Roche: Lisbon guarantees no less binding than the Belfast Agreement…

Clever line of argument from Europe Minister Dick Roche at pro Lisbon rally tonight… Technically correct, although I am sure Sinn Fein would argue that the context of the two agreements (one billateral, the other profoundly multilateral) are quite different:

“Sinn Fein is fully aware from its experience with the Good Friday Agreement that the process being adopted on the Lisbon Treaty and the legally binding guarantees on taxation, the right to life, family and education provisions in our Constitution and on our tradition of military neutrality is legally sound and yet it is misleading its own supporters on this vital issue”.

“The European Council in June last took a legally binding Decision addressing the Concerns of the Irish People on the Treaty of Lisbon. That Decision and the guarantees will be lodged with the United Nations under Article 102 of the UN Charter.”

“In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement was also lodged with the UN under Article 102 of the UN Charter. Sinn Fein fully supported the process and explained to its supporters, including those in prison that this was their basis for accepting the agreement. The current Sinn Fein line on the legally binding guarantees agreed in the June 2009 European Council seeks to contradict the agreements it put forward with its own supporters when seeking approval for the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Fein’s line is predicated by the idea that the 26 other Member States will tear up an international agreement.”

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Ulick

    “In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement was also lodged with the UN under Article 102 of the UN Charter”

    I seem to remember some unionist posters telling me on a thread about borders and nationality that the GFA wasn’t lodged with the UN.

  • Dave

    Why is Dick Roache pretending that the UN enforces European treaties when he is fully aware that all EU treaties are lodged with the Italian govrnment and not the UN and that they are enforced by the ECJ and not by any other party?

    The UN does not enforce EU law, and no agreement lodged with the UN is binding on the EU.

  • Dave

    Incidentally, there is no record of any treaty lodged by Ireland (or where Ireland is a signatory) with the UN’s Secretary-General as required under Article 102 of the UN Charter. If it is not lodged, it has no legal status.

    Even if such a treaty (or international agreement exists), it would not be binding on the EU but would be an agreement between the heads of state who signed it.

    Have any of those states ratified it in accordance with their constitutional requirements? Indeed, is there even any record of the alleged agreement being ratified in Ireland in accordance with Ireland’s constitutional requirement?

  • Ulick

    That’s right it was you Dave…

  • Dave

    I’ve no idea what that comment is supposed to mean, Ulick. I suspect the point that some other ‘unionist’ was making to you was that the British government could unilaterally declare the British-Irish Agreement and there would be sweet FA that anyone could do about it.


    Roche doesn’t point out that the ‘guarantees’ are to be lodged with the UN [b]after[/b] the Irish people have ratified the Lisbon Treaty and not before they have been ratified. What is the point of a guarantee that doesn’t guarantee anything? No point other than deception. A guarantee, by definition, assures a particular outcome. I’m quite surprised that the government actually had the neck to proffer this farcical arrangement to the Irish people as a guarantee since it is a tantamount to fraud to proffer it as such when it patently is nothing of the sort, but they obviously felt that they could get away with it as Ireland’s europhile media would collude in the deception.

    When the government inserted a clause into the proposed 29th amendment that guarantees EU supremacy of the Irish law; guarantees the EU constitution supremacy over the Irish constitution, and guarantees the EU’s federal state supremacy over the Irish state, why did they not insert a clause to guarantee that ratification of the Lisbon Treaty was conditional on the full implementation of their alleged guarantees? That would be a failsafe method.

    The reason they did not do that is the same reason that they inserted the clause giving supremacy to the EU over Ireland and also inserted a clause wherein Ireland affirms its commitment to the European Union (something that no other Member State did): it is to assure that the Irish courts assert the primary rights of EU citizens over the secondary rights of Irish citizens.

    In regard to the GFA, that is an agreement that is binding on its signatories, the Irish and British government. What Roche fails to point out is that his so-called guarantees are not binding on the EU since the EU is not a signatory to the alleged agreement. It is, in fact, an agreement between 27 heads of state that the EU is not a party to. EU agreements are only enforceable in the ECJ and nowhere else. The so-called guarantees have not been ratified by any Member State. Lodging it with the UN is just a gimmick.

    By the way, there is a good article from Declan Ganley in today’s Irish Times (before his decapitation of the star of the Yes campaign, Michael O’Leary) wherein he explains why the Lisbon Treaty is bad for Ireland and rightly observes that “only what we tolerate for political leadership in this country” could support it. Ganley still doesn’t get it, however: europhiles do what is good for the EU, not what is good for Ireland. They has EU citizens first and foremost in their mindset; and if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, they will be EU citizens first and foremost in law. It is the Irish people who are eurosceptic that will become the traitors to their supreme state (the EU) by seeking to oppose the EU since they will have given their explicit “commitment to the European Union” and declared themselves constitutionally subordinate to the EU in 29th amendment.

  • Dave

    Typo: “…the British government could unilaterally declare the British-Irish Agreement [b]void[/b] and there would be sweet FA that anyone could do about it.”

  • Ulick

    “I’ve no idea what that comment is supposed to mean, Ulick”

    You told me that the GFA wasn’t logded with the UN.

  • Dave

    I did not.

  • Dave

    Emm, maybe I did. Was it a comment about the GFA being lodged nowhere except a filing cabinet in the department of foreign affairs? That’s because the GFA isn’t a treaty. The treaty is the British-Irish Agreement (a seperate document).

  • Such nonsense. The GFA didn’t claim to be a clarification of EU law, unlike the so-called ‘guarantees’ claiming to clarifying Lisbon. Only the Treaties and the ECJ can clarify the Treaties, Mr.Roche.

    I have also uncovered evidence that the ECJ does not regard international-agreements as binding on the EU. In a case on September 3rd 2008 with respect to UN Security Council Resolution 1267, the ECJ struck down an EU regulation implementing the UNSC resolution freezing the assets of the Al Barakaat International Foundation, which was linked to Al Qaida. Significantly for the Lisbon debate, the ECJ said this of international-agreements: “an international agreement cannot affect the allocation of powers fixed by the Treaties or, consequently, the autonomy of the Community legal system”. There you have it. What will the ECJ say about the ‘international agreement’ Roche is talking about? They will say “an international agreement cannot affect the allocation of powers fixed by the Treaties or, consequently, the autonomy of the Community legal system”.

  • Good man Ulick,