Irish Republican News · June 19, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: ‘NO MEANS NO’
‘NO MEANS NO’
lisbonresult.jpg

The European Union is generating its own crisis as the Eurocrat ‘elite’ refuse to accept Ireland’s NO vote in last week’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Senior EU figures have been unable to accept the clear expression of Irish democracy in which the Treaty was rejected last week by a clear 7% margin. After an engaged national debate, a relatively high turnout came down decisively against the treaty, which would dilute Ireland’s power within Europe.

A ‘No’ majority of over a hundred thousands votes came as a surprise to most -- including the Irish establishment and bookmakers who, based on exit poll rumours, had started paying out on bets for a ‘Yes’ vote.

Only 10 of the 43 constituencies in the 26-County State voted in favour, in some cases by a slim majority, and all but one in Leinster.

The treaty -- a constitution for a pre-federal European superstate -- must be ratified by all 27 current members of the European Union before it becomes law in all member states. With the treaty adopted, European officials intended to construct a US-style federation of states stretching from the Aran Islands to the border with Iraq, ruled from Strasbourg, Brussels and Berlin.

The other EU states did not their people to vote on the Lisbon Treaty since the rejection of a similar text by voters in France and the Netherlands in 2005. Most of the EU states have now said they are “ruling out” a further renegotiation, despite the Irish verdict.

“One thing is certain - we won’t start drafting a new treaty,” declared French minister for European affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet. And within days of its rejection by Ireland, the British House of Lords cynically voted to ratify the treaty on Wednesday night.

Only the Czech government has declared that ratification is in doubt following the Irish vote, after its President Vaclav Klaus declared the treaty dead.

Pressure is being heaped on Dublin to agree to hold a new referendum in the spring on the treaty if several ‘declarations’ are made. These would be used to convince voters that a better deal had been secured, a strategy which proved successful following Ireland’s rejection of the related Nice Treaty seven years ago.

Warnings by the ‘No’ campaign that the current situation is entirely different, and that such a strategy will almost certainly fail, appear set to be ignored.

However, there is also a reported willingness to utilise a clause in the Lisbon Treaty that would enable all member states to retain a permanent member of the commission. The move could herald a step away from the perceived anti-democratic ultimatums of the so-called ‘grey men of Europe’.

There have also been mutterings regarding a postponement of the proposed pan-European corporate tax rate. A proposed new EU tax law could decimate Ireland’s exchequer, which is highly dependent on the low rate of taxes imposed on income reported by US and other multinational corporations here.

‘NO CONFIDENCE’

There has been a glum and hostile response in the Eurocrat strongholds, including calls in the European parliament for Ireland’s commissioner Charlie McCreevy. Like all of Ireland’s establishment politicians, McCreevy advocated a ‘Yes’ vote, but failed to provide a reason why and said the treaty wasn’t worth reading.

“This man goes to Ireland and says he has not read the treaty and tells people there is no need to read it,” said the leader of the Socialist group, Martin Schultz. “Is that a way of instilling confidence?”

European Commission president Jose Barroso, who himself damaged the ‘Yes’ campaign when he threatened Ireland would “pay a price” for the Treaty’s rejection, said: “It’s true that I didn’t find his [McCreevy’s] declarations very fortunate . . . but attacking the Irish commissioner is not the best way of fostering dialogue with our Irish friends.”

Back at home, opposition leader Enda Kenny of Fine Gael said: “One thing is very clear. The vote is now history and the treaty as put to the Irish people in a question last Thursday cannot be put to them again in that same fashion again.”

Sinn Féin, the only party in the Dublin parliament to oppose the Lisbon Treaty, delivered a detailed submission to beleaguered Taoiseach Brian Cowen on what the party feels a renegotiated Lisbon Treaty should contain.

The document was delivered to Mr Cowen in advance of the Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels, which is currently underway.

Party MEP Mary Lou McDonald said the ratification process must end and EU leaders must now negotiate a new treaty.

“The people have now spoken and the Lisbon Treaty is over. This document contains the detail of the better deal, which Sinn Féin argued for during the referendum. It represents short-term strategic reforms, which we believe, are reasonable, practical and deliverable in the context of any upcoming negotiation,” she said.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said he was concerned that the Dublin government was sending “mixed signals” to other European capitals in the wake of last Friday’s ‘No’ vote.

Mr Cowen must make it clear to fellow EU leaders that the Irish ‘No’ vote must be respected, he said, “otherwise the bigger states will think that we can be walked over. Well, we won’t be walked over. We want our voice about the shape of Europe to be taken into account”.

The Vice President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton said that the Irish people had rejected what was a “power grab” by the EU political elite.

“A clear marker has been laid down to the Dublin and Brussels political establishments. The Irish people are not prepared to give over more power to an institution which they do not elect and which is not accountable to them.”

© 2008 Irish Republican News