Wednesday 28 May 2008

More Contraditions from No Camp

On Prime Time last night Declan Ganley of Libertas and Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin made interesting points against the Lisbon Treaty, but they were full of contradictions.

Declan Ganley decried the loss of Ireland's veto in a number of new areas. Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan retorted that the vast bulk of EU measures are in Ireland's interest and therefore it is better they get passed. Mr Ganley replied that yes, but two big powers plus two smaller ones can block such a measures.This is blatantly contradictory. How can one argue in favour of a veto for single countries but lament the fact that now four countries can block a measure? (Incidentally the blocking threshold was increased from 3 to 4 in the negotiations to stop the three biggest states from blocking measures agreed by the smaller states)

The other interesting point was made by Mary Lou McDonald. She reluctantly admitted that Ireland's veto on taxation is safe in Lisbon but that our corporate tax might be undermined by back-door measures. This is extraordinary stuff from a party whose policy on taxation until recently advocated that corporate tax should be hiked up to 40% for some sectors, which would make it the highest in Europe. Sinn Féin's dpolicy documents until recent years deplored the lower tax regime in Ireland, in particular the lower capital gains and corporate taxes. Are these lower taxes now sacerd all of a sudden or is Sinn Féin setting aside its core principles for the sake of expediency in campaigning against a Europe that it so much loathes?

5 comments:

Robert O'Coillean said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are Ireland!

Tomaltach said...

Robert,
Thank you for taking the time to reply. You make your case with admirable passion.

I don't agree with your analysis.

First, Ireland has already, through previous treaties, agreed that the EU is the best place for it and to prosecute her interests. Lisbon, though deepening integration, does not involve signing away sovereignty in the dramatic way you imagine.

Second, you may be full aware if this, but then, as a person whom I assume is normally resident outside the state, I'll reiterate anyway: our membership of the European Union has been enormously beneficial in a whole host of areas - from workers to human rights, from economics to heritage, from environment to infrastructure. Our inclusion in Europe gave us self confidence and allowed us to move out from the shadow of our neighbour.

Third, you say, "let Ireland be Ireland, not some small dot on the EU map". I say the alternative is to be an even smaller dot on the global map. Through clever alliances, and a "community method" that is certainly generous to minuscule states, the EU offers us an excellent vehicle to forward our interests in a world dominated by giants.

Finally, your point about the way your own Federal state emerged is well taken. The power of each state was diminished. I am not qualified to make a judgement there. But from the outside, the strengthening of your federation enabled it to become the greatest economic power on earth. Surely some very substantial gains flowed from that for all Americans.

Vince said...

The Spalpín has over on his train post a good explanation of the treaties with his Dart being at five different stations at the same time. This whole thing has the feel of Flann O'B about it.

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