Breaking down the border

In the aftermath of last week’s Investment Conference, Tom McGurk’s been examining just what the North has to offer potential investors and taking a longer look at how the new political and economic realities are likely to impact on traditional unionist attitudes to the border.

  • Chris, surely this is the traditional line that we’ve come to expect from the ‘Sunday Provo’. I don’t imagine it will cut much ice with pan-Unionism.

  • Elvis parker

    Yawn pisspoor diatribe and voodoo economics not even worth trotting out the arguments for frankly

  • Cahal

    Three telling contributions there lads.

  • 0b101010

    As usual, makes a leap on a partial argument that economy policy set from Dublin would be better than economic policy set from London.

  • Wow. Astounding that he got paid to write that.

  • Nestor Makhno

    On purely cold, hard rational terms his case is hard to argue against:

    London and the South East dominate the UK economy to the deteriment of all other parts – NI worst of all. We are ridiculously out of kilter.

    Macro-economic policy is in complete thrall tothe financial services engine and the rest of us can go hang.

    It’s also true that a Belfast executive would have much more clout over a Dublin adminstration than it has ever had over a London one (and, to put it cynically, without the threat of conflict or a hung parliament, this influence will diminish further.)

    BUT – despite all this the majority want to remain in the UK.

    Interesting one for the market fundamentalists – people do not necessarily follow the money or the market. They have whims and feelings that are not logical and can’t be factored into a economic model.

    Almost gives me a warm glow for unionism…. (Almost)

  • Jon

    He seems to be saying that anywhere with a land border should have that border removed as people on both sides in similar areas have similar economic interests.

    Quite a redrawing of the world map…

  • “pan-Unionism” is there such a thing?

    Regardless, the article may be yawn-worthy but that’s probably because most of its points are blatantly obvious and rely less on economic theory and more on basic common sense.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    McGurk asks:

    “…isn’t it time (unionists) took a closer and critical look at some of their more traditional political assumptions?”

    The answer of the unionist posters on this sitre seems to be: Nevaaarr, nevaaarr, nevaaarr, nevaaarr!!!!

    Of course the reality is that it doesn’t matter whether, to use Nevin’s phrase, McGurk’s argument “cuts any ice with pan-unionism”. (If indeed there is such a thing.) McGurk is just a commentator. It’s not his job to lead people or bring them to a new consciousness. It’s his job to try and read the runes as best he can, and give the punters five minutes’ worth of good reading. He doesn’t claim to be doing anything other than that. He does the latter very well. Future historians will decide how well he does the former.

    It won’t be newspaper articles that cause unionists to “take a closer and critical look at some of their more traditional political assumptions”. It will be the hard facts of life – and the economy looms largest of all. It will be a fact that I think those in favour or reunification will warm to in the years ahead: forget nationalist rhetoric and just point out, at every opportunity (and there will be many) the sheer cost of partition and the union, both in terms of outgoings but more importantly, in terms of lost opportunity. And make the argument that unionism = poverty of ambition, poverty of spirit and indeed, actual (relative) poverty itself.

    Of course for many, their unionism is about identity, and that is no small thing, but those in favour of reunification should hammer home the point that this identification comes at an unconscionable cost.

    Nestor

    “Interesting one for the market fundamentalists – people do not necessarily follow the money or the market.”

    I’m far from a market fundamentalist, but it’s far too early to make this judgement. Let’s see where we are in twenty years.

    Jon

    “He seems to be saying that anywhere with a land border should have that border removed as people on both sides in similar areas have similar economic interests.”

    No, he’s not saying that. He’s specifically talking about Ireland and the Irish border, and specifically arguing that the island of Ireland is a natural economic and political unit. Whatever about the political bit, even unionists no longer seriously dispute the bit about a natural economic unit (though they might phrase it differently).

    You are doing what people often do when presented with an unanswerable argument: you take that argument and expand it to the point of meaninglessnes, so that the debate become an amorphous, philosophical and pointless discussion about borders generally. It’s a neat ruse to distract from the very specific argument being put forward – an argument that even McGurk’s most shrill, man-playing detractors cannot begin to refute.

    NOTE TO MODS

    Incidentally, if Shore Road Resident’s post isn’t a textbook case of playing the man, I’d love to see what is. I’ll give you some free advice re. media law: SRR’s post is libellous, and I’d remove it asap if I were you. It’s already been there for more than six hours.

  • Billy, pan-Nationalism wasn’t much troubled by economic arguments in earlier times so I doubt if pan-Unionism would be so troubled now.

    I put forward the notion of devolution under shared sovereignty and the the merger of strands 2 and 3 because IMO that best respects and accommodates the two main political aspirations.

    If you think the Sunday Provo is likely to put forward an inclusive approach …..

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    “pan-Nationalism wasn’t much troubled by economic arguments in earlier times so I doubt if pan-Unionism would be so troubled now.”

    One: there’s no such thing as “pan-nationalism”, and two: there’s no such thing as “pan-unionism”. But that aside….

    Your argument misses the point. Although NI was once richer than RoI, the economic circumstances of nationalists in NI tended to be fairly dire in the decades that followed partition. People in Monaghan in the 1940s might have been poor, but at least they could aspire to a job in, say, the civil service, or some slice of OPW business. Catholics up the road in Armagh were frozen out of the public sector economy entirely.

    Macro-economic data showing the north to be outperforming the south meant little to people who effectively were shut out of the economy because of their religion.

    Unionism had fifty years of untrammeled power during which they could’ve made unionists out of a lot of Catholics. They might have succeeded if they had treated the minority population differently, but unfortunately, when given the opportunity to treat Catholics/nationalists cruelly with apparent impunity, unionism was incapable of resisting. It took almost five decades before nationalism bit back. Five decades in which unionism could have seduced at least establishment Catholics/nationalists.

    Instead the choice for nationalists was: a) impoverishment and independence, or b) impoverishment and humiliation.

    At least in Monaghan they had a government that didn’t want them to emigrate and that regarded their poverty as a failure. Armagh nationalists knew “their” government at Stormont regarded their poverty as a success. Every Monaghan emigration represented a loss to the Free State/RoI. Every nationalist/Catholic emigration from Armagh represented a victory for the state of Northern Ireland.

    Do you really think a future 32-county Irish government would make the same mistake, and regard northeastern British-Irish Protestants the way, say, Basil Brooke’s government regarded Catholics and nationalists?

  • Billy, as always, your posts are very eloquent and you are the ultimate in fairness. A true gent. I’d say it’s tough at times to live with that parochial, little 6 county nationalism up there.

  • slug

    The world is the real economic unit.

  • Billy, you seem to have overlooked the roles of the, er, 26-county government, boycotts, Ne Temere, territorial claim, militant republicanism, self-imposed apartheid et al that might have given a little ‘balance’ to your political history. You could also have mentioned the desire of say Presbyterians to give the new 26-county administration a fair wind …

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    “Billy, you seem to have overlooked the roles of the, er: 26-county government…”

    Their role in what? We’re talking about why the northern state totally failed to make unionists out of any significant number of Catholics, despite having an economic advantage. (As well as all the advantages that go with simply being the status quo.) The southern government isn’t really a big reason for that.

    “…boycotts,”

    Aside from the shameful episode at Fethard-on-Sea, I can’t think of a boycott after the mid 1920s. You think Collins’ Belfast Boycott was a reason why nationalists in the north were never seduced during 50 years of unionist hegemony? That seems a preposterous suggestion.

    “…Ne Temere”

    What does this have to do with the northern state’s failure to make unionists out of any significant number of Catholics?

    “…territorial claim”

    If this impacted on the northern state’s failure to make unionists out of any significant number of Catholics, it was only in a very marginal way.

    “…militant republicanism”

    But militant republicanism (in the north) existed because of the northern state’s failure to make unionists out of any significant number of Catholics. You’re not addressing that issue.

    “…self-imposed apartheid”

    Ah, this old canard. Of course nationalists/Catholics were every bit as free as unionists to give their allegiance to the unionist state. Perhaps had the unionist state conducted itself more impressively, more subtly, with less tolerance for anti-Catholicism and anti-Irishness, a chunk of Catholics/nationalists might have done so. But that isn’t what happened.

    I’m arguing that the northern state had a chance to make unionists out of at least a decent chunk of the Catholic population – and that equally, a future 32-county state will have a chance to make Irish patriots out of at least a chunk of present-day unionism.

    “You could also have mentioned the desire of say Presbyterians to give the new 26-county administration a fair wind…”

    But that’s nothing to do with the reasons why the northern state failed to make unionists out of any significant number of Catholics.

    The reason why the northern state did fail in this way, is because those in charge of that northern state tended to hate Catholics and tended to rather enjoy acting cruelly towards them.

    Now, some southern governments have been inept, some corrupt, but that accusation could never be levelled at them. And Catholics in the north have tended to notice.

    A future all-island republic will not be doomed to repeat the fatal errors of the 1921-72 unionist junta.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Slug

    As I said to Jon earlier:

    “You are doing what people often do when presented with an unanswerable argument: you take that argument and expand it to the point of meaninglessnes.”

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Howard Campbell Jnr

    You are very kind, sir, though you do a disservice to northern nationalism – perhaps understandably, given some of our public representatives. But as I always say, context is everything, and our context in the Poisoned Six is such that none of us get much chance to show the best of ourselves. Of course, given my political views, I ascribe this mostly to the border, and see few problems here that wouldn’t be alleviated by the removal of that particular choke-hold around our country’s throat.

  • slug

    Billy

    “you take that argument and expand it to the point of meaninglessnes”

    Perhaps, but, then again, perhaps he and I also have a point which you are not addressing.

    Michelin Ballymena export globally. So do Wrightbus. So do Shorts. So do Gallaher. So do financial services and other high tech industries that we want to develop. They have to compete with companies all over the world.

    Meantime we import from all over the world.

    For some businesses the economic unit is more local then island level – retailing and hairdressing. For others the economies of scale happen to be at island level. It actually depends on the particular circumstances and technology of the industry in hand.

    Many of the arguments driving the deepening of the EU, and arguments for the Eurozone, are because the relevant economic units market is bigger than most nation states. Remember that Ireland does not set interest rates at Ireland level.

    And as for fiscal policy…Ireland’s successful company tax policy is arguably a sign that the “economic unit” for setting company tax should be at EU level, otherwise we get a race to the bottom in company tax rates as capital moves from one base to next. Certainly this is what Brussels thinks.

    And so on.

    Don’t get me wrong. I favour going for all the trade and all the efficiencies that are available. But the “economic unit” for the businesses that we wish to develop is–in a very real sense–the world.

  • “We’re talking about …”

    No, Billy, you want to ignore context and to dole out a heavily jaundiced and poisonous perspective.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Nevin

    Just to think, Shankill butchers jibe apart. You would probably be considered one of the more level headed and fair minded Unionists. Yet you proscribe Billy’s analysis as a “heavily jaundiced and poisonous perspective.”

    If guys like you refuse to recognise the faults of the past, it’s no wonder we have so many Unionists on here still throwing out fantastically discredited myths like ethnic cleansing and other such nonsense.

  • qubol

    Nevin you select a few terrible episodes in the history of the Republic and try to equate that with the Stormont regime! I also see you try to portray Articles 2&3;as some sort of shameful blemish on the Republic! Some might say that’s something of “a heavily jaundiced and poisonous perspective”

    Slug: I take what you’re saying about competing globally but the point of the article and also Billy’s point is that the likes of Michelin, Wrightbus etc could do even better in an all-Ireland economy with economic policy controlled from Dublin. Our London driven economic policy is and always will be London-centric.

  • Eoghan and Qubol, if you look a little more closely you’ll see that that I was adding some themes to the mix that Billy overlooked.

    Also, Billy’s casual dismissal of notions of pan-Unionism and pan-Nationalism leaves little scope for nuance. It was my privilege to work with very decent folks from a wide range of backgrounds over many years and I wouldn’t like to lump them in with the likes of Martin McGuinness and Jackie McDonald.

  • Steve

    Nevin

    the fact that he cassually dismisses pan-nationalism and pan-unionism says to me that he is making room for nuance and not lumping every one together. How does dismissing pan-anything possibly lead to lumping everyone together

    Infact wasn’t pan-nationalism coined in an attempt to equate all nationalists with terrorists or is it just the way peaceandjustice uses it

  • Shore Road Resident

    Let me be quite clear about this. Under no circumstances whatsoever am I prepared to find myself in a country where the likes of Tom McGurk can claim to represent majority opinion on my indentity. Wars have been fought over less – and indeed, Mr McGurk’s newspaper has tacitly supported the protagonists in at least one of them.

  • qubol

    Steve you beat me to it, are you out of sorts this weather Nevin?

  • Just a bit of tummy trouble, Qubol, but nothing like the bile that poor Billy was unleashing 😉

  • Steve, I’ve used ‘pan-‘ as a collective form for those groupings linked to one or other of our constitutional aspirations. Sometimes they combine against the ‘other’; sometimes they fall out amongst themselves; sometimes they even manage to con some of the ‘other’ to join them. I’m sure I don’t need to join up the dots …

    If you can spot any nuance in Billy’s utterings that I might have missed perhaps you could point it out.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Slug

    Your point is like a footballer saying: “It doesn’t matter whether I play for Chelsea or Chimney Corner reserves, it’s all the same game.” It’s true, but meaningless. Context matters. The world economy is football, but the “economic unit” is your team. Presently, we’re cleaning the boots at a big club but we’ll never play. Not even one Carling Cup appearance, as a substitute. The manager has made it clear he doesn’t even want to hear our name mentioned and, though we have an open-ended contract and he can’t kick us out, he wants us to leave at the first opportunity. Meanwhile another club, a mid-table outfit, wants to sign us and wants us to play an integral role. What do we do?

    The island is the “economic unit” insofar as the economic interests of this island are broadly uniform, and substantially differ from the economic interests beyond this island (however much unionist ideologues will pretend that there is some sort of archipelagic common interest). McGurk’s point is that, if you take two neighbouring businesses in Monaghan and Armagh, the one in Monaghan – operating under an Irish government – has an huge advantage over the one in Armagh, ruled from London. His point, as far as it goes, is unanswerable.

    You’re right that many local businesses have competitors worldwide. This is my point: wouldn’t, say, Wrightbus, be able to compete more effectively if “their” government was more responsive to their needs? Wrightbus is of little significance in a UK context, but would be a big deal in an all-Ireland context. There’s a lot of fuss made about Ireland’s 12.5% corporation tax versus the UK’s 28%, but the more fundamental question is, wouldn’t the local business sector like to actually matter when “their” government is setting rates of taxation?

    Political sovereignty that has given RoI the ability to look to its own interests , to set its own economic policies which, in turn, have allowed the Republic to punch well above its weight in the global marketplace. It’s the lack of independence that prevents NI from doing likewise. The results of this divergence are plain for all to see.

    “And as for fiscal policy…Ireland’s successful company tax policy is arguably a sign that the “economic unit” for setting company tax should be at EU level, otherwise we get a race to the bottom in company tax rates as capital moves from one base to next.”

    But that hasn’t been the way it has worked. There are so many other variables. Ireland offers a young, educated, highly-skilled, English-speaking workforce inside the EU, an effective civil service, low rates of crime, low levels of corruption (don’t laugh! Transparency International says Ireland is 17th least corrupt country – not outstanding, but ahead of Japan, France, USA, Belgium etc), enlightened government economic policy, low levels of national debt, high levels of entrepreneurship, flexible government and, in national sovereignty, the ability to take hard decisions tailored to local needs. Other countries might be able to match Ireland’s low rates of taxation, but few can match the overall package.

  • “…self-imposed apartheid”

    Ah, this old canard.

    Canard? Would that be the fancy name the PRM gives to those in dark glasses and berets who do that duck-waddling perambulation at paramilitary funerals, Billy?

    Cardinal Brady has identified himself with this expression of apartheid even though he hasn’t given any examples of how it took place at the time of the formation of the two states:

    “After partition Northern Nationalists kept a respectful distance from the State
    and became ‘a society within a society’. The Catholic Church was the key institution
    in integrating the community and clerical leadership was important. There was an
    intertwining of Catholicism, Irish culture and political nationalism.”

    If the Catholic Church here had followed the example of southern Presbyterians perhaps it might have made a difference. We’ll never know.

  • “Ireland’s low rates of taxation”

    Billy, those might disappear fairly rapidly after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty …

  • George

    Nevin,
    “those might disappear fairly rapidly after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty …

    Ireland has a perpetual veto on such tax matters, even after the Lisbon Treaty, so are you saying that the Irish State will vote to remove this veto? I don’t think so.

  • George, if/when the EU goes for further harmonisation of its powers the Irish veto will IMO have all the potency of that first Nice Treaty vote.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    “No, Billy, you want to ignore context and to dole out a heavily jaundiced and poisonous perspective.”

    No Nevin, I never ignore context. However, I do make judgements on the degree of relevance a particular area of context. My judgement is that Articles 2&3;, Ne Temere, boycotts etc were of little or no relevance to the reasons why nationalists remained alienated from the state of NI, even fifty years later. (Indeed even 87 years later.)

    Our debate began with your observation that: “pan-Nationalism wasn’t much troubled by economic arguments in earlier times so I doubt if pan-Unionism would be so troubled now.”

    My argument was that since “pan-nationalism” (sic) never got a taste of NI’s former economic advantage, “pan-nationalism” had no incentive to let itself be seduced by unionism. NI’s former economic advantage gave unionists a half-century window in which they might have made happy citizens out of a big chunk of the nationalist community, but they failed to do so. Believe it or not, nationalist opinion of the northern state was chiefly influenced by the experiences of nationalists within the northern state. The things you pointed to are simply not relevant to why this was the case – they are nothing more than whataboutery.

    My point is that a future all-island state will have a similar opportunity to make happy citizens out of a big chunk of the current unionist community. I would not expect an all-Ireland government to mistreat its largest minority, as the unionist junta 1921-72 did.

    “Billy’s casual dismissal of notions of pan-Unionism and pan-Nationalism leaves little scope for nuance.”

    Steve beat me to it. This makes no sense. You want to lump everyone in together, using a phrase that has its origins in loyalism’s genocidal “All Taigs Are Targets” philosophy (sic), yet you claim that it’s ME who leaves little scope for nuance? Are you on drugs or what?

    “It was my privilege to work with very decent folks from a wide range of backgrounds over many years and I wouldn’t like to lump them in with the likes of Martin McGuinness and Jackie McDonald.”

    Er, sorry, but that’s exactly what you were doing, and what I rejected. Gordon Wilson and Johnny Adair? Fellow “pan-unionists”. Dessie O’Hare and, I dunno, Paddy Kielty? “Pan-nationalists”.

    As for your ad hominem attacks, they reflect rather badly on you, as others have pointed out. Very reactionary. I wonder what could have caused these spasmodic reactions in you?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    SRR

    “Let me be quite clear about this. Under no circumstances whatsoever am I prepared to find myself in a country where the likes of Tom McGurk can claim to represent majority opinion on my indentity. Wars have been fought over less – and indeed, Mr McGurk’s newspaper has tacitly supported the protagonists in at least one of them.”

    You have one vote, same as anyone else. You have the same democratic, civil and legal rights as any other citizen, and will continue to have regardless of the constitutional position. No more and no less. It you were to attempt to use violence to usurp the democratic, civil and legal rights of your fellow citizens, you would rightly find yourself in prison.

    Furthermore, you do not and will never have the right, either in the UK, the Republic of Ireland or some future all-island state, to libel any person.

    Incidentally, I’d be interested to hear about the wars which started over a newspaper column, or over the political opinions of a rugby pundit.

  • qubol

    Nevin, the sefl-impossed apartheid line is plainly ridiculous and saying so is far from unbalanced. Unionism has failed and in the main through their own doing.
    We have 2 clear choices IMO the main stumbling block to the logical re-unification of Ireland is Unionist pride. So the question is, should we compromise our own future so as not to hurt Unionist feeling?

  • George

    Nevin,
    if/when the EU goes for further harmonisation of its powers the Irish veto will IMO have all the potency of that first Nice Treaty vote.

    And on what information do you base this opinion on?

    Is it an informed or an uninformed opinion?

    What new powers within the Lisbon Treaty will be used to bring about such a conclusion?

  • Qubol, Cardinal Brady seems a fairly reasonable man and he seems to have no qualms about identifying himself with that definition of self-imposed apartheid.

    Why would a Nationalist ‘solution’ resolve a “Unionist-Nationalist” problem?

  • kensei

    nevin

    Cardinal Brady has identified himself with this expression of apartheid even though he hasn’t given any examples of how it took place at the time of the formation of the two states:

    “After partition Northern Nationalists kept a respectful distance from the State
    and became ‘a society within a society’. The Catholic Church was the key institution
    in integrating the community and clerical leadership was important. There was an
    intertwining of Catholicism, Irish culture and political nationalism.”

    If the Catholic Church here had followed the example of southern Presbyterians perhaps it might have made a difference. We’ll never know.

    I told you last time, Nevin. It wasn’t Cardinal Hume. It was Cardinal Brady, and he was quoting:

    http://www.catholiccommunications.ie/pressrel/archbishopseanbrady-london-5thmay2004.html

    Some further context:

    In the midst of such discrimination and a deep sense of alienation from the
    Northern State, the structures of education, health, parish and community
    provided by the Catholic Church, made it a very natural alternative source of
    political and cultural identity for Northern Nationalists. As one commentator
    explains:

    After partition Northern Nationalists kept a respectful distance from the State
    and became ‘a society within a society’. The Catholic Church was the key institution
    in integrating the community and clerical leadership was important. There was an
    intertwining of Catholicism, Irish culture and political nationalism.

    This sense of collective self-sufficiency and alienation from the Protestant,
    Unionist entity called Northern Ireland, was further compounded by the Catholic
    experience of the Orange Order, actively promoted at that time by many Protestant
    clergy and politicians. Defined and motivated by its sacred oath to ‘strenuously
    oppose the fatal errors of Rome’ and to uphold ‘a Protestant State for a Protestant
    People’, the Orange Order had become a hugely powerful and unifying force within
    the otherwise disparate elements of Protestantism and Unionism.

    I told you last time, you are wilfully misrepresenting what he said.

  • More of a gut feeling, George. It just seems like a logical progression to a United States of Europe and Ireland is a small nut in that process. Perhaps I should say two nuts as Ireland the state contains two EU regions.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    “Canard? Would that be the fancy name the PRM gives to those in dark glasses and berets who do that duck-waddling perambulation at paramilitary funerals, Billy?”

    What on earth does this have to do with the issue at hand? PRM – founded 1970. What of the previous half-century of alienation?

    “Cardinal Brady has identified himself with this expression of apartheid even though he hasn’t given any examples of how it took place at the time of the formation of the two states:”

    Nice use of the word “apartheid” there. It’s a bit like saying that blacks in South Africa were every bit as much part of the apartheid system as whites – factually correct but so breathtakingly dishonest as to be both technically true and a lie at the same time.

    “If the Catholic Church here had followed the example of southern Presbyterians perhaps it might have made a difference. We’ll never know.”

    I would have said it was far more incumbent on the state to demonstrate that it would have room for Catholics as well as Protestants, that it could cherish the Irish as well as the British-Irish. Perhaps had the state done so, it might have made a difference. We’ll never know. The relationship between southern Presbyterians and their new state is irrelevant to the issue of the relationship between northern Catholics and their relationship to their new state.

    I would also point out that the Catholic Church was tentatively accepting of partition in 1921 – the hierarchy’s principal concern was that they would protect their interests re. the education system, and once reassured, they tacitly accepted partition. Furthermore, the Irish Party held a northern conference in Belfast and, swayed by the eloquence of Wee Joe Devlin, by a slim majority voted to accept temporary partition. This is not a misprint – a gathering of people who would become “northern nationalists” voted to accept partition.

    Clearly there were foundations here on which the new unionist state could have built. I believe that at least the Catholic Church and lay establishment were there to be corrupted by the power and patronage of the new state. The working men of west Belfast might have had different political views if they’d had jobs in the shipyard. Ambitious, educated young Catholics might have been less embittered if they’d been able to get cushy jobs with the civil service or juicy public sector works contracts, instead of having to watch often less qualified Orangemen get them.

    Unionism had a chance but blew it. There’s no reason to suspect that an all-Ireland government would be so stupid as to make the same mistake.

    “Billy, those might disappear fairly rapidly after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty…”

    If they do, it will be as a result of a decision taken by Ireland’s freely-elected parliament, and any Irish government introducing such legislation would have to convince the electorate that it was in the interest of Irish people to do so. That’s democracy. As George has already pointed out, Ireland will retain its tax veto – a veto it has, and retains, because of political independence.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    “Cardinal Brady seems a fairly reasonable man and he seems to have no qualms about identifying himself with that definition of self-imposed apartheid.”

    One: he doesn’t use the word “apartheid”. (Hugely important.

    Two: what he was describing was not “self-imposed” but rather a reaction to encountering a hostile state.

    You are being highly dishonest Nevin. Highly dishonest.

  • Democratic

    “My point is that a future all-island state will have a similar opportunity to make happy citizens out of a big chunk of the current unionist community. I would not expect an all-Ireland government to mistreat its largest minority, as the unionist junta 1921-72 did.”
    I suppose time will tell for this – Unionists obviously suspect very differently than Billy – though hopefully I will not find out either way in my own lifetime – and it’s looking good so far.
    As for the only impediment to a UI being Unionist pride as being touted by Qubol – this just shows for me the true gulf between one communities understanding of the other….

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    “Why would a Nationalist ‘solution’ resolve a “Unionist-Nationalist” problem?”

    It’s a bit like the attitude of the northern counties when the GAA removed Rule 21 (banning security forces). Of the northern counties, only Down voted to remove the rule. They all knew it would be removed, there was an overwhelming majority in the country at large, but the northern counties couldn’t bring themselves to vote for it. They knew it was one, last parting shot, nothing more. When the rule was removed, they did not protest. Quietly, and in a way they wouldn’t readily admit, the vast majority of northern Gaels I have spoken to were glad and relieved to see it go. They had been relieved of an historic burden that they might never have been able to put down themselves.

  • Kensei, why do you mention Cardinal Hume?

    How am I misrepresenting Brady when the intertwining predated the formation of both states?

    Moloney’s book on the IRA paints a picture of Alex Reid and his Redemptorist colleagues devising a ‘Brits out’ stepping stones strategy aided and abetted by the global influence of the Catholic Church. It seems the price of that strategy locally was the transfer of the ‘control’ of the ‘society within a society’ to the PRM.

  • qubol

    Nevin for someone who has demonstrated a real eye for detail on these forums I can only conclude that your presentation of what the Cardinal said is not a simple mis-understanding but as Billy and Kensei have pointed out – utterly dishonest. Not that it will bother you too much but I’ve lost a lot of respect for your comments here.

  • “It’s a bit like ..”

    Billy, I don’t think the comparison stands up. Your example deals with a little local difficulty within the ‘pan-Nationalist’ family.

  • Qubol, I described the Cardinal as a reasonable man. I didn’t get all steamed up about some of the important detail that he left out; I presume he’s not an historian.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Billy, I am mystified as to why you consider it libellous to point out that Mr McGurk’s ex-wife married an Ulster Prod. This is a fact and common knowledge – the former Mrs McGurk and her new husband are a well-known media couple in Dublin.
    As McGurk uses his column to spew out insults against Ulster Prods week after week it is only fair to ask if there is some personal motivation for his attitude. After all, as you say, he is only a rugby pundit.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    “I don’t think the comparison stands up. Your example deals with a little local difficulty within the ‘pan-Nationalist’ family.”

    My point is that human beings are complex creatures, subject to emotions that might be contradictory and unpredictable. Sometimes people don’t want what’s good for them. Sometimes people just can’t bring themselves to put down an emotional burden, but are actually rather glad when someone else does it for them. (It’s like in that episode of Cheers where Carla says that many years ago she swore to her estranged father that she would only ever return to his house if she was dragged kicking and screaming – so she asks Sam to carry her, so she can kick and scream all the way.)

    Unionists are human beings. Nationalists are human beings. We’re both subject to these crazy human emotions.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    SRR

    I’ll email a reply to you. I don’t want to drag up the details of your previous post as I don’t want to create any legal difficulties for Mick. It’s Mick and Slugger that could be sued for what you write, so it’d be a good idea if you showed a little more circumspection. If you want to be cavalier, set up your own blog.

  • Billy, I used the term ‘self-imposed apartheid’. It fits fairly well with the notion of a ‘society within a society’ used by some and ‘a state within a state’ used by others.

    The ‘reaction’ you refer to had occurred at the time of the formation of the two states. IIRC over twenty Nationalist councils affiliated to the Dáil and one third of Catholic schools received their teachers salaries from the Dáil. Cardinal Brady doesn’t mention this but I’d be surprised if it didn’t have a bearing on future events. [ref Bardon’s ‘History of Ulster’]

  • kensei

    Kensei, why do you mention Cardinal Hume?

    Cos I had it in my head from last time and didn’t read back.

    How am I misrepresenting Brady when the intertwining predated the formation of both states?

    Great, now you’re trying to go fucking willow on my ass.

    First of all you are saying that he said something he didn’t. He quoted it. Second, you suggest earlier that this was “self-imposed apartheid”. We’ll ignore the pejorative language for now. It was not, and that is not his argument. The argument as Billy points out, is that it was a reaction to a hostile state.

    There is a huge gap between what you are saying and what is laid out in the speech. So much so that this:

    Qubol, Cardinal Brady seems a fairly reasonable man and he seems to have no qualms about identifying himself with that definition of self-imposed apartheid.

    Is downtright dishonest.

  • “Sometimes people don’t want what’s good for them.”

    I know, Billy, that’s why I’m not surprised that no-one shouted “Cheers” when I wrote the script for my version of shared sovereignty et al 😉

  • kensei

    Nevin

    The ‘reaction’ you refer to had occurred at the time of the formation of the two states. IIRC over twenty Nationalist councils affiliated to the Dáil and one third of Catholic schools received their teachers salaries from the Dáil. Cardinal Brady doesn’t mention this but I’d be surprised if it didn’t have a bearing on future events. [ref Bardon’s ‘History of Ulster’]

    At the formation of the state it was by no means clear that Northern Ireland would be around very long: certainly a lot of areas expected to be moved into the Republic by the Boundary Commission. I could also point out that the formation of the state there were pogroms against Catholics and a lot of people forced out.

    But this would be to miss the point. Are you seriously suggesting that Stormont was powerless due to a few years of early turbulence and that it is vastly more significant than instutionalised discrimination?

    Aye, right.

  • Kensei, I pointed out that Brady identified himself with the statement so there should be no need to throw in ‘quote’ as some sort of smokescreen. I also claimed that the statement was a definition of self-imposed apartheid.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    It’d be much easier to take your point seriously if you didn’t use the word “apartheid”.

    You have accused me of using terms that are “jaundiced” and “poisonous” and of “spewing bile”.

    Time to take that beam out of your eye there…..

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    “Brady identified himself with the statement so there should be no need to throw in ‘quote’ as some sort of smokescreen.”

    But you completely divorced the statement from the context in which Brady quoted it. Indeed you are pretending it had a quite different context altogether – you are still being dishonest.

    “I also claimed that the statement was a definition of self-imposed apartheid.”

    Then you’re wildly wrong. What Brady described (or more accurately, what Hume described) was neither “self-imposed” nor “apartheid”. It was a reaction to, and retreat from, a hostile state.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    SRR

    I tried emailing you but your email address doesn’t work. You can email me your address and and I can get back to you, if you’re interested in a reply to your last post?

  • kensei

    Nevin

    Kensei, I pointed out that Brady identified himself with the statement so there should be no need to throw in ‘quote’ as some sort of smokescreen. I also claimed that the statement was a definition of self-imposed apartheid.

    He did not “identify himself” with the statement. He quoted it. What was mentioned was a defensive measure in reaction to a hostile state, not as “self imposed apartheid”.

    Even more, it is still wrong. There was an intertwining of those things form at least the time of O’Connell. Nationalist Ireland in the North simply went on as before. The new state made no effort to change matters.

    Sorry, Nevin, you can’t blame us for Unionist misrule.

  • Kensei, I contrasted the southern Presbyterian ‘fair wind’ approach to the very different Catholic one here.

    If you look at the island’s history you’ll probably note an interaction between the attacks in say Belfast and Cork; the minorities in each case were the major victims.

    It seems that Unionist and Nationalist councillors ‘enjoyed’ the privileges associated with discrimination; I understand there was some sort of ‘gentleman’s agreement’ on this issue in Newry – though you may not find it in the NICRA documentation.

  • “It was a reaction to, and retreat from, a hostile state”

    But, Billy, this self-imposed apartheid began at the moment of conception. Presumably the planning predated that historic moment.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    SRR

    Incidentally:

    “McGurk uses his column to spew out insults against Ulster Prods week after week.”

    This statement is both factually incorrect and substantially untruthful.

  • “He did not “identify himself” with the statement. He quoted it.”

    Your getting yourself in a bit of a tangle there, Kensei …

  • “Sorry, Nevin, you can’t blame us for Unionist misrule.”

    Well you don’t appear to be a Unionist, Kensei – so I’ll have to blame youse for something else – whatever youse are 😉

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    “But, Billy, this self-imposed apartheid began at the moment of conception. Presumably the planning predated that historic moment.”

    So your point is that divergent political views and religious/cultural sectarianism existed in the six counties before a border was drawn around them? Get outta here!

    (Jesus wept. It’s frustrating to see someone as conspicuously intelligent as yourself wilfully affecting such denseness. It’s always the last intellectual refuge of those emotionally unready to let go of a dead-end political credo. Are you sure you aren’t Willow in disguise?)

    Of course Catholics in the new NI weren’t the happiest campers around. But the point is that, though the Catholic/nationalist population represented a challenge, the sheer advantage of a shiny new state, and its economic advantage over the Free State/Republic gave unionism a huge opportunity to make happy citizens out of a significant proportion of Catholics/nationalists – an opportunity that unionism never even thought about trying to take.

    That is a reality completely unrelated to the array of smokescreens you keep throwing up.

  • barnshee

    “The reason why the northern state did fail in this way, is because those in charge of that northern state tended to hate Catholics and tended to rather enjoy acting cruelly towards them.

    Now, some southern governments have been inept, some corrupt, but that accusation could never be levelled at them. And Catholics in the north have tended”

    What an armpit

    As the descendent on both “sides”, of protestants forced out of the ROI via boycott threats and in one case murder I for one have no intention of supporting any coalition with the ROI and its murder gang fellow travellers in N Ireland

    Try “The IRA and Its Enemies: Violence and Community in Cork, 1916-1923: Peter Hart: “

  • Billy, my point is that I agree with the definition of self-imposed apartheid that Brady identified with when he used that quote. I also pointed out an important point or two Brady overlooked.

    I don’t think that labelling either of our two major aspirations as ‘dead-end credos’ is at all helpful. Hence my proposal to accommodate both as far as that is possible so that we could work the common ground together. The merger of strands 2 and 3 puts our relationships with the rest of these two islands more or less on a par.

    PS Perhaps you’re being ‘blinded’ by your own smoke 😉

  • kensei

    Kensei, I contrasted the southern Presbyterian ‘fair wind’ approach to the very different Catholic one here.

    Really, because I keep being told by Unionists on here that Southern Prods got the hell out, or were forced out of the new state, or were killed. You are also dealing with entirely different animals. The goal of Irish Nationalism was at least nominally a state that included Catholic and Protestant. The goal of Unionism was a Protestant state for a Protestant people.

    And again: the Catholic Church was, funny enough, central to the lives of many Catholics. Catholic schools predate this state by quite a distance, as do many Catholic community organisations and events. It was also entwined with Nationalism long before partition: partly because the Irish Church drew from, er, Nationalist stock. For Catholics to have a life independent of the state and covers many different areas requires no grand plan or preparation for anything. It just requires things to go on as before.

    The lack of interaction with the state was not the result of some incredible feat of groupthink. It was a reaction to the state being quite clear on who was welcome to contribute to civic society, and who should be prevented as best possible fro doing so.

    It seems that Unionist and Nationalist councillors ‘enjoyed’ the privileges associated with discrimination; I understand there was some sort of ‘gentleman’s agreement’ on this issue in Newry – though you may not find it in the NICRA documentation.

    This has nothing to do with the point at hand.

    Your getting yourself in a bit of a tangle there, Kensei …

    I have quoted you throughout this thread. Does it mean I share your opinion? Have I “identified myself” with it?

  • slug

    Billy

    To srip down your reply to me you seem to be defining “economic unit” not as “market” but as “unit for economic policy”. This is a worthwhile point but our economic architecture suggests many overlapping “units” depending on the policy question in hand.

    The economic policy questions at hand are multiple. Ireland no longer sets interest rates, for example, having been convinced that the relevant unit for monetary policy formation is much higher than Ireland-level. And in terms of industrial subsidies there are tight EU rules which limit nation states competing against each other unfairly. Environmental policy needs a global frame (particularly relating to global warming and the implementation of higher petol pump prices). And in competition policy – e.g. whether two firms should merge – an EU-wide competition policy operates for firms selling in more than one state (subject to certain criteria). Further, all EU countries come under the common agriculture policy.

    One major economic policy instrument in national hands is tax and spend policy. There are many in Brussels who believe that harmonization is needed here and I think that “beggar thy neighbour” tax policies can be damaging if they are not controlled. That said, I believe that a greater level of fiscal devolution would be worth thinking about, and there is currently a UK-wide debate about this. The Calman Commission which is currently deliberating in Scotland will be interesting, because it is likely to establish more powers to be transferred to the Scottish Government which could be replicated – if local parties agree – for the NI case. My sympathies are for more power to be devolved in the first instance and for NI many of the issues are similar to those in Scotland.

    The spirit of much of what you say might be “local policies for local needs” and as a localist I think there is much in that.

    Where I think that Nortern Ireland needs the greatest development is in education and training policy. I believe that excellent research-driven universities and schools are important tools in tackling the low-skill nature of our workforce. To me this is by far NI’s biggest economic challenge and here I agree in local solutions to local challenges. Our ministers are only now getting to work.

    There are some areas in which the ROI is part of an “economic unit” in the sense that I use the term, namely a market. Energy is a good example. Here there are potential efficiency savings from North-South cooperation to create a more competitive market and to benefit from economies of scale. The biggest problem facing our globally competitive manufacturing businesses such as Wrightbus, Michelin, Shorts, Gallaher, etc, are the high energy costs (that is what the firms say). The benefits of the single electricity market have so far been modest but its to be hoped that more progress can be made.

  • Kensei, I disagree with the different animals bit; the beasts had quite a bit in common. I suspect many Unionists were happy, maybe even relieved, that the northern Nationalists had taken the self-imposed apartheid route. IIRC the proposal for ‘integrated’ education was opposed by all of the main churches.

    You referred to institutionalised discrimination so I gave you the Newry example.

    The ‘tangle’ that I referred to was one of your own quotes, not one of mine.

    The sentiments about giving the new southern state a fair wind were IIRC made at the time of its inception by Dublin Presbyterians. I suppose that would have rendered them pro-treaty and could have led to some of those attacks that are recorded in subsequent minutes of the Presbyterian General Assembly.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Barnshee

    “As the descendent on both “sides”, of protestants forced out of the ROI via boycott threats and in one case murder I for one have no intention of supporting any coalition with the ROI and its murder gang fellow travellers in N Ireland.”

    Any mistreatment of Protestants in the Free State/Republic might explain Protestant alienation from the Republic, but it does not explain Catholic alienation from the northern state – which is the point at hand. Incidents like the Dunmanway killings, are a black stain on our history, but they do not explain why nationalists in the six counties still hated the state of Northern Ireland decades after partition.

    The remarkable thing is that unionists generally still seem unable to admit that the state itself, and the way it conducted itself, might have had something to do with that. Instead we get nonsense about Cork in the 1920s – as if that was the reason, say, the Civil Rights Association gained traction.

    “my point is that I agree with the definition of self-imposed apartheid that Brady identified with when he used that quote.”

    But Brady never said anything about “self-imposed apartheid” – a point I’ve made about three times now. That you keep refusing to address that point – and moderate your highly offensive language – demonstrates that your interest here is in mitigating the naked bigotry of the Orange junta.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sorry, that last point was in response to Nevin.

  • “Here there are potential efficiency savings from North-South cooperation to create a more competitive market and to benefit from economies of scale.”

    Slug, perhaps you should have a look at this Allister press release.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Slug

    “you seem to be defining “economic unit” not as “market” but as “unit for economic policy”.”

    That’s exactly what I was trying to say, but wasn’t able to say it so well, and so succinctly.

    Excellent post. I think we would agree on an awful lot. You want Northern Ireland to succeed. I want Armagh, Antrim, Fermanagh, Down, Derry and Tyrone to succeed. Seems like we’re pulling in the same direction.

  • kensei

    Nevin

    Kensei, I disagree with the different animals bit; the beasts had quite a bit in common. I suspect many Unionists were happy, maybe even relieved, that the northern Nationalists had taken the self-imposed apartheid route. IIRC the proposal for ‘integrated’ education was opposed by all of the main churches.

    There was no self-imposed apartheid route. There was discrimination. You have made this up and the only support you’ve offered is misquoting someone.

    You referred to institutionalised discrimination so I gave you the Newry example.

    It remains irrelevant. If Newry was a little island of Nationalist bigotry in a sea of Unionist bigotry, it is independent of the institutionalised discrimination of Stormont and localised in its effect.

    The sentiments about giving the new southern state a fair wind were IIRC made at the time of its inception by Dublin Presbyterians. I suppose that would have rendered them pro-treaty and could have led to some of those attacks that are recorded in subsequent minutes of the Presbyterian General Assembly.

    With respect, the Southern Presbyterians did not really have the option of ignoring the state: they were a tiny minority, and Presbyterianism is not really centralised as Catholicism is. Had they ran between 30-40% of the new state, you may have found their attitude quite different.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Slug

    Though I would add that, any economic powers that Europe exercises in Ireland have been placed there by Irish people, by Irish voters and by a sovereign Irish Republic. If Ireland has pooled any aspects of its sovereignty with other European nations, that has been Ireland’s sovereign decision. Ireland also retains a sovereign right to secede from the EU at any time. But the RoI has been able to make the trade-offs when necessary to make European membership work for its citizens, without a need for all the existential angst and barely-concealed xenophobia that you see in Britain. If ever the Irish people think the balance has tilted too far towards Brussels, then as a sovereign people they retain the right to walk away. Sovereignty allows them that freedom – a freedom that we in the north do not have.

  • Billy, the design of a ‘society within a society’ or a ‘state within a state‘ is IMO very aptly labelled self-imposed apartheid. Brady used the quote so I presume he identified with it, notwithstanding his apparent lack of appreciation of the timing of the ‘design’.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    Bullshit.

    “Apartheid” is not an adjective. It was a specific system of discrimination practiced in a particular place at a particular time. It was imposed by a strong government to repress a disenfranchised and oppressed section of the population.

    To describe any nationalist retreat from the hostility of the Orange junta as “apartheid” is not merely in poor taste, nor is it not merely an inaccurate description.

    It is a lie, and a lie that you have been pushing here long enough.

    With your mendacity and dishonesty and lies, you have succeeded in sucking the life out of what might have been an interesting debate. Well done. It’s what you set out to do, isn’t it?

  • Kensei, do you think that NICRA should have been ‘honest’ about the nature of discrimination here? I give you the example of Newry but it wasn’t the only place where Unionist, Nationalist and Independent councillors were able to exercise their power of patronage.

    You’ll find the Bardon references in pp499-502 which confirm the apartheid mindset that was in operation at the time of the formation of the two states.

    The southern Presbyterians could have remained silent but instead they chose to endorse the institutions of the new state and called on their members to support them. Republicans sometimes talk of ‘Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter’ but when they achieved power Ne Temere remained in place and they constructed a Catholic state for a Catholic people.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nevin

    “Republicans sometimes talk of ‘Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter’ but when they achieved power Ne Temere remained in place and they constructed a Catholic state for a Catholic people.”

    I’m not going to defend the strongly Catholic ethos that existed down south for a long time, nor will I be dishonest and pretend I can’t understand how uncomfortable many Protestants must have been as a result. But Ne Temere? That’s the Catholic Church – the Irish state had no powers over that one, I’m afraid.

    But my earlier point still stands. If Protestants felt alienated from the Republic, that was a failure for the Republic. Catholic alienation from the northern state represented success for the northern state.

    You’re comparing insensitivity with vindictiveness.

  • “That’s the Catholic Church – the Irish state had no powers over that one, I’m afraid.”

    Yet there did seem to be a rather seamless relationship between Church and State, Billy.

    I’d have thought that alienation represented failure on the part of both states and that the southern state’s efforts circa 1970 to protect its own institutions, including the Catholic Church ones, at the expense of mayhem and murder here is hardly a glowing example of ‘sensitivity’.

    Then there was some ludicrous claim about cherishing all the children of the nation equally ..

  • jonny

    well the same could be said of the UK where the head of state is also the head of a church, or indeed in NI were preachers are often elected to high office!

  • Billy, I was referring to the self-imposed apartheid/separation that was conceived here so there’s no need to run away off to South Africa …

  • George

    Nevin,
    your concern for the plight of southern Protestants is quite touching. It’s up there with our old friend Davros’s.

  • Jonny, I can think of one such preacher from a rather small denomination who, having reached the top of the greasy pole, is about to begin a fairly rapid descent. The man with a supposed hotline to All Hallows has already gone ..

  • George, I focussed more on their magnanimity than their plight. Can you say the same for your old friend?

  • Dave

    “If ever the Irish people think the balance has tilted too far towards Brussels, then as a sovereign people they retain the right to walk away. Sovereignty allows them that freedom – a freedom that we in the north do not have.” – Billy Pilgrim

    Be careful about that assumption. The reason we are the only State in the EU to have a referendum is because the Supreme Court established in the case of Crotty v. An Taoiseach, 1997, that sovereignty under the Irish constitution resided with the people and not with the State. Ergo, the State cannot ratify the Treaty without an amendment to the constitution being approved in referendum by the people. Here is the proposed amendment:

    “The State may ratify the Treaty of Lisbon signed at Lisbon on the 13th day of December 2007, and may be a member of the European Union established by virtue of that Treaty. [b]No provision of this Constitution[/b] invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by membership of the European Union, or [b]prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the said European Union or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this section, from having the force of law in the State.[/b]”

    Notice that we are passing sovereignty from the Irish people to the EU? Our constitution will become subservient to the EU. No longer are the Irish people the supreme authority, and no longer is Bunreacht na hÉireann the law of the land. If the EU passes a law that forbids us to withdraw from the EU, then that law takes precedence over Irish law. As you said, “sovereignty allows them that freedom.” However, we are passing that sovereignty to the EU, and with it, our freedom. Effectively, the EU can do whatever it likes. It has the sovereignty and vetoes can become worthless entities at the stroke of an EU superstate pen.

  • Gerry

    Dave:

    Notice that we are passing sovereignty from the Irish people to the EU? Our constitution will become subservient to the EU. No longer are the Irish people the supreme authority, and no longer is Bunreacht na hÉireann the law of the land.

    Article 29.4, subsection 10 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, currently in force, reads as follows (emphasis mine, to reflect that which you used in your quote above):

    No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State which are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union or of the Communities, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the European Union or by the Communities or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the Treaties establishing the Communities, from having the force of law in the State.

    Bunreacht na hÉireann

    Please stop scaremongering.

  • Dave

    Gerry, please stop surrendermongering. 😉

    The provision in each amendment refers to the Treaty that is amends. This amendment refers to a new EU constitutional that supersedes Bunreacht na hÉireann, taking priority over it. In short, old boy, it isn’t related to a treaty on fishing rights: it’s a tad more consequential than that. Do you understand the difference? Do you know why it is not just another EU treaty?

  • Dave

    Incidentally, it isn’t just Bunreacht na hÉireann that becomes subservient to the new EU constitution in the rehashed Reform Treaty (AKA Lisbon Treaty), Ireland’s Supreme Court also becomes subservient to the European Court of Justice. So, the new court of final appeal for Ireland becomes the ECJ: it is this new court that will interpret Bunreacht na hÉireann in accordance with the primacy of EU law. The “Declaration Concerning Primacy” also states that the treaties and the laws adopted by the union have primacy over the laws of member states – this is the first time an EU treaty has claimed primacy for EU law over the laws of member states. Considering that over three quarters of laws currently come from the EU and are rubberstamped domestically under the subsidiarity rule, transferring sovereignty to the EU in 35 new areas and extending the EU’s sovereignty in a further 40 existing areas will leave Ireland as a country that has surrendered democracy to the EU. Why bother elect legislators if almost all of our laws are imposed from the EU? As the Supreme Court (in the case of Crotty v. An Taoiseach, 1997) established: sovereignty under the Irish constitution resides with the people and not with the State. What this shower of self-serving quislings are asking the Irish people to do is to transfer the sovereignty that is invested in the people of Ireland to the EU, making the EU’s rehashed de facto constitution, and not Bunreacht na hÉireann, the law of the land, and making the ECJ, not the Supreme Court, the court of final appeal. We are actually being asked to dissolve the nation state and to transfer ownership of both the State and of ourselves to the EU. The quislings and clowns who say it isn’t so are badly misled.