Fianna Fáil will campaign against #Brexit in NI regardless of the outcome of #GE16…

Just putting this here, in case anyone misses it…

If the UK referendum happens in June, it is Fianna Fáil’s intention to lay out the case in Northern Ireland for it to remain as part of the European Union. For the other jurisdictions which will be voting, it is up to them to assess what is in their best interests, but the case for Northern Ireland remaining in the European Union is overwhelming and we should not and will not be silent in the campaign. This will apply, even if we are in the new Government the country so badly needs.

Having opposed EU membership, both North and South, and every single EU proposal in the South, Sinn Féin has chosen to join the Social Democratic and Labour Party, SDLP, in calling for Northern Ireland to remain in the European Union. This is welcome. I hope its hard Eurosceptic rhetoric of the past four decades will not have done too much damage.

Note the focus on NI inside the EU. It’s a reflection of the economic and political consequences for the Republic of the UK pulling out, and not purely confined north south: there’s the threat a free wheeling tax cutting UK economy presents Ireland’s current position within the EU.

From a party point of view, it also provides them with the tactical benefit of giving their membership something public and political to get their teeth into ahead of the prospective 2019 council and EP election campaigns, and getting decent media profile on a larger scale NI policy issue…

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  • Croiteir

    Who is shocked? Not me. Just pointing out that FF only comment on the north when it impacts on the south, not out of any nationalist, in the 32 county sense, concern

  • Croiteir

    I don’t buy this 2019 thing. They now only have 3 years to get the party moving, hardly time to start developing candidates and so on, and they never said that they will.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Merkel is Cameron with XX chromosomes and a physics degree if that wasn’t already Thatcher. And if her country didn’t need migration she’d be taking Cameron’s tough line on that.

    I mean it’s in the interests of the European right to ensure the EU has a common rule book. Imagine UEFA being run on the basis of playing away games in football on the basis of the rules of the host countries. There has to be a balance between how much a country can interfere with the game, there can’t be one rule for one country and other rules for other ones on the fundamentals and the rules of the game not being a single country’s monopoly.

    The UK is basically playing the same ball game as the Germans at the end of the day, so the moaning the EU exploits the UK is unsubstantiated. Like the Premier League the UK (England and to some extent Scotland) brings in foreigners out of dyer necessity, the Bundesliga brings in them to supplement the talent they already have. Football is pretty much like the economic game here … UK has more international scouts and financial liquidity and the Germans have more industry and fiscal responsibility.

    No one would ever believe if the UK left UEFA, gave up the Champion’s League, Europa Cup and Euros but went into the Copa Libertadores like Mexico and competed through the CONCACAF qualification zone like the Aussies do through the OFC or on the other extreme simply wanted to go back to the Home Nations Championship and the all British FA Cup that the UK would ipso facto become a better footballing nation as a result.

    No one believes work permits stop clubs from signing bad overseas players or pushes any club to improve their youth development or player psychology.

    Yet these lessons from football seem to be lost when it comes to European politics.

    The Leave camp need to find a new experiment to go with in international affairs and fundamentally commit to a culture change within the UK in the here an now. I don’t see the industry and I don’t see the vision that is going to do that.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nah Michael Martin does like to talk a lot about the North, even Robin has admitted to that in this thread.

  • Croiteir

    He does – but with what motivation?

  • Croiteir

    It seems that everyone is a bear then Kevin, forgive me, but is that not a lot of bull?

  • Greenflag 2

    Generally agree with your above comment . The football analogy seems apt although British politics can do without lessons from the soccer administrator supremos of Blatter and Platini ilk 🙁

    As to bringing in foreigners out of dire necessity ? Its because the English FA unlike the Germans don’t do enough to promote local English soccer talent . You can count the English /Scots /Irish or Welsh players on any of the top Premier League teams using just 2 or three of your fingers 🙁 Its sad but as long as the spectators keep the money rolling and American or Russian or Arabic Premier club owners are raking in the profits who cares ? The national teams in these islands are the losers in this respect .

    The USA buys Chinese ‘engineers ‘ , Indian ‘scientists ‘ etc . Its so much cheaper than having to raise educational standards in the maths and sciences in the USA and grow their own .

    Goldsmiths words still apply even if they are old hat .

    Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey -where wealth accumulates and men decay ‘ Applies to soccer just as much to British or Irish politics ! Bertie Ahern would concur I’m sure even if he’s a Man Utd fan of many years !

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well the Stronger In has the evidence of the status quo, the big problem I have always said about the Leave crowd is they cannot say “Risk” under any circumstance, they use untested theoretical economics as predestined fortune. The UK won’t be like the EU if it wants to build a fence, it can’t instantaneously adopt Swiss, Norwegian, Icelandic or Turkish models because they didn’t have to change from being in the EU to being out of it, in reality it is actually more like Algeria, in transition to negotiate back into a EU network from the disconnect, but even more awkwardly negotiating with an EU that doesn’t feel it is one eighth of its internal population, and one among the many of the 28. Is Algeria proto-EU or post-EU in this context?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well these are his words on that matter:

    I would love to see a united Ireland. But how does one define what one means by a united Ireland? I would say a genuine unity of people who can work in harmony, meet in harmony, engage in harmony and break down the barriers that are still there between north and south in many instances. The political definition of that would have to reflect a unity of people rather than a unity of territory: and to allow that to develop in a non-threatening manner.

    Read more:

    I can only speculate if he sees the referendum as a way of maintaining that ability to break down barriers, but as I’ve said before it’s difficult for Fianna Fáil to say “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity” on this matter at least not at this stage.

  • Croiteir

    Yep – to break down barriers to what exactly – certainly not the barriers to reunification. That is clear.

  • Robin Keogh

    You might be right but from what i understand they already have people willing to stand.

  • Kevin Breslin

    A Man Utd kicked out of Europe’s top table by two manufacturing teams, ironically enough.

    Well I think it is difficult for the left to defend the EU than the right. Europe is right wing, and it’s right wing because the people want to make it right wing by voting right wing, and ironically the migration issues only make things better for the right. You soon end up with the majority of the 28 nations being right wing in the council, the majority of the MEPs being right wing in the Parliament and the majority of the Commission being appointed by right wing governments. All political vectors putting things on the right.

    And it’s right because the people of Europe want it to be right, or even so far right in order to destroy it. Self-interest, Fear, Paranoia to the power of 28.

    However what we do see as a response to austerity in Europe is a slow shifting of the political compass, Syriza, Podemos, Corbyn, even UKIP’s partners in M5S but ultimately it means the European Left moving back to a struggle rather than a fight it is sure it can win.

    Left wing politics to the power of 28 may change Goldman Sach’s tune.

  • Croiteir

    I believe it when I see it

  • Roger

    Ireland sometimes; island of Ireland other times; Emerald Isle other times etc.

  • Greenflag 2

    What you call ‘right wing ‘ in the major EU countries such as Germany & France are not ‘right wing ‘ by say USA standards . The CDU/CSU in Germany would fit easily into the American Democratic Party and somewhere on the spectrum between British Labour -FF in Ireland and the British Tories .

    Germany has an almost inbuilt genetic aversion to inflation akin to the Irish almost inbuilt genetic aversion to paying rent . Both ‘aversions ‘ stem from historical negative experiences -the German case being still within living memory of the most elderly .

    Living within your means -avoiding credit debt – saving for the rainy day are all classic German financial traits which helped the country recover from ground zero in 1945 . There are minority fringe parties on the right in Germany & France and Italy who are anti immigrant but they are a long way from making a political breakthrough .

    The Left (European /British /Irish ) is perceived as weak and has not made an effective credible case to the broad electorates of their politics . Jeremy Corbyn’s recent comment that a Labour Government would prevent companies paying shareholder dividends unless their employees were being paid a living wage -is the kind of initiative thats needed to wake up the idiot financial capitalists from hanging themselves by their own greed -imo . More thought and practical policies are needed by the left -not just the blather of we’ll be nicer than the Tories !

  • Roger

    Since 1921 there has been some decline but I don’t think 50% really stands up….the Alliance Party is not is pro-Union….

  • Robin Keogh

    Ya especially Anna Lo

  • Robin Keogh

    Good so u know your geography

  • Roger

    Yes and I think Anna is stepping down…which tells you something.

  • Roger

    sometimes I call it Ireland and Northern Ireland too

  • Robin Keogh

    Ya that she is tired and wants to put her feet up

  • Kevin Breslin

    We have an island called Ireland, same mountains, same rivers some of the same problems either side of political border of which there are both historical and current issues maintaining it.

    However that border is open, it does not stop families, businesses or friends being made on other side of it. We are free in either part of Ireland to contribute to the making of Ireland, if not in terms of a Irish state, certainly in terms of an society within our part of Ireland whether that is defined by a border or not.

    There are still hard borders like peace walls, psychological borders like fears and prejudices, economic borders like selfishness and wastefulness, and political borders like apathy and tribalism that stand in the way of making unions and partnerships possible. Unions require the generosity of spirit to work with people other than yourself, there is no my union, or your union in the relationship.

    Mary McAlease once said there’s enough religion to hate but not enough to love. When it comes to unions and patriotism, much of the same sentiments apply.

    In terms of politics we have all-Ireland bodies that can advertise our mountains to tourists especially in the places that cross that line on the map, Waterways and Lights bodies that deal with our rivers and lakes, Language and Enterprise bodies that can bring together skills and wills of people across the island to boost our economies.

    That is the all-Ireland politics that the British people on this island can consent to, and in return Irish people on either side of the border vowed to work with their English, Welsh, Scottish, Manx, and those in the Channel Islands to discuss transport links, agricultural issues, environmental issues, cultural issues, health issues, education issues and approaches to EU issues.

    No matter what constitution we have it will have to facilitate the will of its people, to community networks, cross-community networks, national networks and cross-national networks that arise from the free association of people on this island and its neighbours in Britain, Europe and elsewhere. I doubt it would be the natural collective will of the people of this island to see it any other way.

    For a united Ireland state to be possible it would need people with the will to ensure it offers a better compromise and cultural change than the Good Friday Agreement promised for majorities north and south of the border.

    To me this means an Ireland where trust replaces peace walls and borders, independence comes from our hard-work and networks and not our isolations and ideologies, and patriotism is an act of empathic servitude not an act of vulturous narcissism.

    Even if such a state isn’t made possible, it gives a living purpose to what Ireland can be and what being Irish can mean. The best advert for Irish unity is an Irishness that most of the people are happy to identify with.

    In the words of the father of Irish nationalism Daniel O’Connell, unions are made in benefits and justice they are not simply named.

    “The people of Ireland are ready to become a portion of the Empire, provided they be made so in reality and not in name alone; they are ready to become a kind of West Briton if made so in benefits and justice; but if not, we are Irishmen again.”

    Britishness or Irishness, it is ignoring people both within and outside our sphere of influence that destroys our identities, not the existence of other identities.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Rugby politics doesn’t have to source where it gets the money of how to fund a hospital, or what civil, religious or political freedoms their players have. It doesn’t have to deal with a fiscal deficit or with trade embargos.

    Our island’s Rugby Union takes advantage of its self-interest realpolitik that it is better players work together on this island playing a game ignoring all political events remaining as a historic nation of Ireland, when Ireland was split between two countries on matters that divided it that had absolutely nothing to do with rugby union.

    It had the tact to be a Home Nation, the tact not to isolate itself from England, Scotland and Wales and the tact to let the IRFU self-determine its own destiny as a nation of convenience.

    We’ve seen association football try to set up rival all-Ireland teams with differing political affiliations and simply replicated political partition when it may have been convenient for those who would form the FAI from the original IFA not to. Association football could’ve had one Irish team and one Irish league but politics got in the way of sport.

  • MacTurk

    You claim that the EU is left wing.

    Meanwhile, the English Euro-sceptics tend to claim the opposite – they see the EU as a vast, failed, Socialist conspiracy…..

  • Croiteir

    All nice and woolly mum and apple pie stuff.
    Who doesn’t believe that we should all be nice to each other in a letsgetalongeristic love in?
    But it really is repackaged unionism when you rip the nice packaging off. And I do not buy the schmaltz.
    If you do believe that Irish unity is primarily about territory you are probably naïve enough to believe that it is never about the money either.

    Do not believe that MM has any big project north on his mind apart from keeping it of the boil and not jeopardising the 26 economy. He is just as much a partitionist as any FGer. He wants partition, it stops him having to actually fight against his chums in Britain.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The GFA has made it about people, a Republic is about people. Sharing the territory is about people. The goal of Irish nationalism is not to unite an Ireland that is the one geophysical entity, it’s about the anthropological matter of getting people to consent to a unitary Irish state because trying to obtain unity without that consent from a forced marriage both in the terms of the Union, and in terms of the inability of the First and Second Dáil to win over the concerns of the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist people has lead to violence and division but at least to the extremes we have seen in the Holy lands and Cyprus.

    It’s not about territory, an Orangeman could buy a field in Muff for crying out loud. It is about governance, and if you look at the SNP, you look at the Velvet Revolution, you look about the re-unification of Germany and the collapse of the Berlin Wall, it is about people with a civilized vision trying to get people to form a new nation.

  • Croiteir

    The GFA may have done, a flawed document which only reinforced the British position. The goal of Irish nationalism was always about the securing of Ireland as a political unit. To say otherwise is just simply wrong.
    The failure of the unionist people to accept the democratic wishes of the Irish people and the willingness of them to use violence, with the connivance and support of the British govt has had disastrous consequences.
    But that does not impair the requirement of establishing the territorial integrity in order to secure peace and reconciliation.
    It is all about territory. The British have always understood that, I do not get the field allusion, I can buy a field in France but so what?
    Of course it is about overnance and that rests on sovereignty over territory.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Actually I claim it is right wing, but your follow up infers that is what you meant.

    With the exception of France and Greece, maybe Spain in the coming days many of the big players … like the UK, like Germany, like Poland are certainly on the right side of the divide. Romania, Bulgaria, Ireland, Hungary, Latvia and Cyprus all there too. France is veering back to the right, Spain is veering to the left, Italy is a firm left, Belguim just has a right wing coalition with a liberal leader as a compromise.

    Nearly a majority of the 28 have right wing parties running them or leading their government coalition/being the biggest voice in it.

    The European Council is probably the most balanced on the spectrum it has 10 right wing leaders (2 right wing observers), 8 liberal leaders, 9 left wing leaders, and one independent from a communist party.

    That means right wing Commission is majority right wing. 15 of the 28 Commissioners belong to the right, 8 to the left, 5 to the center.

    The majority of the MEPs in the European Parliament are to the right side of the divide too, belong to Christian Democratic groups like Merkel’s party, Conservative/Reform groups like Cameron’s party and the Eurosceptic Freedom group lead by Farage and the all over the place Five Star Movement of Bebe Grido.

    Now you do make an excellent point, many of the English Eurosceptics claim it is Socialist. Well firstly, it’s not completely right wing, it just leans that way, the 3 main elements show there are 3 Grand Coalitions where the right wing majority is moderated by left wing elements. And many on the right, don’t like that moderation, many on the left think the social democrats are selling out to the right and the right think the opposite.

    Generally, the English right never had it so good in Europe if it did its diplomacy right,

    1. If we look at a thing like benefits even the Polish are happy to make compromises that put their natives in the United Kingdom under pressure to find work. The Polish government want a face saving compromise of ensuring NATO bases are build in its lands, and to be honest with the way Russia is behaving lately, it will be a propaganda boost.

    2. Romania and Bulgarian migration to the UK is grossly over estimated, it’s a long way for someone to go out of their way if they didn’t have a secure job to go to. They are more concerned with how these legislation affect its nationals in Germany and Spain. Another issue is that they may be concerned with the hypocrisy of the Western European states trying to deal with a few aspirational workers in comparison to the refugee crisis that is happening in their lands.

    3. The migration/refugee issue, the sanctions wont be a deterrent but it will present the UK as not being a soft touch to its own people. The UK is protected from the continental refugee crisis by a combination of not being in Schengen and Dublin directives saying migrants have to claim in the first country they set foot in. Basically this limits the UK’s problem to channel crossers from Calais, people smuggled in from boats, and those using Ireland as a backdoor.

    There is a detente between those nations trying to do migration on a continent and Mediterranean island, and those on the Western Islands that only gung ho stupidity from British diplomats could destroy by wanting more say in the affairs of the continent for them having less say in the affairs of Britain.

    4. The Eurozone fiscal compact, there has been some demands for the UK to remain on the fringes of the Eurozone and in terms of bailouts. Now, from my opinion the UK needs to decide how to handle its debts to each Eurozone and the Eurozone’s debt to it in a stability mechanism that other non-Eurozone EU countries can avail of on an equal basis. An alternative may be that the ECB may buy the debt to the UK from the likes of Greece or if the UK is feeling generous it can cancel its debts with it (ha ha as if). My feelings are that if the ECB can manage Greece, Ireland and Spain, it can manage le rosbief.

    5. Greater competition vs. Greater national sovereignty. To me this seems like the least straight forward. The message is we want businesses to be free but we need to free up other nation states to be free to interfere with them. Streamlining past European Treaties in perhaps some sort of new treaty process is something that I think it can find like minds on. If it goes to far then Europe has very little to co-operate with and the UK looses vital alliances to tackle big problems, if it goes down the other way they allow vetos in the other 27 countries to get in the way of its European ambitions.

    6. Ever closer Europe … to me this seems like semantics. The UK likes papery constitutions it can change in an instant, it likes being free to do its own thing simply for the sake of it, it takes its responsibilities in an ad hoc manner. The EU knows this, that’s why the UK choosing not to be in either Eurozone, Schengen and the CAP rebate, the British will is respected. People say the UK cannot treat the EU like a buffet, actually it already does, Denmark gets concessions, Sweden gets concessions, even Ireland gets concessions. The problem the UK needs to know that once it does sign up to an EU arrangement it should do it with goodwill and integrity, in other words it can have its cake, but it cannot throw up on the table if it doesn’t like how it tastes.

  • Kevin Breslin

    My response is so what? Territorial integrity? Ireland’s been a unified Island since the time beetles first walked the Earth and there is nothing threatening that integrity for millions of years.

    A nation, a country, a state, a republic is at the end of the day about people and the will of the people. It is a matter of politics and humanism, not geography and maps.

    Ireland has made a 32 county decision to make consent the route to unity, that’s the latest valid constitutional vote on the matter until Ireland makes another one.

    The Irish War of Independence didn’t unite this land, the Civil War defined the South’s politics and politics in the North both politically and by violence, didn’t simply partition the Six from the Twenty Six, it partitioned the people in the Six along sectarian lines into separated street communities in several places. The Unionists wanted a union and they engineered division too.

    Only by uniting people around their common interest like Wolf Tone did can you achieve a United Ireland, and that does mean if you don’t want a partitioned Ireland, a con-societal Ireland, you need a new Ireland neither in the guise of the Republic or the North that people from across this Ireland, across political and community spectrums can buy into

  • Kevin Breslin

    It would be funny to see the Scottish National Party get involved here, we have several Scots living here.

    Do you think they’d upstage them?

  • Kevin Breslin

    I failed to add that 1 in 10 denizens of the island of Britain are of Irish ancestry anyway.

  • Kevin Breslin

    To win the referendum takes a balance of caution and risk, in my opinion both sides are more cautious than risk taking.

    UKIP aren’t risk takers, they are British protectionists, but they have no reforms of the UK on offer. The DUP likewise were on moaning about Project Fear while not offering any Project Hope agenda for the UK getting out, It’s all about passive instantaneous reward requiring no work and no effort.

    Effectively Hibernation in my opinion.

    Many on the Staying In, are status quo protectionists. They have no reforms of the EU on offer. They don’t like the uncertainty of change, They don’t like nationalism, They don’t like UKIP and they don’t like the UK a country with a rich European heritage being shoehorned into isolation by a crowd of demagogues.

    Almost like a bear hibernating in a bigger forest.

    They haven’t outlined that the EU under pressure still offers more opportunities and freedom than a UK government working through the inconveniences of making multiple bilateral and multilateral arrangements when it cannot speak for the people on the other side of the table.

    Conservatives want reforms … reforms are a risk.

    Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have been critical of the EU and supportive at times, so they at least give the impression that they understand that the EU offers both risk and reward.

  • Kevin Breslin

    A Brexit would kill UKIP, I have no doubt. Given the funding issues some in UKIP might welcome euthanasia when it feels its job is done.

    Assuming the Tories are the only ones that may feed off the corpse of UKIP is a bit naive, there’s definitely a few nibbles to be had from the Labour Party hard noses who never liked the EU anyway and the English Democrats, who could be the Tudor Rose version of the SNP.

    The other thing a Brexit is bound to do is spark a Europhile backlash, we’ve seen it in Norway, we’ve seen a similar backlash against the result of the Scottish National referendum.

    If the elderly demographic in the UK is afraid of “open door Britain”, you can be sure the young demographic in the UK is afraid of “locked door Britain”, closed borders are zero loss to the majority of British pensioners, but to young people it may make the UK feel like a prison. The biggest Europhile demographic is one that know a Brexit means unmitigated UK government rule.

    The UK reforms are likely to succeed in my opinion, the European Union cannot hold sway against their people’s demands for greater nationalism and greater Euroscepticism. There’s enough whingers on the inside of Europe to get the fact that many of the UK’s problems are the same in other 27 nations.

    You’d have to be a strawman Europhobe to believe that Europe doesn’t want to be more competitive, tackle migration problems, reduce financial exposure

    The Tories are fighting the man in the mirror in the EU in many regards, it is worried about asking anything from the 27 nations that it would have to reciprocate on. If it left the EU, and had to negotiate a trade treaty it would be in a similar position of give and take.

    The UK’s problem is that it is the region that has the problem with the hassle of the EU, the continentals with the possible exception of the Greeks and the Irish are coming to terms with it, leaving the EU and being like the Swiss and Norwegians doesn’t get rid of that hassle.

    To me it seems the UK cannot come to terms with its own long standing European identity, or the collapse of the Empire.

    When Chinese call the UK “just an old European country apt for travel and study”, Russia calls it “a small island no one listens to”, an Indian country that says, or South African demands not to Repeal the Human Rights Act, or when Brazilians criticize the Bedroom tax, It needs to offer more than the Queen, the Flag and the pound sign as a retort, (they were all imported from Europe anyway).