“But is that where Ireland really wants to be?”

Tomaltach has been to Brussels where:

Irish MEPs and officials frankly admitted that the No to Lisbon has made their job harder – not just in dealing with colleagues, but dealing with third parties as well. One MEP said that in dicussions with American companies thinking about investing in Ireland that the No has thrown up a cloud of confusion about whether Ireland will remain at the heart of Europe.

…there will be no substantial opening up of Lisbon. Though not one speaker ruled out the possibility of retaining a commissioner. But no reopening of the substantive institutional agreements. The reforms have taken too long and people are simply exhausted. It’s got to be signed off ASAP. That was the message. Europe needs this out of the way.

And the message was clear too – that if Ireland fails to come along, some formula would have to be found to let the others proceed. Personally I feel that those who say this actually want it to be true more than knowing it to be true. Because of course the risk is that if Ireland is sidelined that other states may well object. But is that where Ireland really wants to be?

That’s not a question that was substantially raised by either camp during the referendum itself…

Update: As Pete previously noted, the cleaners are coming..

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  • Tory

    It was good to see the Republic of Ireland bravely reject this Treaty, edit Constitution, but the cold reality is that, as a small country and member of the Eurozone, she will simply not be allowed to say ‘no’ in the end.

    Ireland will probably be cajoled into a second ‘yes’ vote. But, if not, she will find that most elements of the thing will be implemented anyway. Even if the Republic were to leave the whole club, they will discover that, as a small country like Norway and Switzerland, they will end up being required to import a great deal of EU law via bilateral treaties.

    It was ironic that Ireland rather than the UK rejected the Treaty, but the second irony is that only the United Kingdom is big enough to provide a meaningful endorsement for Ireland and thus to secure the Irish peoples’ freedom. And only a Tory government can do it.

  • Dave

    Well, the choice is either abandon the democratic process or abandon the EU. The EU has no intention of abiding by the sovereignty and democratic will of the Irish people, nor does it have any intention of abiding by its own rules (i.e. the Unanimity Rule which states that the Lisbon Treaty is defunct if all member states do not ratify it). That has no changed to “Any State which does not ratify the Lisbon Treaty will be coerced into changing its mind or sidelined because we’re too tired (aww bless) to stick by our own rules.”

    The question Irish people must ask themselves is do they want to surrender control of the sovereign powers of their democracy by means of an irreversible treaty to any entity that has only contempt for the will of the Irish people? And if they want to do so, do they fully understand that they are no longer a sovereign state but become a federal region of the EU? Indeed, only last week the EU voted to reinsert the its national symbols (flag, motto, anthem and public holiday). The MEPs will be expected to stand to attention to its national anthem. Europa is on its way to statehood, and the new nationalism of European is emerging from the stolen sovereignty of its member states.

  • fair_deal

    Is this not overlooking the impact of the credit crunch? The irish government had been gearing up for a second referendum but what are the chances of the government winning it now after the emergency budget?

  • Harry Flashman

    Irish MEPs find that representing their constituents democratic wish causes them problems with American businessmen and other foreigners.

    Time to invoke Brecht and dissolve the Irish people and elect a new one.

  • Those poor little meps,fancy having to do a bit of work instead of the endless dinner parties and back slapping routine.Now it will be endless dinner parties with some c*** sucking thrown in.You would think that they would welcome the variety.

  • kensei

    Personally I feel that those who say this actually want it to be true more than knowing it to be true. Because of course the risk is that if Ireland is sidelined that other states may well object.

    I’d tend to agree with this one. The implications of sidelining a member are fairly stark and I think it would make a number of other countries, not just the small ones very nervous.

    I’m not sure what impact the credit crisis will have. Does it make people more pissed off with the government, and more likely to vote no? Or does it throw into sharp relief the importance fo the EU to the Irish economy?

  • fin

    “at the heart of Europe” is a very vague statement. Its always been stated that US\international companies located to Ireland because of the workforce available and low corporate tax, has this changed?

    Strangely, an example given was around the crisis in Georgia, surely this was more on the side of the NO campaign, ie will we go to war with Russia, and can we have 5,000 Irish troops for cannon fodder.

    Now in hindsight, the YES campaign was incompetent, yet I don’t recall any EU politican intervening at the time to correct the govt.

    For sure, there is safety in numbers, however, until the EU can get audited accounts signed-off, and end the rampant corruption and justify its expense, there is an arguement not to move forward.

    If the EU are no longer happy with Irish membership, well, lets just take back our fishing box and leave the party.

    As a republican, I think we would be better served hitching our wagon to socialist south american countries and the developing world, after all these nations have the natural resources we need.

  • manichaeism

    I don’t really trust a word that comes from the MEP’s mouths. They are already campaigning for the next referendum.

  • Greenflag

    When the flames of this present Milton Friedman caused fundamentalist school of free marketeering gangster capitalism dies down -Ireland will still be in the Euro zone . We’ll also be supporting Iceland’s application.

    The financial world has changed since the Lisbon referendum and the new world ‘economic ‘ order is going to result in a lessening of the dollar’s international role as reserve currency of last resort . EU countries as well as the OPEC countries and the Asian fast developing economies will be watching carefully to see to what extent the USA prints it’s way out of the present mess that the afficionados of ‘trickle down and voodoo economics ‘ have delivered to the world .

    As for another referendum – the sooner the better . Ireland’s economy is too open and too small not to be ‘icelanded ‘. We’ve been lucky this time due to Gordon Brown’s quick moves and EU coordinated intervention . It’s too early to burn bridges .

  • Dave

    “If the EU are no longer happy with Irish membership, well, lets just take back our fishing box and leave the party.”

    Easier said that done. Contrary to the semantic propaganda, you have no ‘pooled’ your sovereignty: you have given ownership of it to third parties by means of a legally binding treaty in international law – and you have done so with no clause for reclaiming ownership. In other words, you are not sovereign. Because you are not sovereign, you cannot do as you wish. There is no mechanism under the current treaty to permit a member state to unilaterally withdraw from EU membership. If you wish to renegotiate the various treaties that you have signed, then you will require the permission of the relevant parties to do so. Some of those treaties confer considerable financial advantage on other member states of the EU at the direct expense of Irish economic interests. For example, granting sovereignty over fishing rights in Irish territorial waters to the EU has decimated the Irish fishing industry and conferred financial gain on other nations amounting to somewhere between 100 and 200 billion Euros (the exact figures are unknown because the Europhilic Irish government has a policy of not informing the Irish people about how much membership of the EU costs their economy, preferring instead to focus on hyping up marginal gains that amount to no more than a fraction of Irish GDP). The EU will not give up its legal rights without seeking substantial compensation from Ireland – or it may simply refuse to relinquish sovereignty in any form whatsoever.

    Membership of the EU transferred sovereign powers to EU institutions which the Irish constitution had vested exclusively in the Oireachtas and the Government. Ireland has not been a sovereign country since 1972, and it has transferred more and more of its sovereign powers to the EU in subsequent treaties (Maastricht, Nice) to the point where over 70% of all Irish legislation is now controlled by the EU and not the Irish people.

    This is not democracy, and it is a very poor argument to make that it is okay to abandon the exercise of democracy because, you feel, you are financially rewarded by those to whom you transfer your sovereign powers for doing so and because you also feel that you may be able to reclaim the democratic process at some future point if you then feel that you should be determining your national affairs in the national interest rather than allowing them to be determined by third parties in their interests, not yours. Yes, you do have a modest amount of ‘democratic’ input into your internal affairs via this process: it would be 0.8% control of the decision making process in the EU parliament under the Lisbon Treaty as opposed to 100% control in the Irish parliament. If you think that being granted a miserly 0.8% control over your internal affairs is ‘democratic’ then I suggest that you acquaint yourself with a dictionary.

    Transferring control of sovereignty over Irish monetary policy to the EU has proved to be disastrous for the Irish economy. The whole point of monetary policy is that you tailor it to suit the needs of your economy. Abdicating this responsibility has meant that we must implement policies that are designed to suit the needs of the EU single market under a one-size-fits-all model rather than designed to suit the needs of the Irish economy. Clearly, every the dynamics of economy is different so one-size-fits-all does not fit all and administering inappropriate polices is idiotic in the extreme. For Example, the EU’s ECB set interest rates at 2% to meet the needs of the German economy at a time when they should have been set by the Irish Central Bank under the Taylor Rule at 6% to meet the needs of the Irish economy. If sovereignty was retained by the Irish, then interest rates could have been set at the appropriate level. If that was done, then we would not have traded our solid growth Tiger economy for a boom-and-bust economy that was created by the EU’s ECB proffering of irresponsibly cheap credit in order to promote credit-fuelled public spending in the economy. We wrecked out economy by allowing the EU to wreck it. Indeed, even this incompetent Europhilic government realised how idiotic it is to transfer sovereignty to third parties when they discovered that fact that the EU was doing sweet fuck-all about the mess its ECB’s credit-bonanza policies made of the European banking system and it made to act without the permission of the EU in its own national interest, thereby spurring the EU to follow suit and get off their useless arses, face up to their fuck-ups, and stop blaming the Americans feeling so smug (and utterly unaware)of what was about to hit their banking system.

  • Dave


    Ireland’s economic success prior to wreaking it by joining the Eurozone was built on free market principles and deregulation. The EU with its protectionist market and overregulation (imposing a burden of billions on Irish industry) is the complete opposite of what made us successful. WE now need to undo the damage we have done to our economy and return creating wealth rather than simply borrowing it on the back on rapid house price inflation fuelled by the cheap credit proffered by the EU. In order to do that we must reclaim sovereignty over our monetary policy. Less than a few years after transferring sovereignty over Irish monetary policy to the EU, we went from a Celtic Tiger economy to a basket case economy. Catch yourselves on before it’s too late.

  • Greenflag

    Dave m

    ‘Ireland has not been a sovereign country since 1972, and it has transferred more and more of its sovereign powers to the EU in subsequent treaties (Maastricht, Nice) to the point where over 70% of all Irish legislation is now controlled by the EU and not the Irish people.’

    And the same applies to the Germans , French , British , Slovenians, Italians , Swedes , Finns etc etc etc etc ,

    But not to Iceland – which has retained your ‘sovereignty’ ideal and which of all the countries in Europe came out worst in this Wall St financially enginered economic meltdown.

    ‘If you think that being granted a miserly 0.8% control over your internal affairs is ‘democratic’ then I suggest that you acquaint yourself with a dictionary. ‘

    So we’re in the same boat as Denmark , Finland , Slovenia , Luxembourg , Latvia , Lithuania , Portugal, Greece etc etc etc and all the other smaller EU countries . Did’nt stop Mr Lenihan from taking ‘unilateral ‘ action did it ? Also did’nt stop Gordon Brown from ‘nationalising’ British banks.

    As for the EU response to this crisis . It’s true it came late but when it came it made a difference . Mr Paulson’s ‘arrogance’ at trying to shove his ‘three page’ solution down the throats of congress met with political opposition from both parties .

    The EU does not have a ‘sovereign ‘ Federal Reserve Bank like the EU yet it’s response has been as effective if not more effective than the USA’s . Even now there is a widespread acknowledgement that Paulson was sitting on his rear end pretending that everything was fine for the past several years while Greenspan was finally having doubts about where Milton Friedman’s ‘ deregulated free market uber alles ‘ was sending the American economy !

    ‘Ireland’s economic success prior to wreaking it by joining the Eurozone was built on free market principles and deregulation. ‘

    No it was’nt . Prior to joining the EU Ireland was effectively an ‘economic ‘ region of the UK despite it’s political status as a ‘sovereign’ state . Much of Ireland’s pre EU economic activity and it’s biggest companies and largest employers were State owned or controlled -ESB, Aer Lingus , Bord na Mona , etc etc . Not until Sean Lemass initiated the Anglo Irish Free Trade agreement in the 1960’s did Ireland put a foot into the ‘non protectionist ‘ economic world outside . This move led to EU membership which at that time Ireland could not have joined without the UK joining at the same time four our ‘sovereign’ Irish Republic’s currency was ‘backed’ by the British pound sterling .

    ‘we went from a Celtic Tiger economy to a basket case economy’

    Did we ? We’re a long way from a basket case economy.

    ‘Catch yourselves on before it’s too late.’

    Catch yourself on . It’s too late for ‘trickle down economics ‘ and the extremist fundamentalism of Milton Friedman ‘free market ‘ economics . Ireland and the other EU countries are not going to exchange their social stability for the doctrine of the ‘market ‘ knows best . It’s not the end of capitalism but it is the end of the ‘neo conservative ‘ version which in it’s political manifestation destroyed the economies of several South American countries and has turned that entire continent against the USA . The same neo conservatives have done the same in the Middle East.

    Ireland will do far better staying within the EU and being a small part in the upcoming re ordering of the world’s economy as the international financial system decides what will be the roles of the important world currencies , Dollar , Euro , Yen, Rembini etc etc .

  • Greenflag


    ‘The EU does not have a ‘sovereign ‘ Federal Reserve Bank like the EU ‘

    Should read ‘like the USA’

    Amazing that so far on slugger there has been NO COMMENT on General Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barach Obama ?

    While we all have had a surfeit of the USA election this endorsement is significant in that Colin Powell was once considered as a potential candidate for the Republican Party .

    Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama is important because it sends a very strong signal to North Eastern and Liberal Republicans and Independents that the ‘neo conservative and born again fundamentalist wings in the Republican Party ‘ have brought the USA to where it is today .

    We could be looking at the ‘break up’ of the Republican Party after this election . Thank you Milton Friedman . Even Tricky Dicky Nixon knew your extremist ‘economics’ would never sell politically and if then only until the destruction they wrought would come to destroy the destroyers .

  • Paul.ie

    This would not have happened if we had a Vista economy.

  • Greenflag

    Dave’s ‘Sovereign” Icelandic Model seems to have lost favour up in Iceland where the Milton Friedman school of funamentalist free marketers and its Thatcherite and Reagananite advocates are in danger of being strung up .

    As one Icelandic ‘former middle class’ now pauperised said .

    “We’re witnessing the death of Reaganism-Thatcherism. We have to go back to our older values. The free market is not doing what it’s supposed to be doing.”

    That may be an understatement. Iceland was ranked fifth- wealthiest in the world per capita in the UN 2007/2008 Human Development Index. Now, it’s facing shortages of imports including food and clothing. Controls on foreign currency payments have been enforced to favor imports of fuel, medicine and food.

    The value of Iceland’s currency has evaporated and an economy that outgrew the U.S. and euro region every year since 2004 at the least faces a prolonged recession, if not a depression. The economy may shrink more than 10 percent with inflation reaching 75 percent in months, says Danske Bank A/S Chief Analyst Lars Christensen.
    The country’s main stock index has lost 90 percent of its value, most of it in the past week or so, more than double the decline in neighboring Nordic countries like Norway and Sweden.

    In response, Haarde, 57, and central bank Governor David Oddsson, 60, have held out the begging bowl, seeking to borrow from Russia and the IMF, which hasn’t had an aid request from a Western country since 1976, when the U.K. sought a bailout.

  • Greenflag


    Vista economy ? .
    no link ?
    Have you tried mental telepathy as a form of communication ? Might work for you better than your above attempt 😉 ?

  • Dave

    You’re overplaying the Iceland card. I think that people understand that sovereignty was not the factor that led to the collapse of their economy, nor would absence of sovereignty have prevented it. Iceland’s woes resulted from its economy’s dependency on banking and from its national debt being 6 times higher than its GDP, where anything higher that 40% of GDP is worrying. It destabilised up its own currency by allowing its banks to offer very high interest rates in order to attract foreign capital. Sadly for its people, they offered a State guarantee for the debts of their banks, and being a tiny population of 300,000 with an over dependency on one industry, they have fuck all means of ever earning the whopping great debts they are now lumbered with.

    Simply pointing your bony finger at Iceland and crying “Oh sweet baby Jesus look what happens to independent countries Let’s merge with another 50 countries ASP lest the sky should fall on top of us!!!” isn’t an impressive argument.

    On this side of reality, we have an economy that is a victim of expansionist monetary policies designed by the EU to supply recklessly cheap credit as a means of stimulating economic growth in the EU’s single market. Being a bit dense, they didn’t seem to realise that bust follows boom and that when the boom is fuelled by an oversupply of ridiculously cheap credit that the bust will be all the more profound. This is why we now have recession and will probably head for depression when the full extent of debts within the Irish economy as created by the ECB’s expansionist monetary policies becomes apparent. These debts are not just related to the rapid house price inflation created by the ECB’s expansionist monetary policies, they are linked to consumer spending on credit cards and will be felt in the commercial loan area when the recession causes the inevitable increase in business failures. Boom and bust economics, kids – and you have membership of the EU’s Eurozone to thank for that monetary policy.

  • Greenflag


    ‘This is why we now have recession’

    We ? The entire world’s economy not just ROI is in recession or heading there . The ‘driver’ of this recession is not the EU- it originated in the failure of fundamentalist ‘free market ‘ policies of the Chicago school of Economics as applied to the ‘real ‘ political world in which people actually live . We note that the earliest ‘guinea pig’ countries for Friedman’s experiments were Chile , Argentina , Uruguay and Brazil in the 1970’s , 80’s . Ireland is very fortunate in being part of the EU as it has saved us from the political destabilisation, emisseration , and the tens of thousands killed and ‘disappeared ‘ and the hundreds of thousands tortured , as a result of Professor Friedman’s ‘economic ‘ experiment which could only be carried out by right wing extremists or a military dictatorship at that time . Prof Friedman’s economic ‘laboratory’ experiments were not allowed to be foisted on the USA and UK in the mid seventies -there was too much political opposition . Even Nixon rejected Friedman’s ‘fundamentalist ‘ doctrine as being politically naive . So too did Thatcher shortly after she won power . She changed her mind when the political circumstnances were opportune . Not until Reagan got into power in the USA were the Republicans empowered to follow Maggie down the Friedman road .

    Ironically enough the ‘free market fundamentalist ‘ doctrine which put General Galtieri into power and brought chaos and political instability to that country, eventually set Galtieri on a path to invade the Falklands to distract his countrymen from the discomfort of having to use electrical appliances as the preferred unit of currency exchange .

    Britons too will remember that Thatcher was facing a drubbing in the polls in the early 1980’s following the huge unemployment figures brought about by her ‘experimant’. The Falklands War saved Maggie from a premature career end as PM . Neither Galtieri nor Thatcher did very much to find a peaceful resolution of this war over a comb by two baldy men . It suited both their political purposes . The 500 Britons and thousands of Argentinans who lost their lives were a price worth paying for the ‘triumph’ of the market uber alles 🙁

    Post war it gave Thatcher the opportunity to drive home her ‘free market ‘ policies which destroyed most of Britain’s remaining engineering industries and also brought out thousands of policemen in open confrontation with British workers .

    As for the Iceland card ? They know where the problem originated . That’s why they will be EU members when the new world economic order is negotiated after the American Presidential Election .