but you’re not supposed to scratch a sore,” he said.
At one public meeting held by Fine Gael at Dublin’s Westin Hotel, in the last two weeks of the campaign, about half of 12 questions raised by the public concerned immigration issues, according to Creighton."

Speaking for myself I'm not surprised about the number of questions at that meeting, any public meeting I have been at recently has gone the same way. Its my impression anyway that ordinary Irish people in working class districts are very concerned about immigration and feel very let down in the quality of public representation that they are receiving on the subject. Since I think people have a case on this subject I obviously don't think then that this concern reflects badly on the people who raise it.

2. "The local priests in Rossport do not support the Shell to Sea campaign."
Here is a bit from a letter, dated 16th Oct 2007 and handed in to Minister Eamonn Ryan by a Shell to Sea delegation, written by the 3 local priests (Fr Michael Nallen, Fr Michael Conroy and Fr Séan Noone):
"The project as planned for Ballinaboy does not have consent from the community. Indications are that the majority of people in the parish are oppposed to it. They are the receiving community whose lives and future are at the centre of the negative impact and potential risks.

Some areas or individuals in Erris or Mayo used in promotional material by the developer cannot validly claim community status in relations to this project. Moreover, some negotiations and consultations about key problems associated with this project were, and are, with people in areas sufficiently distanced from the hazards associated with such an industry. Health and safety, environment, and quality of life will not necessarily be enchanced or protected by attempts on the part of the developer to win support through sponsorship of sporting organisations, scholarships, and multiple appointments of public relations staff with their photos circulated periodically. People find such approaches both disturbing and antagonistic, while the real difficulties remain unresolved. Those who have serious concerns are encountering the withdrawal of facilities through which their voices can be heard. There are some examples of this in elements of the media. The Centre for Public Enquiry suffered such a fate when it analysed the Corrib Gas Project and highlighted its inadequacies and hazards."
(http://www.corribsos.com/index.php?id=1611 .)

Btw I'm not saying that the bishops supported Shell to Sea, actually its well known they didn't at least at the beginning. Also I'm not saying that the Church at a high level was supportive of the No campaign, again if anything it was the opposite, what I am referring to in the article is more a kind of grassroots Catholic thing which seems to be emerging.

Howard Holby
Sinn Fein have talked a lot about renogotiating the treaty during the campaign, I have to admit that I worry sometimes that they would abandon the No side if they got some small concession? I'm sorry for being so suspicious though and full credit to all the Sinn Fein people who campaigned for a No vote (and full credit to you btw for writing up some great articles throughout the campaign.)

It seems to this observer that 'fascists' is just a term of abuse that they throw around like confetti in Ireland these days, probably all these groups are accused of it at various times as well as all the established parties, and I wonder if it always starts a debate that generates more heat than light? lol

Johnny Mullen
Sorry for the omission and full credit to those groups for supporting the No side, I wonder does the last category capture something of where those groups would be coming from, or?

aunty eu
Totally agree with you that maybe Republicans are not seeing the big picture here. I wonder sometimes if future generations might look upon the Northern issue, at this point in history, as being a bit like Ukraine and Russia arguing over the Crimea in the 60s, while both states were already under the control of the USSR making such a conflict a bit mute? I don't know how the govt is going to win another referendum either, but will they just pass it by parliamentary vote and take their chances with the Supreme Court? I know that would destroy their credibility but its increasingly obvious that they don't give a damn about that, they will do anything that their EU superiors ask of them. I know its a bit of an exaggeration but I think you would have had as much luck asking the former East German parliament to oppose the USSR as asking the Irish TDs to stand up to the EU! And it seems they don't fear, electorally, the No voters because in practice their disinfranchised, they don't have a large viable political movement to support and hence cannot put manners on them in an election like we did in the referendum!

Anyways it just seems to muggins here that the time honoured practice among genuine opposition groups, of fighting among ourselves rather than focusing on the real enemy, needs to be put to one side if we are to sucessfully stand up the powers that be. I know CAEUC are organising a big meeting of No activists so hopefully people of different opinions will come along and argue the toss and maybe cobble together something. Btw the best historical example I can come up with is the way that the various Irish opposition groups came together post the 1916 rising and put up a great fight in subsequent bye elections. These groups before this had been fighting among themselves to a huge degree before they managed to come to some agreement. The three groups were the Irish Nation League (which broke off from the Irish Parliamentary Party because the latter had agreed to the principle of partition), the Liberty League (founded by Count - a papal title he received - George Plunkett on an advanced Republican basis) and Sinn Fein (obviously Griffith's old party which was much derided by the other groups as 'Lords and Commons' men). What happened apparently was that they cooperated during the Roscommon bye election, found they had more in common than they thought and, after a laborious process, cobbled together some kind of unified position as pointed out here by Diarmuid Ferriter:

'"..all parties shared the idea of creating a unified and widely based party which would coincide with the unorganised 'Sinn Fein' or separatist movement, and all were anxious to end the multiplicity of factions which had characterised seperation before the Easter Rising. Yet the next few months were marked by a series of political quarrels which at times made the achievement of unity seem impossible."
Ultimately, what was more important than their divisions was their shared aim of supplanting the Irish Parliamentary Party. Nonetheless, an attempt to reach agreement at a conference in April 1917 caused some acrimony amidst the competing voices. A compromise suggested was that each faction would preserve its distinct identity but cooperate with an organising committee."
(Diarmuid Ferriter, The Transformation of Ireland (London, 2005), p.180 beginning with a quote from Michael Laffan.)

If you follow the debates out there you can see that all those 4 groups mentioned above are dreaming about forming a new political party but I think on their own they just aren't going to be big enough to make much of an impact? I would suggest that a genuine opposition group (as opposed to manufactured ones that seem to hog publicity, you could speculate that one such group from the No campaign has already found favour - meaning publicity - from the powers that be) is going to find itself with a lot of difficulties e.g. it will probably get no media coverage, in which case how will it ever grow? A larger grouping like this would have to get coverage, because it would be just too big to ignore and it would be too interesting and new, with these formerly competing groups now cooperating, to be denied some news coverage. Anyways we will have to wait and see I guess.....

author by generatorpublication date Thu Jul 17, 2008 15:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apart from lots of assertions in Sunday newspapers, and statements by (mostly) right wing politicians like Varadkar and Creighton, there is absolutely no evidence to back up the claim that more than a tiny percentage of people voted because of concerns about immigration.

The flash eurobarometer survey, conducted by Gallup in the days after the poll, found that it was a concern for less than one per cent of the voters.

You can believe nonsense by rabble rousers if you want, but the facts are there.

author by insightpublication date Sun Jul 20, 2008 17:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why are the anti-M3 campaigners, who so readily point out how the M3 is rightfully a crime against EU law, so equally keen to reject Lisbon. It doesn't follow, particularly when the M3 decision was made souly as a result of corrupt Irish unilateralist politics. Besides what has Lisbon to do with the M3? Nothing. Unless, of cause, the M3 is merely a shroud for the recruiting sergeants of the political parties operating within the Save Tara campaign. Hippie canon fodder comes cheap.

author by Frankpublication date Mon Jul 21, 2008 19:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement also campaigned against the Lisbon Treaty. How uncomfortable would that be for others?

Related Link: http://www.32csm.info/eucon.html
author by 20/20publication date Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tara campaigners are not anti M3 per se. They are for heritage protection and call for a rerouting of the M3 away from the Tara/Skryne valley. If EU law could reroute the road then so be it. The Lisbon No voters did not vote against the EU. They voted against the Lisbon Treaty.

author by Brianpublication date Thu Nov 20, 2008 09:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Speaking for myself I don't think that an alliance with the 32 County group and these other groups would be feasible, at least in the short term, because the other groups would be nervous about who exactly they were dealing with as pointed out above? But otherwise I think it'd be great if individual members came forward and cooperated, as opposed to 32csm in total, with this type of grouping?

insight and 20/20
I think you have a point alright in a way and while I completely agree that the mood in Ireland pre the referendum was anti-Lisbon rather than anti-EU I think views might have hardened a bit since.

I suppose you are right to be skeptical about the mass media and so I thought these further quotes might be more persuasive. I think that the Forum on Europe meetings were probably the only large public meetings held on the subject of the treaty where ordinary people got a chance to put their views and questions (whether they got very enlightening answers to their questions is a different issue!). Hence what the general public were saying at those meetings is probably as good an indication as any as to what were the issues in the referendum? And they certainly did raise the question of the immigration inflow. For example it was raised by a Social and Legal Studies student at the Liberty Hall meeting (1) and by a couple of people at the Bray meeting including Thomas MacManus:

"The number of people who are coming into this country, from a large number of countries around the world, is pretty alarming ....When you go out on the street we are beginning to feel as a Cavan man said to me yesterday, and his wife, like foreigners in our own Emerald Isle."(2)
Then it became a major issue at the Blanchardstown meeting, starting with Noel Martin:
"Personally what's turned my stomach against the whole lot, talking about job creation and people emigrating [Proinsias de Rossa had spoke a great deal about how emigration was the lot of his family growing up, unlike the new prosperous EU supported Ireland], my son now has to emigrate because Bertie Ahern ...mainly Bertie...opened the door to Ireland for...immigration .... A level of immigration is essential in any country but it turned out to be an invasion. And if this thing goes through then you will have other countries coming in, have a right to come in, in about 10 years time....Maybe you don't feel it sir, but I feel it, and I know an awful lot of other people feel it, that we are becoming strangers in our own country. That is wrong."
Also raised by Monica Shannon:
"as a development worker we are dealing with huge numbers of people who have come into this country, they are largely coming into the poorer areas of the city putting huge demands on services and I am not saying they shouldn't be here but it makes huge demand upon services that are already very stretched in poor areas,....it also has caused huge fragmentation within our own society here....we aren't just an economy we are a society of people as well."
and Mr. Hanna:
"they have come by the hundreds of thousands...we cannot keep taking 100,000s of people in every year.....more and more the Irish are a minority.....the Irish will be a minority...lets limit the numbers coming in."(3)
At Navan it was raised by about four people (which is a high percentage of the speakers from the audience, who also didn't have nearly as much time to speak as the guest speakers) including by a Ballymun native who is a longtime opponent of Ireland being in the EU:
"Immigration...no one expected the numbers of immigrants into this country from the EEC, and it has had a huge social effect on this country. I would say many people around my age feel that they are strangers in our own country...The Immigrants being used to push down wage rates...the race to the bottom."
And by Eamonn Kelly:
"Proinsias de Rossa said in the Irish Times [before Nice II], in the letters, that no more than 2,000 workers would come from the East to Ireland after Nice. Now, there has been 453,000 PPS numbers given out since May 2004 to Easter European workers so I think we can clearly see that what he said was untrue."
Also this general topic was raised by Anton McCabe, from the Labour party and the Meath chairman of SIPTU, who made two points both related to the immigration issue, firstly the Freedom of Establishment: "where employers, from the EU, will be able to set up business here and pay the rates that pertain to their own country" and "there is also a fear out there that the trade unions hands are tied on this, that legally we cannot object to this or place a picket on that employment or whatever", and the Dublin Convention on asylum seekers (4).

It is very unfair then not to at least acknowledge that it was an issue for many Irish people during the referendum, even if this wasn't reflected in the mass media or among all the political parties? Inho it seems undemocratic to just blank people out like this, not to allow their opinions to be heard or treated with respect? Btw I just tripped across this quote from Anthony Coughlan on the subject:
"There is no international, positive or natural law right that entitles people to migrate to live and work in other people's countries - apart from political asylum seekers, who are recognised as possessing such rights under international and natural law. All independent states have the right to decide who shall settle in their territories and how newcomers may acquire rights of citizenship. Once people of different national or ethnic origins are resident in a country, they have the right to be treated the same as every one else. It is evidence of how the European Union affects the sovereignty of its members that such classical components of citizenship as rights to residence, work and social maintenance must now be extended by the government of each EU country to the citizens of all its member states as a requirement of European law. The states themselves no longer decide such matters. Two distinct democratic principles are involved in assessing international migration policy: the right of national communities to protect their social and cultural cohesiveness and integrity in face of uncontrolled or excessive immigration, and the right to equal treatment of all people within a country. It is the confusion of these two principles that makes rational consideration of migration issues often difficult."(5)
So yes I know it goes against the recent history of these groups to cooperate with the Immigration Control ones but as you can see Anthony Coughlan's views, a person who is obviously well respected among all these anti-Lisbon campaigners, are very similar to the core values listed above for immigration, so maybe such an alliance is not as daft as it first looks? To look at it another way, the question of Irish sovereignty, which is a big issue for all these groups and was of course a big issue during the referendum (e.g. Rossport campaigners would feel strongly that we should assert proper sovereignty over our natural resources, Shannon campaigners feel the same way about that airport, republican groups feel strongly on this issue of course (hence obviously the title '32 County Sovereignty Committee') etc.) is tied up with the question of immigration. Anthony Coughlan obviously feels that limiting the rate of immigration, and protecting 'social and cultural cohesiveness and integrity in face of uncontrolled or excessive immigration' is part and parcel of asserting a country's sovereignty, which in turn might then find some sympathy among these other groups. And maybe when we are at the point where 90 % of new jobs last year went to immigrants (as the late Paul Tansey pointed out in the Irish Times (6)) and where this year alone, when our economy is 'crashed', 110,000 new PPS numbers were allocated to immigrants (7) maybe the wisdom and long term consequences of this inflow are going to be increasingly questioned by a large spectrum of Irish people?

Getting back to the reasons why these groups should cooperate, I think the reality, I respectfully submit, is that each individual group is just too small to survive for long on its own or to have much impact on the media, only together will they get anywhere? An example of how one group feels:
"Increasingly the ins and outs of the campaign fall onto the shoulders of a core number of campaigners who are already stressed out and overworked. Its the lack of wider participation and organised groups outside of Mayo that has led the gardai to abandon its no arrest policy."(8)
Just another point that occurs to me anyway as regards why these disparate groups should cooperate with one another. Anthony Coughlan, in the same article, raises another reason why these groups should get together, because no group can get their policies implemented if the Irish state no longer has the power to set public policy:
"People on the political right wish the state to legislate right-wing measures, those on the political left seek left-wing ones. Neither can obtain their wishes unless they are citizens of an independent state in the first place, with the relevant power and competence to decide.
This is the central theme of the politics of our time. It is why democrats in every country today, whether on the political left, right or centre, are potentially part of an international movement in defence of the nation state and national democracy, against the political and economic forces that seek to undermine these."
By which he particularly means the EU, in that it is micromanaging Ireland so much that we can no longer implement any new public policies that the EU do not approve of. Not a lot of people would go so far as to say that right now, but I think as people think about this and as the EU's power grows they will realise that this is very true. In practice we have all these political groups coming up with a collection of policies that in fact they have no hope of getting implemented because they cut across the huge amount of all powerful EU rules and directives that are out there. For example the EU nowadays pretty much stops the Irish state from supporting or setting up any powerful state or semi state agency, on the grounds that it distorts the market. This happened when the EU stopped those groups on Dublin City Council who tried to set up a city wide wireless broadband network (9), and sometime ago the EU even stopped a busdriver from changing his route into the city centre (10). They also crushed the efforts that were being made in Mallow to either diversify the Sugar Company plant away from sugar beet into some other industry, or to maintain some sugar production, that could have saved the workforce.(11) Political activists, from all persuasions, haven't realised yet that they are wasting their time coming up with new policies to be implemented by local or the national government because the EU rules mean that those bodies have no power to run with any of their new ideas. This is described here by Brian Stanley, the Leas Cathoirleach of Laois County Council:
"All of the EU treaties since 1987, all of them have been incremental in whittling away the powers ...of the Irish state, the powers of County Councils....As a County Councillor I see on a daily basis the powers of the County Councils is being eroded by, by the EU, and more and more we have to swallow EU directives to the point that we have now reached where the tentacles of the EU reach into every slurry pit in Laois and Offaly through the nitrates directive, [points out that the EU compels farmers to spread slurry at a time of year that damages Irish rivers, because the rules are set to suit the central EU climate, not the Irish one]...It [EU power] stretches ....as far as the primary schools.....They have to impose water charges, why? Because its an EU directive. It stretches into the henhouses in Laois and Offaly and Westmeath by virtue of the fact that local people cannot sell produce directly to markets, why? Because an EU directive disqualifies them from doing so....[Question for the 'Yes' campaigners who claim that the EU is not centralising power:] How if over 70 per cent of laws are now EU based, coming from the EU, and why if Leinster House has been turned into a glorified County Council and local Councils have been turned into glorified residents associations...how do you square that with the fact and with your statements that power hasn't shifted to the centre dramatically over the last 20 years? ...I attended a meeting of the Midland Regional Authority today ....the body has no power, no power whatsoever, literally a talking shop. Thats the way things are going in this country. County Councils, Midland Regional Authorities and ....National governments is the same, [we have] less and less power, more and more EU directives."(12)
Some are even comparing the EU's power grabbing to the USSR, as Kathy Sinnott MEP states when she was replying to a question about what model the EU is now following:
"Do you know what the Polish say? And the Czech, and the Lithuanians? and the Latvians?....I have heard MEPs [from those four countries] say, that after they have been there for a while, they begin to get this feeling that the closest model is Soviet. And you know one time when a Polish MEP said this, a woman who was born and raised under Communism, she was screamed at by the Finnish MEP Alexander Stubb, who is one of the stars of the Lisbon Treaty, that she must never say that again...I was sitting next to her and she just turned to me and said thats what the Soviets used to say."(13)
The point is that it makes sense then for the various groups to come together to oppose the centralisation of EU power, so that each group will then have some chance of implementing their policies which are otherwise ruled out because of EU directives etc. In otherwords it should work a bit like the sense of unity that motivated the various Irish groups - with their separate and sometimes contradictory political viewpoints - that opposed the UK over the years, the theory was that each group should come together and campaign for Home Rule etc because none could get their policies implemented while we lacked a native Irish parliament.

Anyway (for what its worth!lol) I would call for the three major Lisbon campaign personalities, Patricia McKenna, Kathy Sinnott and Anthony Coughlan, to come together and see can they form a party like the above. I know I am only day dreaming but something needs to be done? It seems everybody is now crying out for a new political party with the PDs gone, FF looking bedraggled as a result of the economy crashing, the Greens discredited etc etc. Also I would love to see those three more authentic Lisbon campaign figures get a bit more of the limelight rather than a certain other media darling who we are assured slayed the Lisbon dragon single handed!

1. Bray 13 May 2008: http://www.forumoneuropepodcast.org/audio/bray/bray.mp3 .

2. Liberty Hall 4 March: http://forumoneuropepodcast.org/audio/podcast-2008-03-1...3.mp3 .

3. Blanchardstown 5 Feb 2008: http://forumoneuropepodcast.org/audio/podcast-2008-02-0...1.MP3 .

4. Navan 6 May 2008: http://www.forumoneuropepodcast.org/audio/navan.mp3 , you can see a youtube speech by Anton McCabe at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwvDnsamo3k&feature=related .

5. Anthony Coughlan, "Nation, State Sovereignty and the European Union", Studies Vol 93 no. 369 Spring 2004 p.42.

6. Irish Times 6 June 2008 http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2008/0606/1....html .

7. http://www.welfare.ie/topics/ppsn/ppsn_all_month08.html .

8. http://www.indymedia.ie/article/88960 .

9. http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/01/14/...eless

10. http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate.aspx?F=DAL20070628...e=460

11. Joe Sherlock TD: "The Commissioner has been asked a question to which I would like a clear answer. In the Mallow area there is much confusion. Will the Commissioner confirm that the compensatory package on offer from the European Commission is conditional on there being no further production at the Irish sugar plant?"
Commissioner Fischer Boel replying: "On the closing down of the Mallow sugar factory, it is clear that when production is disappearing, one can get all the money available. If one wants to maintain production.." (http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate.aspx?F=AGJ20060510...#N252)

12. National Forum on Europe meeting Tullamore 19 Feb 2008 http://forumoneuropepodcast.org/audio/podcast-2008-02-2...8.mp3 55.40-58.48.

13. Waterford 11 Feb: http://forumoneuropepodcast.org/audio/podcast-2008-02-1...5.mp3 at 110.

author by Reggiepublication date Thu Nov 20, 2008 18:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've been watching this fella Declan Ganley over the last few days as he starts to project himself into the public sphere in anticipation of the upcoming Lisbon 2. I am struck by how mush this guy frightens me. He is a rampant capitalist and ultra liberalist. He stands for everything that I voted agasint when I voted against Lisbon the first time.
Yet, he may be our best chance of defeating Lisbon 2 when it is thrust upon us again. Are we to follow the old military adage which has been the ruination of so many powerful armies in the past and make our enemy's enemy our friend?

Or instead of allowing him to be an unsavoury ally should those of us who oppose the ultra liberalist and capitalist agenda of the Lison Treaty distance ourselves from him immediately lest he should somehow have a hidden agenda to scupper the Anti- Lisbon campaign.
Listening to him gives me the creeps and makes me feel somehow that we are inviting the cat amongst the pigeons.

Anybody out there got any wise words ?

author by Alan Corcoran - nonepublication date Sat Nov 22, 2008 19:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Words of advice i will pass on ,for what they are worth is to study the next proposals we are presented with .
We are supposed to behave like educated people are'nt we ?

author by Will he O Dpublication date Sat Nov 22, 2008 20:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is no such thing as the next set of proposals. Its the same proposal as last time - Ratify the Lisbon Treaty on behalf of Half a billion Europeans or dont !

Sticking a few bells and whistles on it to make us happy is not a solution to the rabid anti-social and ultra-capitalist ethos of this crazy document. Furthermore that the Irish and we alone get a chance to tinker with the treaty is a clear sign of two things. The whole fiasco is compleltely undemocratic and the politicians are desperate to get it passed. I am afraid of anything that the politicians are so desperate to foist on us after seeing what they tried to stick us with on Budget Day..

author by cropbeye - Save Cork Orthopedicpublication date Sun Nov 23, 2008 17:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi stil hoping loi;

You mention Anthony Coughlan in your list and I would caution in having anything to do with him

For years he has been in one conspiratorial mode or another from Official SF

to a position not always clear in the Irish Democrat(published by Irish lefties based in London)

Yet in recent times he has consorted with the likes of the chauvanistic U.K Independance and even

worse in 2002 shared a platform with crazy Justin Barrett.

He has a habit of joining groups and then trying to engratiate himself with whoever is influential within it taking on a level

of self importance in himself that he has not earned.

His own Natioonal platform is tiny and made up of cranks. As an issolationist he is against any form of European links of any kind.

Being positive in referenda is about convincing the greater body of people and it is maintained by offering an alternative vision of

Europe than that peddled by the establishment not just saying we can all be allright if we stay on our own and ignore international and

social movement.

We should be positive in linking up with progressive groups all over Europe in struggle but that means also being sellective in the

likes of Coughlan and other pre made leaders.

author by Brianpublication date Mon Dec 08, 2008 21:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't agree that anybody should be biased against people because of their class? I mean there are honest businessmen out there, and these days plenty of penniless ones! That said I suppose I am being cynical but I just think that we already resemble the USSR in that we always have these fake opposition movements being created when it suits the govt, and the way to identify them is to see how much publicity they get? The real groups get hardly any as I see it so thats why I am suspicious of Ganley. Btw this is a summary of Ganley's views as given by Joe Costello TD to that Dail Committee recently:

"The committee has heard from expert witnesses who stated they did not see any sign of a super-state being created and that there was no stomach in Europe for it, even though traditionally the bigger states might have been regarded as being more inclined in that direction at some time and the case can be argued from time to time. Mr. Ganley came in here and gave us the exact opposite view. He was looking for a super-state and for a constitution of 25 pages, he was looking for a united states of Europe and he was looking for a directly elected president which was purely federalist and super-state." ( http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate.aspx?F=EUF20081121...x=All )
Hence when you have a Lisbon debate between Ganley and the Yes side you have a discussion which argues over two paths to further EU integration and centralisation, the necessity to protect Irish sovereignty - which was the real impetus to the No vote the last time I think - doesn't get a look in. I hope I am wrong but thats exactly what a controlled opposition would have been used for in the former USSR.

Alan Corcoran
But its amazing is it not to what extend we don't know what the proposals are? We even have the Taoiseach flying all around Europe lobbying about something that actually we know nothing at all about. I think we are been taken for fools, rather than 'educated people', by this government to be honest.....
The thing is that I think we need better public representation anyway irrespective of the referendum, and I think that more and more people feel that way now? Maybe even a group could be formed to contest the Local and European elections etc?

Will he O'D
Thats what I was thinking as well....

I think though that Anthony Coughlan has been very consistent in his approach to the EU? He was warning against joining it back in the 60s and has very consistently held to that opinion from that day to this, always arguing from a nationalist-sovereignty perspective. (Which also informs his opinion on subjects like partition, which he always opposed, and the Anglo Irish Agreement, which he wrote a book against.) You can see that in the books he has written like: "The Common Market: why Ireland Should not Join!" (Dublin, 1st ed 1970, 2nd edition 1972); "The EEC: Ireland and the making of a superpower" (Dublin, 1979); and "E.E.C. political union: menace to Irish neutrality and independence" (Dublin, 1985). Actually he was asked by Goulding and Garland to join the Officials but he refused, as you can read in his own words here: http://www.iol.ie/~rjtechne/century130703/leftpol/blath...k.htm , and in an article in the Sunday Business Post: http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2002/08/25/story348...8.asp . I think Ireland owes a debt to him for the way he has highlighted what the EU has been up to over the years, even recently he has written another good article on where we now stand highlighting this quotation from the former President of Germany no less:
”It is true that we are experiencing an ever greater, inappropriate centralisation of powers away from the Member States and towards the EU. The German Ministry of Justice has compared the legal acts adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany between 1998 and 2004 with those adopted by the European Union in the same period. Results: 84 percent come from Brussels, with only 16 percent coming originally from Berlin … Against the fundamental principle of the separation of powers, the essential European legislative functions lie with the members of the executive … The figures stated by the German Ministry of Justice make it quite clear. By far the large majority of legislation valid in Germany is adopted by the German Government in the Council of Ministers, and not by the German Parliament … And so the question arises whether Germany can still be referred to unconditionally as a parliamentary democracy at all, because the separation of powers as a fundamental constituting principle of the constitutional order in Germany has been cancelled out for large sections of the legislation applying to this country … The proposed draft Constitution does not contain the possibility of restoring individual competencies to the national level as a centralisation brake. Instead, it counts on the same one-way street as before, heading towards ever greater centralisation … Most people have a fundamentally positive attitude to European integration. But at the same time, they have an ever increasing feeling that something is going wrong, that an untransparent, complex, intricate, mammoth institution has evolved, divorced from the factual problems and national traditions, grabbing ever greater competencies and areas of power; that the democratic control mechanisms are failing: in brief, that it cannot go on like this.”
- Former German President Dr Roman Herzog and former president of the German Constitutional Court, article on the EU Constitution, Welt Am Sonntag, 14 January 2007
( http://www.nationalplatform.org/wordpress/ )
I think its fair to say too that Herzog's figure of 84% would actually be exceeded now in Ireland in 2008, because Germany is a country that you cannot bully as easily as us with these EU directives - e.g. the German Constitutional Court has struck down some EU directives as unconstitutional (see e.g. http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number6.6/germany-data-ret...on-cc ), a thing unheard of in Ireland -, and the EU's power has noticeably grown since the 1998-2004 period. Isn't it obvious now that the EU is operating like a black hole, sucking in the powers previously held by democratic governments and giving them to an increasingly arrogant unelected elite? It will also be a self perpetuating elite after Lisbon because the national governments will no longer have the power to select their own commissioners, they will be chosen by the EU itself. In otherwords it will work exactly the same as the USSR's politburo, together with the usual sham 'consultative' type assemblies that always existed in Communist countries.

"His own National platform is tiny and made up of cranks."
The fact that the real Irish opposition figures are portrayed as 'cranks' - or worse - in the media is, for me anyway, no accident at all!lol. I believe you when you say that that that organisation is tiny, unfortunately that I think is the simple reality about so many Irish opposition groups right now. Outside the well funded, and media assisted, political parties and state funded think tanks the reality is that there is only a few honest, patriotic and sincere - and now overworked! - people out there? Thats why I think they should make common cause together and unite in a new political party, because they are all too 'tiny' on their own? Just to look at how small we are talking about take too important areas that come into this debate:
a) The legal one. Clearly if the govt thought there was any possibility of getting away with it they would go ahead with Parliamentary ratification and then the question would arise is would any Irish citizen challenge them in the courts? I think if you look at it the fact is that the govt is constrained in what it would like to do by court cases taken by only three people (who know, knew, each other well, and cooperated in the court cases): the late Raymond Crotty, Anthony Coughlan and Patricia McKenna. I suspect that without those three people the govt would have walked all over us on this issue, and its only their fear of the legal clout of the latter two - and their Supreme Court judgements - that restrains them from completely brainwashing us with their media power. In reality, as I see it anyway, we have only two peoples fingers in the dyke here trying to look after the genuine interests of the Irish people.
b) The media. When you read some of the comments made by govt spokesmen after the referendum, and from a document leaked from their bosses in the EU Commission, its obvious that the govt is going to try and crush any eurosceptic Irish media. Its interesting to note that, afaik anyway, of the only four Irish owned newspapers/magazines that opposed Lisbon, three have gone to the wall since the referendum leaving only the 'Alive!' newspaper. (Counting 'The Hibernian', the 'Irish Family Press', and the 'Village' which was relaunched later under new - more pro EU? - management.) And that paper really boils down to only one person, Fr Brian McKevitt OP, scribbling away defiantly in the Dominican priory in Tallaght with even the Dáil blatantly pressurising Cardinal Brady to close him down. So again we are only down to our last few heroes here and if maybe the above four groups could get together they would have enough manpower to launch a newspaper and redress this imbalance?

The point is that if they can control the media then they can make stuff up about the No campaign and brainwash the Irish people into thinking that the No side was uneducated or unreasonable in its criticisms, as they seem to be already trying as Anthony Coughlan also points out:
"The undersigned [Anthony Coughlan] recalls that the first person to raise this scare [the claim that voting for Lisbon would lead to conscription to an EU army] was Mr Tony Brown in a letter to the Irish Times some months before the Lisbon referendum. In this letter Mr Brown condemned what he said were likely to be the exaggerations and false-claims of No-side people, as illustrated by their putting around this scare-story about conscription to an EU army in previous EU referendums. I was actively involved in all of these referendums and have no recollection of this theme being pushed by No-side advocates at any time in the past. I can say with absolute certitude that it was not made an issue in the Lisbon Treaty referendum by No-side campaigners either.

I was personally in touch with virtually all the No-side groups in the Lisbon referendum and saw most of the items of literature which they produced. None of them sought to make supposed conscription into an EU army an issue, nor do I recollect seeing any slogan or piece of No-side literature which made this particular point.

What did happen was that shortly before the referendum Foreign Minister Micheal Martin made a public statement on TV repeating Mr Tony Brown’s earlier statement about this obviously lurid allegation being an example of alleged No-side untruths and misleading propaganda. This immediately gave the statement metaphorical “legs”, as it were. People who did not know anything about an EU army - which is in fact envisaged in the Lisbon Treaty, titled “a common defence”, as distinct from “a mutual defence”, which is something the Treaty also envisages - may have said to themselves: perhaps there is something in this notion of conscription after all if the Foreign Minister is getting so hot and bothered about it!

It was undoubtedly primarily Yes-side people who were responsible for this nonsense, not the much-maligned, much-misrepresented and much insulted No-side proponents, whose genuine concerns about the Lisbon Constitution have been so contemptuously dismissed by so many Yes-side spokesmen. Many Yes-side spokesmen in Ireland have also done their best to create the impression abroad that Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty because of fears about conscription to an EU army, which clearly were not in the treaty. They have thereby sought deliberately to misrepresent and denigrate the democratic vote of their fellow-countrymen.
Looks like a rematch will be a pretty exciting affair anyways!

author by Brianpublication date Wed Sep 09, 2009 09:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Now that Lisbon 2 is up and running I thought I might as well add into this thread a description of the No campaign issues and the various campaign groups that are out there.

Voting again: 'will you go best of three?'
The one point that you hear again and again out there is that the government is playing fast and loose with the integrity of the Irish electorate and the Irish constitution by compelling us to vote again on the exact same treaty we rejected a short time ago.(1) Nobody pretends for a minute that if the vote was Yes the last time that we would get another referendum, the facility to call another vote like this is clearly making a mockery of the referendum system, which Irish people are actually quite proud of and determined to keep intact. In fact some feel its humiliating for Irish democracy itself, as you can see in this quote from the Alive! newspaper:

"Cowen playing a dangerous game
Obama, McCain and Clinton fought vigorously to become US president, but once the people voted, everyone accepted the result. Democracy is a flawed system of government, but it’s the best we have at present. It is most solid when all agree about fundamental values. These include the need to worship God, respect for the dignity of each person from conception to natural death, protection for marriage, respect for the law. But we need to protect our democracy. If it fails, the terrible result can be a dictator, as with Germany under Hitler, or civil war, as happens in so many countries. After the last referendum Taoiseach Brian Cowen rejected, in effect, the decision of the people. At that point the issue ceased to be the Lisbon Treaty, it became the future of our right to govern ourselves. How did Mr Cowen and Fianna Fáil get away with such a dangerous affront to democracy? To do so they needed the support, or at least the silence, of Fine Gael and Labour. This they received. Even more, they needed the complicity of the national media. This also they received, especially from RTE and the Irish Times. Media figures esteem themselves, and want to be esteemed, as defenders of democracy. In Ireland at present, however, they are failing utterly in this role. And the people see it. Lisbon, in its earlier guise, was rejected by the French and the Dutch people. Again the democratic wishes of voters were set aside, flatly rejected. The lack of democracy in the EU has long been recognised as a problem. It has been labelled “a democratic deficit”, as though it were a minor problem. It is not. It is a fundamental flaw at the heart of the whole EU project. A tiny handful of people, the EU Commission, answerable to no one, decide for 500 million people. Whatever our views of the Lisbon Treaty it is a very dangerous game we play if we let Mr Cowen & Co., or outsiders, undermine our democracy. "(2)
INHO he is right, people have cottoned onto this, they do realise that this is an affront to Irish democracy and maybe even former Yes voters will swing the other way because of this.

Clearly the EU is building a United States of Europe, you see their flag on your car registration number, the colour of your passport, they are building EU embassies abroad and will now create an EU Foreign Minister and President, they have a flag and an anthem and already create most of the laws in force in Ireland and will now bring into force a constitution which overrides our constitution etc etc. So this is the real issue, do Irish people want to defend the Irish independence that our forefathers struggled so much for? This is it, this referendum is our Clare election, our East Cavan bye election, it will decide our future for years to come. If we lose, realistically our role as an independent, and democratic, nation is wiped off the pages of history. Of course the Irish political and media elite don't put it like that, and were very annoyed when Cóir posters the last time said just that, but as long ago as 1955 some more astute Irish politicians could see the dangers of the EU. This is Eamonn de Valera speaking in the Dail in that year:
"...except, I might point out, that, on the economic side, for instance, in the Council of Europe, it would have been most unwise for our people to enter into a political federation which would mean that you had a European Parliament deciding the economic circumstances, for example, of our life here. For economic and other reasons we had refused to be satisfied with a representation of, say, one in six, as was our representation in the British Parliament. Our representation in the European Assembly was, I think, something like four out of 120 or some number of that magnitude. That is, instead of being out-voted on matters that we would have regarded as of important interest to us by five or six to one, we would have been out-voted by 30 or 40 to one. We did not strive to get out of that domination of our affairs by outside force or we did not get out of that position to get into a worse one. But, there again, we were anxious to co-operate to the fullest extent that was consistent with our liberty to look after the fundamental things that were necessary to our continued life as a nation.

One of the things that made me unhappy at Strasbourg was that I saw that, at the first meeting, anyhow, of the Assembly, instead of trying to get co-operation and to provide organs for co-operation, there was an attempt to provide a full-blooded political constitution, that there were members there who were actually dividing themselves into socialist parties, and so on, as they might do in a national parliament. As far as we are concerned, whilst we wish well to all those who think that it is in their interest to do that, we certainly felt that we should not be committed as a nation to do it. A nation much more powerful, with her associated States, than we were was chary of that and I, for one, felt that we would not be wise as a nation in entering into a full-blooded political federation."(3)

While the EU has all along being chipping away at our independence Lisbon will be a giant step along the way, as described here by Ashley Mote an outgoing English MEP:
"Lisbon (code for the Constitutional Treaty) creates a new EU quite different from the present one, despite the name being the same. That is part of the deceit. It gives legal personality to this institution, and turns the nation states into regions of a new country with a unitary system of bureaucratic government. And this will be the last treaty because it includes self-amending powers and the specific authority to introduce EU-wide taxation.

This will be the end of the salami-slicing. If Lisbon is ratified the drapes will fall and this new entity will be paraded to the world for what it is – and what its supporters planned all those decades ago. This climax will have been achieved by deception and against the will of many millions of people who were never told the truth, and never asked for their approval."(4)

Workers Rights and the new globalised marketplace in Ireland
It might be fair to say that the EU in general over the years portrayed itself as a kind of white knight protecting the citizen and workers from the vagaries of the world markets. It was often said we needed to join a supra-national organisation like that because multinationals are cross border and only a large body like the EU could properly control these forces for the benefit of the citizen. In Ireland this was combined with a lot of talk that we were going to get Scandinavian style public services and workers protection etc. But clearly the opposite has happened because in this sweeping recession we have we are more prone to volatile market forces than ever before. In fact what has happened is that the EU has driven a globalisation policy onto Ireland, it has deliberately exposed us to greater international market forces by for example compelling Irish public contracts to be advertised Europe wide, by harassing us whenever we attempted to aid Irish state companies, by 'globalising' our financial system on joining the euro, by refusing to allow us to nurture strategic industries that were considered important for our economic independence (like sugar), by throwing open our fishing grounds to foreign fleets, etc. And in fact it is now driving the privatisation process across Ireland, and compelling the Irish government to charge the citizens for essential services like water. In short workers do not feel at all that the EU is on the side of the little guy whether worker or small business owner, with the latter also drowning under huge, and massively expensive, EU driven bureaucracy and regulations. Consequently quite a few trade unionists and small left wing groups are campaigning on these kind of issues and on the overall race to the bottom effect of the EU overriding long standing labour rights.(5)

Then there are two issues whose effect is hard to judge but which could potentially derail the Yes or No side respectively. These two landmines are Immigration and the Economy:

Even this year, after the Irish economy has collapsed, large numbers of migrants are flooding into Ireland and this wave is becoming more disquieting in the light of the enormous difficulties the Irish state is now in. Obviously right now there is only so much money in the Irish state kitty and if large numbers of recent immigrants are taking scarce places in nearly bankrupt schools, hospitals etc, it is naturally frustrating to the natives. Also Irish people are I think feeling more keenly a sense of losing their identity in their own country, which naturally does involve the level of immigration, and are becoming more vocal in their opposition to this. Realistically this level of immigration is very unpopular among most Irish people (despite the fact that no Irish political party opposes this immigration, suspiciously enough!) and they quite rightly blame the EU for it because so many have come here from the recently joined Eastern European EU members. Also under Lisbon we lose the right to decide immigration issues within Ireland, it becomes a competence of the EU and in fact there are remarkable accounts out there that the EU plans to greatly expand immigration from places like Africa. For example there is this report from the Express in the UK:
"MORE than 50 million African workers are to be invited to Europe in a far-reaching secretive migration deal, the Daily Express can reveal today.
Brussels economists claim Britain and other EU states will “need” 56 million immigrant workers between them by 2050 to make up for the “demographic decline” due to falling birth rates and rising death rates across Europe.

The report, by the EU statistical agency Eurostat, warns that vast numbers of migrants could be needed to meet the shortfall in two years if Europe is to have a hope of funding the pension and health needs of its growing elderly population." (6)
Clearly this talk is disturbing to most Irish people who are already shocked at the levels of immigration to Ireland that followed the Nice Treaty, the last time we voted Yes in an EU referendum. Hence some people feel that the immigration issue could really explode the Yes campaign.

On the other hand the economy is the great white hope for some on the No side. Its no secret among many No campaigners that if the govt had called the referendum earlier this year it probably would have passed because of the great shock effect of the economic collapse. Ireland has gone from the supposedly great shining example of a European tiger economy - whose economic policies were always lauded by EU bureaucrats - to pretty much the basket case of this part of Europe. In fact for a lot of people we have replaced Iceland in that capacity, in the New York Times they even had articles entitled 'Erin go Broke'! (7) Unemployment is soaring and is matched by many others who are on short working weeks. The Irish govt has introduced a policy of deflation, with falling wage levels and prices but with static and huge personal and business indebtedness. When the crisis broke I think a lot of people felt that somehow we should be 'nice' to the EU in some vague hope that they would assist us in these difficulties. But now that the shock has worn off most people can see that the EU is not going to rush in and somehow pay everybody's mortgage for them (in fact its only offered various loans, the very thing we have too much of in this country right now!) and that a vote either way will make little enough difference to the economy. Besides as a people we voted No the last time on the issues, and money should not sway us now from doing what is right? Besides the affect of the artificially low interest rates that hit Ireland when we joined the euro, which then caused the credit bubble, and the lack of flexibility in our current exchange rates, we badly need to devalue in order to have any chance of competing against the sterling and dollar areas, is becoming more widely realised and is hurting the argument that the EU is good for the Irish economy.(8) Hence it is clear that these potential Yes voters, who were obvious enough earlier this year, are beginning to swing back to the No side, hopefully in sufficient numbers to carry a No vote.

The Yes campaign is quite disparaging of some of the No arguments, in fact it mostly calls them lies, none moreso than the abortion issue. Its a cardinal of faith for the Yes side that there is no such legitimate issue in the election, and they base that on say 3 points:
1) That abortion is not mentioned in the Treaty, that its not about abortion etc etc.

But clearly the EU has a great track record of mission creep when it comes to its court judgements and treaties. Also the abortion issue in general is often decided by Supreme Courts who interpret old constitutions, which typically do not mention abortion as such, in a new pro-choice light. The US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, for example, permitted abortion even though it is not mentioned as such in the US constitution. Obviously then the Lisbon Treaty is in effect the new constitution for the new EU and who knows how the EU courts will now interpret abortion particularly in the light of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

2) That abortion does not fall within the competencies of the EU, that it is the responsibility of the national governments.

But it is usually admitted that the EU has already decided that in certain circumstances abortion can be classified as a commercial cross border service, in its decision in the Grogan case particularly, and as such does come under the remit of the EU.(9) Besides its clear that many of these family and social issues are now being openly discussed and decided at an EU level despite all this talk of competencies etc. For example abortion, and many other family/social issues like same sex marriages, was debated in the EU Parliament recently when they passed the Catania resolution. Some quotes from this debate, starting with Kathy Sinnott MEP:
"Further, as an Irish MEP and voter, it is interesting to note that this report and the amendments link the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights with the legislation of abortion in the EU."
and secondly the Maltese MEP John Attard-Montalto:
"Although the report refers to numerous issues of fundamental human rights which are laudable, it includes other issues, such as abortion, which should never have been included in this report. As the Maltese social representatives in the European Parliament are against abortion, we have had to vote against these particular parts of the report."
and finally Charles Tannock MEP:
"Specifically, I believe that matters concerning abortion and contraception are not matters for the European Union, but should be subject to appropriate legislation at the level of the Member States. Also, I object to the call for the Charter of Fundamental Rights to override the law of the United Kingdom, which has negotiated an exemption from its provisions."(10)

Also Birgitta Ohlsson, a Swedish Liberal Party MP, has launched an initiative hoping to use the new petition features of the Lisbon Treaty to overturn the prohibition on abortion in Ireland and Malta. She has attracted widespread support in the EU:
"Supporting the initiative are MEPs and community leaders from Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands, including Baroness Sarah Ludford, a Liberal Democrat MEP who sits on Euro-Parliament's committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and Vice-Chairwoman of the European Parliament's Human Rights Sub-Committee. Also listed as supporting are Sophie in 't Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament for the social liberal party Democrats 66, and Lone Dybkjµr, a member of the Danish Parliament for the Radikale Venstre party."(11)
So it strains credulity to claim that the EU is stepping out of this issue and leaving it solely as a matter for national governments alone.

3) Finally we have the protocol that the Irish government inserted in earlier treaties and which is now carried forward into Lisbon. It reads:
"- Nothing in the Treaties or in the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, or in the Treaties or Acts modifying or supplementing those Treaties, shall affect the application in Ireland of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution of Ireland."
So Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution must be take heed of when the European Courts adjudicate on Irish abortion cases. The relevant part of Article 40.3.3 reads:
"The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

To be fair that is quite an important protocol and doubtless does increase substantially the degree of protection for the pro-life cause in Ireland. However there is a great problem with this. Obviously that clause in the constitution has been under siege for the best part of two decades now in the Irish courts. We have had a string of X and C cases etc which have dented its seemingly cast iron protection for the unborn. Particularly the Supreme Court decided that a threat of suicide on the part of the mother should permit the unborn to be aborted. This was much to the horror of the pro-life side who feel that it could lead to widespread abortion if mothers-to-be simply claim that they feel suicidal. The pro-choice side agrees that the Supreme Court permits abortion in this scenario and wants the Oireachtas to legislate this into being. But clearly what is happening is that Irish politicians and courts are wary of allowing abortion because they are conscious of the strong pro-life lobby in Ireland. In short the current Irish prohibition on abortion rests more on the pro-life atmosphere in the country than it does on the wording of that clause in the constitution. But post Lisbon this question is now decided by the EU courts, i.e. they adjudicate what that 40.3.3. wording should mean in the context of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the atmosphere in Europe is heavily pro-choice. There is a giant hole here in the Yes sides argument about abortion and Lisbon if you think about it. The Yes side claim that this protocol rules out abortion but the pro-choice side is always talking about how Irish politicians are supposedly too gutless to legislate for abortion here etc, hence acknowledging that abortion is not ruled out by the wording of 40.3.3, yet this wording is the only protection that is offered in the Protocol.

Its also a matter of debate as to what happens if the EU courts decide that abortion is a fundamental right. Then the Charter would be in conflict with the Protocol and the courts presumably could go either way in deciding how to balance the contradictions in the law they have before them. An international law firm, the European Centre for Law and Justice, which has appeared many times before the European courts feels that this is an important issue:
"This [the Protocol] does seem to foreclose the possibility that the Lisbon Treaty or subsequent amendments to it could supersede Article 40.3.3. However, it does not rule out other possibilities to override the Irish Constitution that would not include Treaty law. The most likely scenario would be legislation, or even more probably, a court decision, that would declare abortion to be a fundamental human right. This is not a remote possibility; in fact, given the recent history of the European institutions, this is more probable than not to happen. Witness the fact that in May of 2008, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution calling for all 47 member states to decriminalize abortion. Additionally, only 3 of the 27 current EU Member States have laws with significant restrictions on abortion (Ireland, Poland, and Malta).
If the European Court of Justice were to decide that abortion is a “right” in interpreting the Charter of Fundamental Rights, it appears that this decision, (in the absence of an opt-out clause similar to that for Poland and the UK) would be binding on Ireland, Protocol 35 notwithstanding.
It should also be noted that following the recent decision of PACE that declared abortion to be a human right, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg released a report on his recent visit to Ireland in which he criticized Ireland for failing to legislate for abortion and also for failing to adequately protect children under state care." (12)

An EU Army?
Another issue much scoffed at by the Yes side is the issue of the militarisation of Europe and whether or not it is seeking to create an EU army. We are assured by that side that nothing could be further from the truth, that the question of an EU army is just ludicrous scare mongering and conspiracy theorising etc etc. Where could the No side have got this strange notion from I wonder? Was it when RTE news broadcasts referred to 'EU warships' and then rapidly withdrew the report? (13) Was it because the EU has created military 'Battlegroups' which Minister O'Dea dismisses as simply an 'unfortunate' title! (14) Maybe it was from statements by people like the British Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden:
"They [the UK govt] are sleepwalking towards a European army and seem to have little awareness of what is going on."(15)
And this process is tied into the Lisbon Treaty, as described here by President Sarkozy:
"With the Lisbon Treaty we will have a coherent framework, in terms of defence. When it comes into force, the institutional framework of the European security and defence policy will be consolidated for many years, and that is how it should be. The Treaty will create an obligation of mutual assistance in case of an armed aggression, and an obligation of solidarity in case of a terrorist attack."(16)
In fact the Institute for Security Studies, a full EU institution, has recently published a report calling for a 360,000 strong EU military force. It has a foreword by Javier Solana and contains comments like this:
"There is a broad consensus among the authors that EU autonomy is implicit in the entire thrust of European security and defence policy since St Malo. This should imply in the years to come a number of permanent structures: a formal College of Defence Ministers chaired by the EU 'Foreign Minister'; a European Security and Defence College with its own budget and premises to train all personnel in a common strategic culture of the Union; a European Command to plan and conduct the Union's military operations, alongside a civilian command and an integrated civil/military capability; joint manoeuvres on the ground for European forces.

The EDA and other relevant EU agencies should also be equipped with means commensurate with the EU's international ambitions.

Setting up the civil/military autonomous command for EU missions is the most urgent task. This should be followed by intelligence, to be gathered directly through a European agency.
A common budget should be established, to pay for the common structures and to finance a significant part of the ESDP military missions, namely providing logistical support, in particular transport. This would notably require suitable funding arrangements for Battlegroups to be devised, so as to share the burden of battlegroup readiness and operations fairly and squarely.'

The EU should therefore set itself as a strategic target by 2020 of having at the ready a very sizeable force with the adequate equipment....The target of 60,000 troops (i.e 180,000 allowing for rotation) should be met as soon as possible. but the EU's ambition should be to double it by 2020.

The ambition for the Union by 2020 should not be a European mini-defence project spearheaded by the most militarily capable member States, but a powerful foreign, security and defence policy able to pull together, in a coherent and consistent way, the weight of all member States and of all the European institutions.
Broad as it already is, it is unlikely that the geographic scope for ESDP missions will become much wider: the EU acts independently of NATO in the framework of the UN and has deployed missions not only in Europe, but also in the Mediterranean, Africa and other regions of the world. Afghanistan must be seen as an exceptional case of EU states' involvement in a NATO expeditionary mission rather than the rule. Conversely 'Europeanising' EU member States' contributions to UN missions - Lebanon being a case in point - would not necessarily mean any significant degree of perimeter expansion.'" (17)

Hence the No side are hardly so far off the mark.

Since its sometimes a confusing picture I thought I would list here the main groups campaigning against Lisbon:

List of No Campaign Groups
Cóir, going by their very successful poster campaign the last time, is undoubtedly the largest of the No campaign groups. They include a lot of Youth Defence activists - among many others - and tend to emphasise the threat to Ireland's spiritual values, and the question of abortion in particular, along with the many other issues that No groups have raised like taxation, worker's rights being undermined by Laval, immigration etc. Richard Greene is their best known figure and they famously campaign from 60a Capel Street in Dublin.
( http://www.coircampaign.org/ )

All Irish Republican groups are campaigning against Lisbon including Éirigí ( http://www.eirigi.org/latest/latest060909_2.html ), the 32 County Sovereignty Movement ( http://www.32csm.info/Lis2.html ), Republican Sinn Fein ( http://no2lisbon.net/ ) and of course the large Sinn Fein ( http://www.sinnfein.ie/no-2-lisbon ). SF is by far the largest Irish political party campaigning against Lisbon but the somewhat suspicious No campaigners, despairing of any help from the 'establishment'!, are talking about a lacklustre Sinn Fein campaign so far. Nonetheless people like Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD are among the most prominent and articulate of the anti-Lisbon speakers. I think it would be fair to say that all these groups are emphasising particularly the threat to Irish sovereignty posed by Lisbon, as well as this race to the bottom effect post Laval etc.

The People's Movement. The best known figure here would be Patricia McKenna and it also contains a fair few Green Party activists disillusioned with their role in government. Other patrons of this movement include Declan Bree, Joe Noonan, Finian McGrath TD, and Robert Ballagh. The threat to Irish sovereignty is again the main issue emphasised. Their HQ is 107 Amiens St in Dublin (near Busaras and Connolly Station).
( http://www.people.ie/ )

The 'Farmers for No' group was launched sometime ago at a meeting in Dublin with Kathy Sinnott as the guest speaker. It includes many ex-IFA members and officials, including James Reynolds from Longford and David Thompson. Although it was only founded recently its a surprisingly large group as you can see from the list of their officer board on their website. They feel that the 'silent majority' of farmers will in time come to look on the EU much like the fishermen do now, their former colleagues in protracted quota negotiations in Brussels who are now bitterly disillusioned with the EU. As such the Irish Fishermen's Organisation is now also campaigning for a No vote: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/furious-fisherm....html .
( http://farmersforno.blogspot.com/ and see also http://www.westmeathexaminer.ie/news/mullingar/articles...ance/ )

The earlier 'Campaign Against the The European Constitution' (CAEUC) group has morphed into the 'No to Lisbon Campaign'. They use the UNITE trade union offices on Middle Abbey Street for the campaign and include people like Seamas Rattigan and Michael Youlton. Sinn Fein, the Socialist Party (with their new MEP Joe Higgins) and the Socialist Workers Party (linked to the People before Profit Alliance) and many of the smaller left wing organisations are affiliated to this campaign. They focus on the aforementioned Laval judgement, and the affect of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, saying that the 'Lisbon Treaty undermines jobs, pay and conditions'.
( www.sayno.ie and see http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93595 )

The Truth Coalition of Ireland are also campaigning against Lisbon, including distribution of their paper the Sovereign Independent. They bring together people who are campaigning against the New World Order and for the true facts to emerge on international issues like 9/11. They are hosting a meeting in Dublin on the 20th of September featuring Prof Anthony Coughlan. 'We the people' are I think a similar grouping coming from the same perspective: http://www.wethepeople.ie/ .
( http://www.sovereignindependent.com/ and see also http://info-wars.org/?p=6112&cpage=1 and http://www.truthcoalitionireland.org/?page_id=2 )

Éire go Brach, based in Cork, are coming from a traditional Irish nationalist perspective, along with serious concerns on immigration. Tomás mac Cormaic is one of their members and they are headquartered on Blarney Rd in Cork. The Irish Society for Christian Civilisation ( http://www.isfcc.org/ ), with an address in Swords, is also campaigning for a No vote, in pursuit of similar ideals.
( http://eiregobrach.ie/ )

The Peace and Neutrality Alliance, a long standing organisation dedicated to protecting Ireland's traditional neutrality, is also campaigning against Lisbon particularly against the increasing militarisation of the EU. It has an address in Dalkey and it's best known figure is possibly Roger Cole.
( http://www.pana.ie/ )

The Irish Friends of Palestine have thrown their weight into the No campaign, highlighting the role of the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, especially as it relates to Palestine, and its increasing power under Lisbon. Some key figures here include Seán Clinton and Raymond Deane.
( http://www.ifpal.ie/ and see also http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93281 )

Hopefully many concerned Irish citizens will want to help out one or other of those groups as they try to compete against the well funded Yes campaign in setting up posters and canvassing etc. Don't worry about the media blackening and all this talk of 'fascists' and 'loolas' etc, the truth is that the vast majority of the ordinary members of these organisations are patriotic Irish people who are very concerned about this treaty and its implications. They need your help, and so does Ireland!

1. For example see http://www.politics.ie/lisbon-treaty/99489-lisbon-yes-d....html .

2. Alive! January 2009: http://www.alive.ie/editorsjottings.php .

3. Speaking in the Dáil on the 12th of January 1955: http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0152/D.0152.1....html .

4. http://www.ashleymote.co.uk/?p=1466 .

5. See for example http://www.caeuc.org/index.php?q=node/531 .

6. http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/65628 .

7. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/opinion/20krugman.html .

8. For a description of the EU's role in the Irish economic crisis see http://www.indymedia.ie/article/90758 and http://oireland.tripod.com/euro.html .

9. The Irish Times description of the 1991 Grogan court case:
"1991: The European Court of Justice rules that while abortion is a service available under EC law, students unions in Ireland - facing an action from the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) to bar them from distributing information on how and where to obtain an abortion - could be prohibited from distributing such information because they had no financial links to the UK clinics providing the service" ( http://www.irishtimes.com/focus/abortion/issues/chronol...y.htm )

Senator Ivana Bacik's legal opinion given sometime ago: "In SPUC v. Grogan, European Court of Justice, October 1991, the European Court of Justice held that medical termination of pregnancy constituted a service within the meaning of the Treaty of Rome where 'performed in accordance with the law of the State in which it is carried out.' The Court in that case ruled that it had no jurisdiction since there was no commercial link between the activities of the information providers in Ireland (the students' unions against whom the case had been taken), and the providers of terminations in England (the abortion clinics). But the judgment leaves open the possibility that EC law may be invoked in future..." ( http://www.prochoiceforum.org.uk/ireland6.asp ).

10. EU Parliament debate 14 Jan 2009 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-/...tem13 . Incidentally this motion was based on the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty despite the fact that the Treaty has not being enacted yet, as described here:
"The Motion also erroneously builds its arguments on the supposition of the binding legality of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and on the presumptive speculation of the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty by all Member States, despite the recent referendum to the contrary in Ireland. Building soft law on the presumption that the enactment of the Lisbon Treaty is a foregone conclusion not only strains credulity but runs contrary to the principles of democracy and Member State autonomy. This same reasoning also signals the attitude of the European Parliament to the citizens of Europe that it does not, and will not respect their views as pertains to the ratification of Lisbon."
( http://www.telladf.org/UserDocs/EPmemo.pdf ).

11. http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jul/09071701.html .

12. http://www.eclj.org/PDF/080609_ECLJ_Lisbon_Treaty_analy...l.pdf .

13. http://www.politics.ie/europe/38636-eu-warships-3.html .

14. Willie O'Dea, the Minister for Defence, referring to the Battlegroups: "Like many others, I find the term "battlegroup" unfortunate. It has connotations that some will exploit to raise baseless fears." (Irish Times 10th Feb 2006 http://www.forumoneurope.ie/eng/index.asp?docID=922 ).

15. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/468....html .

16. http://www.politics.ie/europe/41314-bringing-nato-eu-to....html .

17. Courtesy of He3 at http://www.politics.ie/europe/94213-eu-security-institu....html .

author by Tarapublication date Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some readers may also be interested to know that an effort has been made (in an e-mail sent to all of Ireland's MEPs last Sunday) to try and focus attention on what I see as the extremely important issue of European Union attitudes (and actions) relating to DEMOCRACY, and the fact that while EU leaders are obviously very well able to "talk the talk" regarding this core social issue (i.e. democracy), they nevertheless seem to fail miserably when it comes to actually "walking the walk": which is something I find very worrying, and which leaves me feeling very doubtful about their ability to stand by and to responsibly uphold all of their other assurances.

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that DEMOCRACY should be the KEY issue in this Second Lisbon Treaty debate.

I say this because of my deep-rooted fears that if "genuine democracy" is lost (in Europe and elsewhere), it may soon be replaced by "genuine tyranny" throughout Europe, and the rest of the world perhaps? -- which has implications that are almost too frightening for me to even think about.

Connected with this particular concern of mine, I am now listening more carefully to all the growing amount of talk I hear coming from Lisbon Treaty supporters about making Europe "more efficient".

More efficient for what exactly? -- I hope it's not bullying and bulldozing other people and other nations, global warfare, and suchlike???

E-mail (referred to above) to Irish MEPs dated Sunday, September 6th 2009:

"First things first" I would say: we should all try to make absolutely sure on October 2nd that genuine democracy remains a reality -- and that is not allowed to be transformed (by any slight of hand or tongue) into a completely meaningless verbal fantasy of some kind.

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