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Daily Telegraph

Europe: will Ireland do the indecent thing?

As the republic prepares to vote — again — on the Lisbon Treaty, Ruth Dudley Edwards explores its love-hate relationship with the EU

< back to the article   or read the article and any further responses on the Telegraph site

The 103 responses so far:

UKIP should have stayed out of this. They don't understand the Irish mindset and its historical suspicion of British influences. The UKIP involvement is being used by the yes side as a stick to beat the no side with.
Brian Boru
on September 22, 2009
at 08:47 AM

Let us hope they do do the right thing and stay in Europe, supporting Europe - they have hugely benefited by their membership of the Euro zone
on September 21, 2009
at 08:02 PM

Maybe people should read this article from the Wall Street Journal about the scare tactics of the yes campaign.

malachy higgins
on September 21, 2009
at 05:57 PM

People of Ireland- did you really fight for centuries to gain independence from the UK, just to give it away to the EU.

You voted NO. Why are they asking you again? Because you gave them the 'wrong' answer. That isn't democracy - and if you force the Lisbon Treaty on the rest of the EU countries, it will be the end of Democracy in Europe.

on September 21, 2009
at 09:50 AM

Following the Telegraph's revelation that, according to a recent opinion poll, 55% of people in the UK think Britain is best served by remaining in the EU, all this agonizing over the Irish Referendum is pointless.

We all know that Ireland should NOT have been forced into another vote but the fact that they have been should tell everyone with half a brain what 'Democracy' means to the EU, and therefore, people should not wish to be part of such an outfit.
Add to that fact the knowledge that the EU's Accounts have not been passed by Auditors for 14 years and the warning would seem to be clear...

However, as 55% of Brits STILL want to remain in the organization, the remainder who don't are left with a clear choice;-
1.Emigration to a non-EU country(difficult, if not impossible for those in middle age and above)
2.Acceptance of the fact that the UK is going to remain a member for the foreseeable future, with all that this entails.
There is another choice,which is to move to another EU country which looks after its own interests more than the UKs corrupt Govt.,but that is , at best, putting off the eventual outcome which is falling living standards as taxation is made uniform across Europe.

The results of the poll, as laid out by the Telegraph, mean that those clamouring for a UK referendum on Lisbon will get HALF their wish - Dave is now likely to give an undertaking, not for a vote on Lisbon, but an 'IN OR OUT' vote on UK membership...
He will do this in the certain knowledge that over half the UK's population will back his 'IN'stance(because they haven't even studied what this will eventually mean to them)and enough of the others will be scared into silence by the relentless media/business propaganda which will hit them in the lead up to the vote.
I have NO sympathy for those who want to remain in because freedom of action clearly means little to them, so they deserve their fate - as for the rest well, Ladies & gents, I feel for you but you need to be making plans to escape.

Its all too late now - the brainwashing of the past 30 years has worked, but then, Brits always WERE the last to smell the coffee - look at the 1930s......
King Canute
on September 21, 2009
at 06:04 AM

It seems some contributers prefer to castigate the Irish for not doing what they the majority of the commentators want (ie vote No to Lisbon) while at the same time declaring them self inhappy at not being able to vote (I assumed that is what representative democracy is mean to be in the UK) Not is it clear why the Irish should be presuaded to vote no on the advise of those expressing vitriole against them. Perhaps such contributers should consider if Ireland is as much part of the British Isles as Britain is part of Europe.
Finally perhaps we should all consider that no country within the terms of its democratic system has been forced to Join or stay within the EU. There may be persuasions but ultimatly it has always been up to individual countries whither they are in the EU or not. Failure to appreciate this point by many British suggests a misunderstanding of representative democracy as practiced in the UK
on September 21, 2009
at 06:04 AM

Open Europe

Open Europe Bulletin: 16 September 2009
"Europeans for democracy" argue against Lisbon Treaty
New pan-European campaign "Europe Says No" is launched
Lisbon Treaty round-up: Irish government failed in 75% of attempts to amend the Treaty
Open Europe debate on EU AIFM Directive

Open Europe in the news

Quote of the week:

"With the Lisbon Treaty, I think we are seeing the emergence of a state-like system in the EU. A state-like system which behaves like a state, without providing for the essential ingredients of a democratic state, and my fundamental question would be whether we want this."

Dr Jochen Bittner, Europe Correspondent for Die Zeit, 9 September, Open Europe event, Dublin

1. "Europeans for democracy" argue against Lisbon Treaty

With just weeks to go before the second Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty on 2 October, Open Europe hosted a lunchtime debate on the Lisbon Treaty in Dublin last week, called "Europeans for democracy". The discussion focussed on the detail of the Treaty, such as the implications for national parliaments, and the flexibility clause, which will allow the EU to extend its own competences.

British Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who was a member of the European Convention which drew up the Treaty, said that a basic test for democracy should be whether citizens can get rid of politicians, adding that "Lisbon does not give you, as a citizen, the means to control the executive or the politicians who decide on your behalf, and that's the hurdle it falls on in my view."

Gisela warned that "under Lisbon, there will be no more treaties, no more referendums anywhere" on EU integration, and noted that one of the big dangers of Lisbon is the bullying of the smaller countries by the big ones. She said: "The nature of democracy is truly at stake." Asked what would happen if Ireland votes 'No', she said: "We are dealing with an organisation which is very good at making rules but which is completely un-bound by rules itself".

Dr Jochen Bittner, Europe Correspondent for German newspaper Die Zeit, said that, with the Treaty, "sovereignty would be shifted from the people to the next higher level - the governments" and that "this is a major step, and one should discuss the wisdom of this step".

He said that proponents of the Treaty claim it will make the EU both more democratic and efficient, but said the two are not compatible, adding "You simply cannot argue that the Lisbon Treaty makes the EU both efficient and democratic." Noting that China is "very quick at decision-making...because it is a dictatorship", he added that "politicians should be so honest to say that we have a choice between more efficiency or old-fashioned democracy as we are used to. I think that would be the right question to ask."

Other speakers included Svetla Kostadinova, Executive Director of the Institute for Market Economics in Bulgaria; Eline van den Broek, a Dutch journalist and political scientist; Roland Vaubel, Professor of Economics at the University of Mannheim; and Swedish political consultant Erik Lakomaa. The event was chaired by Bruce Arnold, political columnist at the Irish Independent.

To read a transcript of the event, please click here:


Please leave your comments on our blog:


2. New pan-European campaign "Europe Says No" is launched

A new pan-European campaign called "Europe Says No: No to Lisbon, Yes to democracy" has launched, supported by individuals all over Europe who believe the Lisbon Treaty should be rejected, to make way for a better, more democratic European Union.

Supporters include Harry van Bommel, Socialist Party MP in the Netherlands; Gustav Fridolin, Swedish journalist and author; British Labour MP Gisela Stuart; Sari Essayah, Christian Democrat MEP for Finland; and Petr Mac, Leader of the Party of Free Citizens (SSO) in the Czech Republic.

Please visit the Europe Says No website and leave your comments: http://www.europesaysno.org/index.html

Please join the Europe Says No Facebook group:


3. Lisbon Treaty round-up: Irish government failed in 75% of attempts to amend the Treaty

Open Europe has published new research which finds that, during negotiations on the original text of the Lisbon Treaty, the Irish government objected to many of the Treaty's most important elements, such as a permanent EU President and changes to the EU voting system. Dick Roche, the Irish government's representative to the European Convention, made 149 proposed amendments to the text, of which only 36 resulted in changes to the Treaty.

To read Open Europe's research on the Irish government's proposed changes to the Lisbon Treaty, please click here:


Meanwhile, Declan Ganley, the figurehead for the No campaign in Ireland's first referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, has announced that he is back to do it again ahead of the re-run referendum on 2 October. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he set out the reasons for his return saying, "Why, when the French voted no, the Dutch voted no and the Irish voted no, are we still being force-fed the same formula? You don't have to scratch your head and wonder about democracy in some intellectualised, distant way and wonder, is there some obscure threat to it." (WSJ, 11 September)

Two separate Irish polls suggest the No side faces an uphill battle. A poll for the Sunday Business Post put support for the Treaty, among those who intend to vote, at 62 percent, with 23 percent saying they would vote No and 15 percent undecided. However, when the likelihood of voting is not taken into account, support for the Treaty is at 52 percent, with 25 percent saying they would vote No, and 23 percent undecided. A separate poll for the Sunday Independent put support at 63 percent, with 15 percent saying they will vote No, and 22 percent undecided. (Sunday Business Post, EUobserver, Sunday Irish Independent, 13 September)

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, holder of the EU Presidency, has confirmed that if Lisbon is rejected by the Irish people the current Nice Treaty would prevail. "If it is a No, then we keep on with the Nice treaty," he said. He also added that Ireland would still be able to keep its Commissioner if Lisbon was rejected, saying that a "26 plus one" plan under Nice would be the solution. This would see 26 states retaining their Commissioner and the 27th state getting the job of EU foreign affairs chief instead of a Commissioner.

Reinfeldt also indicated that the political deal agreed last December on the size of the Commission to allow all member states to retain a Commissioner may not last forever. "We might in the future get back to this discussion. What if we keep on enlarging?" He warned that the issue of the size of the Commission will re-emerge when there are 30 states or more in the EU. (Irish Times, 5 September; Irish Times, 6 September)

Similarly, Financial Times columnist, Wolfgang M�nchau has written, "Last year, after a first referendum produced an overwhelming No, I argued in a series of columns that a definite rejection of the treaty would effectively strike that country off the political and economic map. I no longer believe that to be the case. If the Irish vote No, I now believe it will be the end of the treaty, not of Ireland." (FT: Munchau, 13 September)

It has been revealed that behind the scenes the Swedish EU Presidency is drawing up plans, "in secret", to fill the new posts created under the Treaty. According to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyeter, "no one speaks openly about the preparations while the outcome on Ireland is uncertain. But the timeframe is tight. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt wants the [EU Foreign Minister] and a new 'EU-President' to be appointed at a Council meeting in Brussels on 29 October." (Dagens Nyheter, 8 September)

Several high-profile EU figures have visited Ireland in the last fortnight, including European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek and Communications Commissioner Margot Wallstrom, all stressing they were doing so 'without interfering' in the campaign. Buzek said that he had no wish to "tell people how to vote", before reminding people that referendums should not be "used for domestic messages" to punish an unpopular government, while Wallstrom opined, "Ireland would be so much worse off without Europe...Maybe we don't tell you often enough: We want Ireland in the EU...Ireland being in the EU, to the rest of the EU, it means so much." (Irish Times OE blog, 9 September; Evening Herald Economist: Charlemagne OE blog, 11 September)

A spokesman for Commission President Jose Barroso confirmed that he will also be visiting Ireland: "Mr Barroso will be in Limerick on Saturday, to set the record straight about the many euro-myths being perpetrated in the campaign." (PA, 16 September)

In the UK, a YouGov poll of voters has found that 57 percent of those questioned believe that a future Conservative government should offer a referendum on the Treaty, even if it is already ratified. Lord Tebbit has added pressure on David Cameron by calling on him to pledge a retrospective referendum on the Treaty. (Telegraph, 14 September; Times, 15 September)

In Germany, ratification of the Treaty has been cleared by the German Parliament's lower house, the Bundestag. New laws required by the Constitutional Court to accompany the Treaty will have to be approved by the upper house, the Bundesrat, in a vote on 18 September before the final step of ratification - signature by German President Horst Koehler - can be taken. (EUobserver, 9 September)

4. News in brief

EU budget funds puppet theatre and crocodile zoo. Using Open Europe research, the Sunday Telegraph reported that the EU budget has funded a whole range of questionable projects including �93,000 on a puppet theatre, �6,165 to a former Miss Seville to kick-start her event organising company from EU regional funds, more than �87,000 on a fake silkworm-breeding business, �750,000 on a crocodile zoo and the financing of the 'internationalisation' of Finnish tango. Britain receives far less from the EU budget than comparably sized countries, getting �4.2 billion (�3.7 billion) compared with �6.9 billion given to Germany, �6.9 billion going to Spain and �5.9 billion to Italy in 2007, the latest complete year for which accounts are available.

(Sunday Telegraph: Leader Sunday Telegraph Sunday Telegraph 2 Open Europe research, 14 September 2009)

ECJ rules that workers can claim back holidays ruined by illness. In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice has said that employees have the right to ask for statutory leave to be "reallocated" when it is spoilt by sickness. Under the terms of the judgment, employees will be allowed to carry any annual leave marred by illness over into the next holiday year. The ruling is a new interpretation of the European Working Time Directive, which applies in Britain across the entire private and public sector.

Katja Hall, of the CBI, said that the ruling was a concern, adding: "Many firms already take a common sense and sympathetic approach. But allowing employees to reclassify their holiday as sick leave opens the door to abuse." (Mail Telegraph Times Open Europe research Open Europe blog, 15 September, Express, 16 September)

Swedish EU Presidency wants EU-wide ban on selling alcohol in shops. The Swedish EU Presidency has put forward plans for a Europe-wide ban on selling alcohol in shops, alcohol advertising, and higher sales taxes, which have been strongly opposed by industry groups. The Belgian small business federation, NSZ, said: "Every individual has to deal with alcohol in a sensible way. It's not up to Europe to decide whether and where alcohol can be provided" and Brewers of Europe argued that similar policies in Sweden have not had the desired effect. (Politics.be Euractiv Nieuwsblad, 10 September)

Former EU Commissioner: "bureaucracy in European Parliament makes everything else pale in comparison". Former EU Commissioner and current MEP Louis Michel has said: "I thought I had experienced everything when it comes to bureaucracy. But seeing the bureaucracy here makes the rest pale in comparison. But yes, now I have more time to devote myself to Belgian politics." (Standaard, 11 September)

Steelmakers are sitting on EU carbon permits worth 'millions'. Steelmakers such as ArcelorMittal, which is controlled by Lakshmi Mittal, Britain's richest man, are making tens of millions of pounds out of free carbon permits issued as part of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The ETS is supposed to force companies to buy additional permits to pollute if they exceed their allotted emissions cap, but due to the recession and an over-generous allocation of free permits, many industrial firms are sitting on free permits that they are able to sell to other firms in order to boost profits. Just three steel manufacturing plants in Belgium, Spain and Romania, all controlled by Mittal, are sitting on 15% of the surplus carbon permits handed out by the EU. (Guardian Open Europe research, 10 September)

5. Open Europe debate on EU AIFM Directive

On 11 September, more than 300 people attended an Open Europe debate in the City of London, organised in conjunction with Policy Exchange on the EU's proposed regulation of the alternative investment fund industry.

Speakers included Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the European Socialist Party; UK City Minister Lord Myners; Douglas Shaw, Head of Alternatives at Blackrock; and Jonathan Russell, Managing Partner at 3i.

At the debate, Rasmussen conceded to demands for a full impact assessment of the proposal, stating, "We have the time to do that, we are prepared to do that...it would be foolish not to do that". Lord Myners argued that, "imposing ill-considered rules in haste is counter-productive, whether at European or national level" and warned that "we must not be beguiled by protectionism hiding as though it were protection".

To read a full write-up of the event, please click here:


Please leave your comments on our blog:


6. Open Europe in the news

ECJ rules that workers can claim back holidays ruined by illness

15 September Mail

In an article looking at the recent ECJ ruling, the Mail quoted Open Europe's Stephen Booth saying, "Yet again the ECJ has extended the EU's power over employment policy. This case illustrates what can happen when the UK signs up to EU laws without considering the potential consequences. This is the sixth or seventh time the EU's unelected judges have extended the reach of the original directive and increased costs for businesses."

Barroso to appoint EU Immigration and Human Rights Commissioners

14 September Telegraph

The front page of the Telegraph reported that the next European Commission is expected to contain a new portfolio for fundamental rights and social rights.

The article quoted Open Europe saying, "This new post was proposed by Barroso to buy off the socialists which gives you some indication of what is to come. In the past, when the EU has tried to legislate in this area it hasn't turned out well, the working time directive being the most conspicuous example."

EU budget used to finance puppet theatre, promote Finnish tango, and a crocodile zoo

13 September Sunday Telegraph

In an article on EU spending, the Sunday Telegraph cited from Open Europe's research that the EU has spent �93,000 on a puppet theatre, �6,165 to a former Miss Seville to kick-start her event organising company, more than �87,000 on a fake silkworm-breeding business and �750,000 on a crocodile zoo from the EU budget.

Ireland lost out in negotiations on the original text of the Lisbon Treaty

7 September Irish Mail: Synon 12 September Irish Independent 13 September Sunday Tribune News of the World

In the Irish Independent, Bruce Arnold reported on Open Europe's research which found that during negotiations on the original text of the Lisbon Treaty, the Irish government lost out on 113 proposals for amendments out of a total of 149.

The Irish edition of the News of the World also reported on Open Europe's research. Open Europe's Lorraine Mullally was quoted saying, "The Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for Europe and a bad deal for Ireland. Why should Irish voters feel comfortable with this Treaty when not so long ago the Government itself had such important reservations?"

Responding to the research, Irish Defence Minister Willie O'Dea said Open Europe should "butt out" of the Lisbon debate. Mary Ellen Synon noted in the Irish edition of the Mail: "Note first of course that Mr O'Dea did not dispute the findings of the Open Europe research, all of which show how absurd it is for the Government to pretend we have some great influence in shaping the future of the EU. We don't. All Mr O'Dea offered by way of reply to the research was an attempt to paint Miss Mullally and her work as 'British' and therefore be ignored. Yet of course Miss Mullally is Irish, with family in Dublin. And Open Europe itself is full of people from different European nationalities."

Diarmuid Doyle, writing in the Sunday Tribune, also covered the story and argued: "in the world populated by the 'Yes' campaign, anybody opposed to the Lisbon treaty is a liar or a Brit interloper or a halfwit. It's not exactly the civilised debate Dick Roche asked for a few weeks ago."

Open Europe event on alternative investment fund regulation

11 September FT Reuters Reuters blog: Hedge Hub City AM Telegraph Times Bloomberg Forexpros Financial News WSJ 14 September HedgeWorld

The FT, Reuters, City AM, Times, and Telegraph all reported on Open Europe's debate on the EU's proposed AIFM directive, featuring Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the European Socialists' Party, and City Minister Lord Myners.

Vincent Browne hosts debate on Lisbon Treaty on TV3

7 September Near FM 8 September - TV3

Open Europe's Lorraine Mullally appeared live on Vincent Browne's debate on the Lisbon Treaty on Irish channel TV3, alongside MEPs Joe Higgins and Susan O'Keeffe, and Professor Brigid Laffan, Chairwoman of the Ireland for Europe campaign.

Lorraine argued that the Treaty should be rejected on the grounds of democracy and trust - explaining that in spring and summer last year Europe Minister Dick Roche repeatedly insisted that Ireland would not hold a second referendum, but had gone back on his word.

Open Europe's Lorraine Mullally also appeared on Irish radio station NearFM to discuss Open Europe's Dublin event.

7. Support Open Europe

Open Europe is a small, lean operation which relies entirely on individual donations. We produce cutting-edge research on all aspects of EU policy, targeting both politicians and the media to campaign for radical reform of the EU. We unearth high-impact stories and hold high-profile events, and, uniquely for such a small team, we are quoted and interviewed several times a week in the media.

We believe there is a better way forward for Europe, and we need your help in trying to make our vision a reality.

If you support our work and would like to help us continue to do it, please click the link below to find out how you can donate. Anything you can give will go directly to helping us counter the spin from EU officials and EU-funded lobby groups, and allow us to make our case for a fresh approach to Europe.

Thank you for your support.


Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: openeurope.org.uk or call us on 0207 197 2333.
A Ward
on September 21, 2009
at 06:03 AM

Does anyone seriously believe that corruption will decrease, and government become more accountable under the EU ?

It'll get worse not better, the EU has yet to pass an audit of its accounts after all.

Vote NO !
on September 21, 2009
at 06:01 AM

Typical condescending comments from Ruth Dudley Edwards.

One comment that keeps coming up in English blogs is amazement that Ireland would prefer to be in a European Union while it left the Union with Britain. One reason for this different viewpoint about Europe is that we have had a very different histories, as countries like Spain and France were seen as refuges for Irish Catholics under the penal laws for instance and help was sought from these countries against England at various times. This is clearly a different viewpoint from the historical British view of the Continent. Also, by the way, the basis for that Union was not in any way democratic anyway as it was passed by an Irish parliament that was wholly protestant and only reflected a minority of the country.

Being in the EU is generally not an issue in Ireland and I have never really heard any significant opposition to EU membership, whereas that seems to be more of an issue in the UK. Also, the EU has not as of yet anyway, involved any large scale invasion, seizing of lands and plantations etc which the previous engagement with Britain entailed.

The main reasons for the No vote last year was the poor Yes campaign, which did not start in time largely due to the political distractions leading up to the change of leadership in the Government. Another reason for the No vote was the lack of trust in the Government, which is even worse now. While there was a significant number of articles in newspapers etc prior to the vote, a lot of the TV debates were very frustrating and confusing as there were completely different interpretations of the implications of some of the articles on the Treaty. I voted No, very reluctantly last time, as I am mainly in favour of the EU but I just decided after dithering at the poll booth, because I had some concerns including losing a Commissioner and other questions which I had not managed to get an answer to by the time I had to vote. I am aware that a Commissioner's job does not include working for his/her own country but I think that it is important for small countries to have a presence in the Commission. This decision has since been reversed and will be a factor in people reconsidering their No votes.

I have some concerns in relation to the position of small countries post-Lisbon but in general the EU has been positive for Ireland in the past and if the worst comes to the worst a country can always decide to leave if it wants. It would not be as hard to get out of as the Union with Britain!

Victoria on September 19, 2009 at 08:50 PM
"The Irish will get what they deserve for being so short-sighted. If it were only their own fate they were sealing I wouldn't care, but it is also the 26 countries who have not had the chance to express their opinions. " That is a ridiculous comment as the other 26 countries are democracies with their own methods for approving treaties. We can't be responsible for voting for the interests of other countries and people in these countries should lobby their own politicians if they are not happy with their country's ratification of the treaty rather than complaining if another country does not vote the way they want. I am sceptical of the extent of the level of opposition to Lisbon in other EU countries anyway as I have not seen people coming onto the streets demonstrating against Lisbon etc.

on September 21, 2009
at 06:01 AM

If the Irish living in Europe had a vote -- and they should -- the referendum would have been passed the first time.

The sting in the tail in this article was wonderful. I think the Italians feel the same.

Having spent the last weekend in Dublin I can say that, whatever about the whole country, Ireland and the Irish are PROFOUNDLY European and at the same time have a fantastic connection to America.
Paul J
on September 20, 2009
at 11:05 PM

I find it astounding that the country of �amon de Valera, that staged the Easter Rising of 1916 and finally gained its freedom a decade later would for one moment consider becoming a vassal of the entirely corrupt, undemocratic and incompetent soft Fascist regime in Brussels.

Have the Irish forgotten their birthright?

Or is it simply that they have been seduced by false promises of riches to come?

It will be a sad day for the Irish if they go down on their knees to the EUSSR.
on September 20, 2009
at 11:00 PM

Ireland doesn't need the EU, anymore than it needs the Queen of England!
Peter Ramsey
on September 20, 2009
at 10:53 PM

Doesn't it say something, though, that the very politicians the Irish would appear to disdain are the ones campaigning for a "Yes" vote?
Peter Coborn
on September 20, 2009
at 10:11 PM

How come in Asia, conservativism is seen as a driving factor determining success ? But in Europe ( a declining power) liberalism is seen as being connected with getting rich ???

The evidence currently points to the Asians doing weel, and the liberal EU model of social and economic planning becomming a disaster. Just look at the rocketting youth unemployment rates !!

Brazil now has a lower unemployment rate than the EU and Brazil is considered a third world country.

I also must congratulate the author on writing an article about the Lisbon Treaty, though she never actually examined what was in the Lisbon Treaty.

Or maybe Ms. Dudley Edwards never read the Treaty either !!!!
The devil is in the detail
on September 20, 2009
at 08:32 PM

David Cameron - the time is NOW. You must come out from behind the Irish Mist - Tell the people of the UK that you WILL hold a referendum on Europe. Then you are assured of the premiership and who really cares if the French, Germans and Belgians don't like you - they don't anyway.
Time to grow some real standards, time for honour - not politics David. A referendum on Europe - that's your ticket. BEFORE the Irish coercion.
Chris Hill
on September 20, 2009
at 08:21 PM

The current EU project will make Europe into a single political entity for the first time since Bonaparte.

That was also a French engineered scheme. And when it ended, we all got a century of peace. Which was interrupted because the Serbs were acting on the premise that nationailistic militant elements in the French military would intervene if Austria-Hungary launched a reprisal against Serb Terrorists.

We should know by now, that the French are the real troublemakers in Europe. It is French military scheming that wrecks Europe's peace.

The Irish gave the world The Duke of Wellington. He is much needed today !!
Wake up from your slumber !!
on September 20, 2009
at 08:16 PM

I am very surprised to see the author of this article has commented saying that she is indeed Irish by birth ,upbringing and education.
Having read many of her articles over some period of time ,i would have bet my bottom dollar(or should that be euro ) that Ruth Dudley Edwards was raised and educated in the home counties of England.
Having said that i would also add that this article on the Lisbon treaty is the most unbiased article i have ever read from her pen.
Keep up this good work Ruth .You certainly have many people commenting on your article , after all , is that not what journalism is all about ....to provoke the reader into debate ?
Gerry Carty
on September 20, 2009
at 08:16 PM

Firstly, the biggest problem with Lisbon is that the Irish are the only ones who were allowed debate the Lisbon Treaty and vote on it. In Spain there was no debate, and the vote consisted of 34% of the electorate. In Luxembourg it was as bad. There is no enthusiasm for democracy. In Ireland there was a 55% turnout for Lisbon 1.0 - and Brussels then decided to tell the Gaulieter in Dublin to reverse the original poll. The real issue is democracy for all Europeans. The problem is that Ireland has embarrassed Brussels.

Secondly - how many of you really think Jose Manuel 'I was a Mao ZeDong/Pol Pot follower as a student' Barrosso should be in chrage of anything ? Well, actually your opinion does not count. There is a serious problem with respect to EU centralization.

Thirdly, the key political divide in Irish society is liberal vs everybody else. Ireland is a democracy by law, with a Common Law tradition. But like in every other Enlish speaking country, there are layers/strata with differeing levels of leverage on the rest of society. And the most powerful layer consists of liberal activists who behave as if Ireland itself is a testing ground for the latest fad from Kensington or Beverly Hills. The liberals have a control over the establishment. The Catholic Church once controlled Ireland. The liberals still remind everybody of this-as if to justify the liberal drive. But really Ireland is just seeing excessive Catholicism being replaced by excessive Liberalism. In this debate the liberals have decided that all the other classes, creeds and critiques will have to bow and do what they are told. Patronizing attitudes are essential to the Lisbon 2.0 campaign. Debate about the contents of the Lisbon Treaty is completely absent.

Fourthly, Ireland is an extremely corrupt society. Nepotism is rampant. In Dublin, there is virtual class warfare in the employment market. It is based on address code, accent, schooling, clubs and hobbies. Ireland can be meritocratic in the rural areas, and urban working class areas. But across most Irish companies, most of Dublin, and all regional centres there is rampant elitism. Across foreign multinationals less so. And this is like a tinder box in Irish society which will explode some day, like occurred in Britain in the 1970s.

Fifthly the debate has degnerated into a one-sided hardsell campaign. With the political, media, and commercial establishment all instructing people not to read the treaty, but just do what they are being told there effectively is now contest. Media coverage of Lisbon 2.0 is a bit like East German coverage of the Soviet Union economic program in the 1980s. In fact it is becomming comical.

But if I were you I would be concerned. Gordon Brown has shown extreme determination to do what he likes even if it destroys Britain. The Irish political establishment at least see the need to lie, cajole and sneer the population into consenting to the farce. And bear in mind that there are elements in Irish society who will never recognise the establishment, no matter who is in power, or what their belief system is. Britain is lacking this.
Healthy sceptic
on September 20, 2009
at 07:52 PM

@A Brown. What you haven't grasped is the kind of democratic vote Brussels looks for, one along the lines of the time-honoured dictatorships. I'll remind you what Mr. Prodi, thenn European Commissioner, said when the Danes rejected the euro:"zWe'll just have to keep making them vote until they say YES.". And there, in a nutshell, you have it. The "No" campaigners need only run that clip over and over again. It was on the news! I heard it live and from the horse's mouth.
Elizabeth Schumann
on September 20, 2009
at 06:44 PM

I am from the ROI and full accept seamus Heaney as Irish. He penned the following lines:
'Please remember that my passport's green,
No glass of ours was ever raised to toast the queen,
on September 20, 2009
at 06:34 PM

I am from the ROI and full accept seamus Heaney as Irish. He penned the following lines:
'Please remember that my passport's green,
No glass of ours was ever raised to toast the queen,
on September 20, 2009
at 06:34 PM

Seamus Heaney always insists he's Irish - but actually he has a UK passport and UK pension, and has about the same right to express an opinion on the Referendum in the RoI as has Nigel Farage.
Like most people who go starry-eyed about the EU, Heaney dsecribes the EU as 'Europe' - which it most certainly is not.
The EU has actually belied European history and tradition. It's now just a fat-cat gravy train of bullying politicians, state employees and large corporate interests.
Most of us who have worked and lived extensively in other European countries, and speak their languages, have a more realistic assessment than Heaney of how the EU has destroyed the core values and identities of European nations.
People of Ireland - say no.
on September 20, 2009
at 05:45 PM

this is an illegal vote,..the Irish have already voted,..and said NO

which part of the word NO does the fascist German, fascist French & snouts in the trough New Labour not understand
A Brown
on September 20, 2009
at 05:41 PM

RE:- Arthur, 4.38pm

Excuse me!, Whom are we hanging this time?
on September 20, 2009
at 05:36 PM

Whilst I understand that Ireland must vote in the way which benefits Ireland, it is up to the rest of us who do not get to vote, to try to ensure that Tony Blair does not become the EU President. Adam Boulton's new book states that seemingly Peter Mandelson is indeed propping up Gordon Brown until the Irish people vote 'Yes', and that lying war monger then becomes President Blair. Neither Blair nor Mandelson are elected and yet they are manipulating events so that this country loses both sovereignty and freedom to organise our own affairs. Tony Blair does not in any way whatsoever merit the position which he covets above all else. At least read the impressive European Petition.
on September 20, 2009
at 05:19 PM

@Barony of Athlone
at 03:43 PM

"the Yes campaigners, who seem to celebrate the 1916-21 expulsion of the(ir fellow) Brits only to lose their self confidence and ask the Brussel-crats to rule them instead."

Didn't Solzhenitsyn express much the same sentiment in the opening page of "The Gulag Archipelago"?
Occasional Ostrich
on September 20, 2009
at 05:04 PM

Hanging's too good for them!
on September 20, 2009
at 04:38 PM

bill rees on September 20, 2009 at 12:51 PM

"If the Irish vote YES it puts David Camaron in a big fix."HE WILL AT LAST" have to make a "DECISION" on policy."

Just the opposite I'm afraid. The UK Government have all ready ratified and signed up to the Lisbon Treaty. If Ireland votes yes this time, the Treaty will be have been ratified by all Countries - it is only the Czech President withholding 'Royal' Assent and easily overcome, It will be have been in force for 6 months by the time the GE comes around, and whoever forms the next UK Government will have far more serious problems to sort out - try rioting on the streets for starters.

on September 20, 2009
at 04:28 PM

Walt O'Brien on September 20, 2009 at 06:15 AM

Neither; natural causes I'm afraid.

on September 20, 2009
at 04:15 PM

It's simple. At the end of the day, Ireland needs the EU. The EU doesn't need Ireland. Should Ireland not play by the EU rules then it will be side-lined and possibly dumped.
The same applies on a slightly longer time scale to the UK, despite its past economic role. The pound is already in free-fall and economic stagnancy resulting from the lack of financial control and public spending out of control, seems the most likely outcome of the present crisis. At the same time, the euro economies surge ahead. Euro sceptics who had been predicting countries leaving the eurozone have been proved wrong. But it seems that Britain prefers a weak and marginal role as a poor relation rather than embracing the reality of a strong and growing European economic zone.
Adrian Fox
on September 20, 2009
at 04:03 PM

Ruth Dudley Edwards writes a balanced article on the "Lisbon Problem", so balanced it is difficult to detect a stance pro-NO or pro-YES.

The pro-YES camp are well into their instinctive "they're all fringers and nutcases" rhetoric against the NO camp, and the pro-NO's dilute their arguments by fragmenting their messages instead of focussing on the very obvious DECEIT of the Lisbon Treaty.

The EU Commissions' first attempt at the Lisbon Treaty, which they rightly and proudly called the "EU Constitutional Treaty", was difficult enough to read and understanding of it was nigh on impossible.

The Commission intended it to be this way - after all, what right has the Post-Democratic-Voter to understand what he is voting for when ALL his "representative" MEP's are deliberately denied clear knowledge of what THEY 'vote' for in the EU Parliament ?

The EU Commissioners are nothing if not determined to grant themselves the powers to rule unopposed and without any accountability to the mere citizenry who are forced to feed their gluttony for wealth and position.

This determination is the root source of this second grossly dishonest attempt to fool the Irish into turning a blind eye towards the evil monster that grows daily in Brussels.

The EU no longer even bothers to deny that Lisbon is anything other than a deliberate mish-mash of the Constitutional Treaty designed only to make it unreadable, but with all the original "ideals" still firmly in place.

For some strange reason the EU Commission believes it necessary to "ratify" its bungled Constitution - perhaps some sense they may very well be hung for treason at some later date without this semblance of public approval ?

What they forget though is that this "Treaty" has been unlawfully 'agreed' to by poiliticians around the continent as well as Britain, who have actively prevented proper democratic process.

Whatever this Lisbon Treaty is, it is NOT lawful OR Democratic ! It may even become the reason for World War III. ( or the Second European Civil War if you believe Brussels literature ).

The Irish will vote wherever their consciences tell them.

The aftermath will depend on the honesty of politicians Europe-wide, so we all know now what is on the agenda, don't we ?

"Pares cum paribus facillime congretgantur ."

( birds of a feather flock together )

Lisbon is "Mala fide !" ( in bad faith !)
Pavo Absolutus
on September 20, 2009
at 03:49 PM

Congratulations to Ruth Dudley-Edwards for some honest comment as to the problems of Ireland. As a white settlor from the larger island, I am rather amused by all the fake oirish patriotism of the Yes campaigners, who seem to celebrate the 1916-21 expulsion of the(ir fellow) Brits only to lose their self confidence and ask the Brussel-crats to rule them instead. A truly national self-confident Ireland would indeed save civilisation again by withdrawing from the EU, working for the re-establishment of Catholicism in Christendom and enlist the Irish diaspora abroad (in the UK, Canada, Australia, Zealand and the USA) to achieve for the Irish a real (non-EU) independence that the Irish civil war legacy parties - Fine Gael and Fianna Fail - have failed to establish.
Barony of Athlone
on September 20, 2009
at 03:43 PM

"Last week, The Irish Times carried an interview with European Commissioner Jos� Manuel Barroso in which he predicted that a No vote could lose Ireland its commissioner, create uncertainly about its place in Europe, threaten jobs and investment and damage the economy."

Urm, am I the only one who sees the problem with this statement?
on September 20, 2009
at 03:36 PM

Every one of the U.K political parties state that the United Kingdom is a sovereign power with no need to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty as it will not impact significantly on our constitutional arrangements.
Therefore, how is it that other nations are holding a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, as it will impact on their constitutional sovereignty? Can we conclude that we have less sovereignty than all these other nations?
We have been a sovereign nation for some millennia, unlike these other sovereign nation, who can count the length of their sovereignty on their fingers.
It seems the British sovereignty is some thing that counts for nought and is balanced on the referendum of other people. Is this something we really need to be steamed up about or do we need to review our own constitution
on September 20, 2009
at 03:26 PM

God Bless Ireland

God bless the NO vote

Promise of a referenda here Mr Cameron please!!!

Make good the scandalous reneging on a promise by this scum of a government.

The Czechs will hold ratification untill after the election. God bless 'em!!
Fort Sumter
on September 20, 2009
at 03:25 PM

Ruth Dudley Edwards sounds the drum of common sense.You may be dissapointed now due to the financial turn, but that's reversable. Vote "No" and save your independance and envied democracy. Don't become a pawn. One is a pawn forever. Don't, don't, don,t!
David Lewis
on September 20, 2009
at 02:15 PM

As an Englishman I reserve the right to comment on matters affecting the EU. We are members you know.
But being slightly pro Europe when we joined, ie. as a trading block and not with a bunch of new age dictators which they now appear to be. I would normally implore the Irish to vote NO. But on reflection I would ask them to vote YES. This is simply because it will hasten the departure of England from the EU.
As many people like to dwell on past history much of which is distorted by the politicians in all parts of the British Isles to encourage hatred between the various occupants. The Irish will vote the way they usually do and that will be out of hatred for everything English. The passage of time has done nothing to quell their anger at me and the rest of my countrymen.
Oh well, it looks like we the English will be damned in hell for the rest of eternity, we will no doubt be accompanied by such great people as Adolf Hitler and will be able to discuss with him at length his good and our bad relationship with the Irish.
We have suffered a set back in trusting non elected politicians to run England so we do know what it is like to be ruled by those who have declared their allegiance to another country. We now have the prospect of these non elected politicians giving up power to the Eurocrats. Again let them do their worst, it will only strengthen my and my countrymen's resolve to rid England of these dreadful people. We will then hopefully carry on with our lives and not dwell on the past.
So all the Irish are left with is to vote as their conscience dictates and they will forever live with the consequences. Time is a great healer, at least that's what most of us believe.
Alan Bailey
on September 20, 2009
at 02:02 PM

Interesting to read Mr Colclough's comments regarding his visits to many Britsh former colonies; I also have visited and lived in many ex British colonies, and was born in one! I have yet to hear the vitriolic comments against the British from the ordinary people! and in many cases the comments I receive are - Why did we leave? Of course everyone is entitled to "self determination" which in many cases has been a disaster which inhabitabts of those countries agree. However, I hope that the irish vote for the right cause, and that is independence for Ireland, which they won't get by remaining in the EU. Be British, Not ENGLISH< you are part of the British Isles.
John Scruton
on September 20, 2009
at 01:48 PM

Do vote YES, and you will find yourself in the Union of European Socialist Republics.
I, being a Pole, envy you, the 4-million nation, to have achieved so much in such a short time. Keep on doing this, independently, and you will go even further. Let the damned communists put a foot in the door and they will devastate everything. I have learnt the lesson.
on September 20, 2009
at 01:48 PM

I look forward to an equally history and religious laden article (perhaps from the same writer) about why Britain has had only one EU referendum, under a labout government despite decades of Conservative rule and most of the previous threaties bein enacted while they were in power.
on September 20, 2009
at 01:40 PM

Lets be honest and ask a question here. The same one that we asked before the last vote. If we voted NO would Britain stand with us in defending our position. Obviously from the fact that we have been forced to vote a second time that answer was NO.
I'll be voting no again due to my unrepentant 'arrogance and hubris'. Thanks Dudley if thats even your real name!
on September 20, 2009
at 01:39 PM

To the surprising number of posters here who don't seem to already know,all of them Irish it seems. Ruth Dudley Edwards is herself IRISH!!So stop being so chippy about her comments, if the cap fits, wear it!
on September 20, 2009
at 01:39 PM

Taking away references to current affairs, this article could come from a 19th century Punch magazine. The author I feel ought to leave her prejudices at the door and write a balanced, fair article we can take seriously.
Neal Walsh
on September 20, 2009
at 01:08 PM

It will be the English people who will confront the EU on its democratic deficit. And that is how it should be. Leave the the good people of Ireland to make up their own minds.
terence patrick hewett
on September 20, 2009
at 01:07 PM

If the Irish vote "yes" they will evermore be seen as bribe-takers!
Darby Allen
on September 20, 2009
at 01:07 PM

If the Irish vote YES it puts David Camaron in a big fix."HE WILL AT LAST" have to make a "DECISION" on policy.Will he still give the UK public a REFERENDUM he promised.At last we may see the true colours of Dave or another "U TURN".
bill rees
on September 20, 2009
at 12:51 PM

Just to clear up a few misconceptions: I am Irish by birth, upbringing and education, my degrees are in history, and among my books are several that concern Irish nationalism.
Walt, the IRA Chief of Staff died of a burst ulcer on the U-boat.
I'm delighted to see a (mostly) serious debate about Lisbon on this blog.
Ruth Dudley Edwards
on September 20, 2009
at 12:49 PM

I think the Irish should stop sponging off the UK and nicking our jobs. That would be a great start.

I'm sick of hearing how wonderful Ireland is from many paddies, none of which actually live there.

I'm also tired of Irish telling me how wonderful Ryanair are, when I would be too embarassed to fly with them and have to sit next to a bunch of flea bitten pikies.

Deluded, as this article says, sums them up very nicely.
Terrence Smith
on September 20, 2009
at 12:49 PM

''that make *our* MPs look like ascetics''
This is the most revealing sentence in the article and says a lot about the lack of itellectual honesty of its author with its implication that she is British (which she is not) and not Irish (which she is). This contexualises the toxic hibernophobia underpinning the article.
I'll deal with just a few points:
Ireland's historical allies. When your back is to the wall, as it was with the Irish as they were gradually invaded, you take allies from wherever you can get them (viz. Churchill and Stalin).
The begging bowl stuff. Ireland is now a net contributor. Only about 10% of our GDP was attributable to EU handots at the height of the tiger era.
I intend voting yes because of the the type of character that is looking for a no vote: Adams, Farage, and Ganley; I will now add Edwards to that illustrious group.
Other points: Myers is not a 'moral giant'; he is a career contrarian/controversialist/incendiarist who lashes out at anything that moves.
To the gentleman who enquired about Sean Russell; he died from a perforated ulcer in a U boat in 1940 or 1941 when trying to source arms from Nazi Germany. Although, to add some context, he went on similar expeditions to the US and to Stalin's Russia.
on September 20, 2009
at 12:48 PM

Doesn't anyone see that in a political system where 27 nations have representatives at best you might be lucky enough to have the MEPs from one of your major parties within the ruling coalition but in terms of getting any focus on your local needs you are doomed?

We're sleepwalking into layers upon layers of paid politicians (and the EU is so riven with graft it hasn't passed an audit for nearly 15 years) at regional, national and EU level - where power will be illusory and national interests non-existent.

simon coulter
on September 20, 2009
at 12:42 PM

'In the Nineties, at an Anglo-Irish conference exploring attitudes to the EU, the English spoke of building up the institutions soberly and brick-by-brick, while the Irish were preoccupied with the vision thing, with allusions to the need to recreate the Holy Roman Empire.'

I'd be interested to see Ruth support the 'Holy Roman Empire' claim ... it seems bizarre and incongruous to me.

The article is mainly fair but, as conorf has pointed out, the stereotypes grate. Ruth is certainly familiar with Irish nationalism ... it's just a pity that when she discarded one set of baggage (in a flurry of self-congratulation), she immediately picked up another.
on September 20, 2009
at 12:42 PM

What is depressing about this referendum is seeing the depths that the No campaign has sunk to. Posters have sprouted up with absurd lies such as saying the Lisbon treaty will lead to the minimum wage being reduced �1.95 and the like. These statements would be laughable if not being for the cynical tactics they represent.

It's interesting to see who the No campaign is comprised of. In the main it is ultra nationalist and extremist groups - Socialists, Sinn Fein, UKIP (yes UKIP), Youth Defence (a religious extremist anti-abortion group), Libertas and similar groups. It's the lunatic fringe in other words.

What I don't get is why this situation is even allowed. There is a major difference between the usual dumb platitudes that campaigners of every persuasion make and the sort of calculated bare faced lies used in this referendum. Is the referendum commission entirely powerless to act? It should be a legal requirement that all posters either Yes or No should be prepared to substantiate their claims to the commission's satisfaction. It should be a legal requirement for all groups to reveal their members, sources of funding. The commission should be able to fine groups who make misleading statements and require them to take it down.

The current situation is a shambles, and I truly hope that people see through this nonsense and vote yes or no based on the facts and not the pack of lies that some extremist nutters are pushing.
on September 20, 2009
at 11:34 AM

We have DECLAN GANGLEY a very good communicator & SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN for the NO side. He has got fierce abuse from the TV interviews here but he is well able to hold his argument. I am a woman and definately will be voting NO. Also most people seem to be doing the same. Just might put a bet on a few quid to be made here !!!!!
LILLY in Ireland
on September 20, 2009
at 11:34 AM

If Ireland truly wants to punch above its weight and be a significant power it should vote "no" instead of cravenly rolling over for the EU to tickle its tum for fear of a big stick.
on September 20, 2009
at 11:02 AM

Let the Tories in the UK be honest and true, unlike Labour. If the Tories guarantee a referendum and then repeal the hated Lisbon treaty - it will inspire the rest of the countries of the 4th Reich to follow suit.

If the Tories refuse to promise a referendum - now - then vote UKIP.
Chris Hill
on September 20, 2009
at 10:50 AM

The Irish YES vote is a fait accompli so you might as well get over it.

The Little Englander attitude is all very well but it is time to face up to the reality of life with the Lisbon Treaty and an all conquering EU Commission.

Rather than demand total withdrawal we should make a concerted demand for the EU Parliament to have greater powers and for the Commission to be abolished.

The "Government" of Europe should be made up from the elected representatives in the European Parliament. They would have to form their own coalitions in order to form a government.

The People of Europe would then have a direct say in their governance. I have no problem with moving with the times and being part of a United States of Europe but I have absolutely no wish to be part of an EUSSR.

I am sick of trying to run my business with a highly volatile exchange rate, inept governments and self seeking politicians. The latter would surely survive in the EU Parliament but at least we would be governed by the best of Europe, not the mediocrity of Scotland
Richard Vine
on September 20, 2009
at 10:30 AM

The Irish have had a vote and voted "NO". If the Irish vote "no" again will the EU force them to have other referendums until they vote
"yes " ?
The Lisbon Treaty specified that it would collapse if one country voted "no"...........
sarsfields ghost
on September 20, 2009
at 10:29 AM

In many ways the choice is simple- the Lisbon treaty is better than the current situation. It improves the democratic operation and brings some decisions closer to individual parliaments. Sure it's not perfect- no compromise agreed between 27 different countries will be.
The biggest problem the no campaign has is that time and again as different treaties have been put to the people they have claimed that disaster awaits if Ireland votes yes. Time and again this has been proved false. Ireland has blossomed in the EU. Many if the arguments being made now are the same as were originally made against joining in 1972.
The clearly ill-informed piece above, misrepresentsuch about Ireland and seems guided more by the authors prejudices than by anything else. Irelands economic troubles spring from an asset bubble, noone in the country thinks holding out a begging bowl will help, and it is insulting to suggest it. The authors tone will no doubt serve to provide reassurance to the readers of the telegraph, but I fear it is not irelands job to help the British with their issues with Europe, which spring from the hollow arrogance of lost empire. I for my part hope we vote yes. Whatever the decision it will have little to do with anything other than irelands own relationship with Europe, and no other factors.
Andrew c
on September 20, 2009
at 10:29 AM

Helpful hints for Dave on how to win the next General Election if Gauleiter Broon ever calls one:
1) Promise to hold a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon
2) Hold a second referendum on liberating the UK by wthdrawing from the EU if the British people vote down the TOL in the first referendum.

Its that simple.
on September 20, 2009
at 10:29 AM

I am french. I hope you vote NO like french people.
on September 20, 2009
at 10:29 AM

The Irish government and the media have been entirely dishonest with the Irish people insofar as they all credit Irelands huge success to the EU collectives magnaminity. Wrong. The Irish decision to rejig supply side taxation was the reason Businesses found Ireland so attractive: It had nothing whatever to do with the EU collective. In fact the Celtic tigers success was an irritant to the Collectives Group dictatorship, and Sarkozy in particular continually whined about Irelands tax system being unfair to the other nations. In truth Lisbon will finish Ireland as the Celtic Tiger. Here is a short video from an Irishman who sees through the lies about the Lisbon Constitutional document.


Meanwhile if you doubt the malignancy of all in current power:


One must draw ones own conclusions. However this is sinister in the extreme given the huge events unfolding of eugenics, war and genocide.
harry fredericks
on September 20, 2009
at 10:27 AM

What part of the word "NO!" don't they understand?
on September 20, 2009
at 10:23 AM

Really,if I require a history lesson on Ireland I can refer to the history books. Please stay with the relevant facts about the referendum. If your correspondents cannot write a cohesive piece on the subject I suggest you get new ones.
Anne Barker
on September 20, 2009
at 10:23 AM

I expect the Irish felt quite grown up in rejecting Lisbon the first time round. But being threatend with financial penelties will be too much for them. They have done very nicely out of the EU, they will vote for that to continue.
Ironic really. They fought bloody battles to gain their independance then sell their soul for a few quid. this is the real world now. Democracy is dead.
Crocodile Gunn D
on September 20, 2009
at 10:21 AM

The simple fact that there is a second referendum being held here tells you all you need to know about democracy and the EU.

And the simple fact that there was agreement by the Irish government to hold a second referendum tells you all you need to know about them.

The result is not a foregone conclusion, as most commentators seem to think.

The really sad part of this whole saga is the fact that almost all of the political parties in Ireland are ready and willing to sell Irish independence down the Liffy.

I hope and pray that common sense prevails!
Geoff Turner
on September 20, 2009
at 10:18 AM

The Irish have one of the last meaningful votes left in Europe and chance to say no to something. It has been said elsewhere, if we want to live in a democracy, we need to leave the EU.
on September 20, 2009
at 08:52 AM

I have been researching the implications of a UK withdrawal from the EU, and it will be to our advantage to do so. It is no secret that the EU is corrupt; that's reason enough to leave it, apart from everything else, right?
The three major parties will not even give us a referendum on the Lisbon (Sovereignty Handover) Treaty, the BNP are extremist thugs who haven't got the nous to govern a country anyway, so that leaves UKIP as the only credible party to vote for.
Labour are talking about cutting the education budget, but there is no mention of cutting pointless parasitic quangoes, for goodness sake!
Time to stop the rot, people.
on September 20, 2009
at 08:46 AM

Ireland should remember that as one of Europe's smaller countries, in terms of both its population and its economy, it MUST have the flexibility to attract investment with tax and other concessions as it has in the past with the IT industry and with artists, for example.
The second point that people MUST remember is that, if you hand power over to the bureaucrats in Brussels and you don't like a law they impose on you, there is no way that you can rid yourselves of that law. Imagine a time in the future when Ireland offers significant tax breaks to attract investment and Brussels turns around and says 'no' and threatens fines or sanctions if you do so. You will have to tow the line because you will have given up your sovereign right to decide these things.
Barry, Canberra, Australia
on September 20, 2009
at 08:41 AM

Come on Ireland.

Vote for freedom and democracy.Stand up for the rest of Europe who have been denied a vote for ourselves.

Vote NO.
David A
on September 20, 2009
at 08:35 AM

The Irish have resisted domination by the "durty English" for hundreds of years yet they want domination from Brussels.Why don't they wake up and smell the control from faceless beaurocrats in the EU.So the Irish have their price too.
on September 20, 2009
at 07:30 AM

As usual Ruth puts everything in the context of religion and her unique perception of Irish history and pigs in the parlour stereotypes: never a mention of unique ethnicity, language or the esteem & self perception that the vast majority of Irish people feel for themselves.
We have long since moved from being the "little islanders" as opposed to our other island neighbours, and can see the possibilities in embracing the potential as equal partners in a wider market.

Of course we accept our politicians are a mere representation of ourselves - something every nation must accept - and so, self-serving, limited in vision and invariably "pigs in the trough". Not having the security of wealth derived from having plunders shores afar for generations, our financial security and ability to regenerate has to be more flexible. However dwelling in the past, reviving past glories, re-hashing stereotypes and spreading fear of "Johnny foreigner" does not offer us any solutions.
In a uniquely Irish perspective it again asks us do we feel "closer to Boston or Berlin?"
Sorry, but London is not on the ballot (or the radar) for us!
on September 20, 2009
at 06:20 AM

reading articles by English people about Ireland always gives me an icky feeling. whats the 'indecent' thing? so it was only 'arrogance' that made people vote No? just keep it to yourself.
Daniel Curtis
on September 20, 2009
at 06:17 AM

reading articles by English people about Ireland always gives me an icky feeling
Daniel Curtis
on September 20, 2009
at 06:17 AM

Although I do believe that this article is successful in tapping into the Irish psyche with regards England, I feel that the author, in knowing her ability to do so is using as means to convince many readers. It is funny that she mentions Nigel Farage as an Englishman that Irish people love to hate, because I found that her commentary on Ireland delved deep into my psyche as an Irishman in a manner that made me find the author as the typical "Brit" that every Irishman has had a go at. I have no doubt that she has personal experience in Ireland, she understands that in the petty anti-Britishness that lies in many Irish people there is an inferiority complex and in understanding this she is unforgiving. For this observation, I applaud the author, what I condemn is her selfish manipulation of this observation to advance her own anti-EU opinions, you are talking about the psyche of not just a few individuals, but that of a nation. I have been to many former British colonies and it would seem that among the multitudinous lack of concerns that Britain has to these regions ravaged by her conquests, that the psychological impact of inferiority to these people is among them.
P.S. Apologies if I've double posted
Paul Colclough
on September 20, 2009
at 06:17 AM

Although I do believe that this article is successful in tapping into the Irish psyche with regards England, I feel that the author, in knowing her ability to do so is using as means to convince many readers. It is funny that she mentions Nigel Farage as an Englishman that Irish people love to hate, because I found that her commentary on Ireland delved deep into my psyche as an Irishman in a manner that made me find the author as the typical "Brit" that every Irishman has had a go at. I have no doubt that she has personal experience in Ireland, she understands that in the petty anti-Britishness that lies in many Irish people there is an inferiority complex and in understanding this she is unforgiving. For this observation, I applaud the author, what I condemn is her selfish manipulation of this observation to advance her own anti-EU opinions, you are talking about the psyche of not just a few individuals, but that of a nation. I have been to many former British colonies and it would seem that among the multitudinous lack of concerns that Britain has to these regions ravaged by her conquests, that the psychological impact of inferiority to these people is among them.
Paul Colclough
on September 20, 2009
at 06:17 AM

Ireland have to say no, this is dangerous and arguably the most important vote since the liberation of Ireland. Michael Collins will turn in his grave if the vote is yes, this is not what his people died for!
on September 20, 2009
at 06:15 AM

I hadn't heard about the IRA chief of staff dying on a U-boat in 1940.

Good show! Royal Navy or Canadian destroyer, please?
Walt O'Brien
on September 20, 2009
at 06:15 AM

The only constitution anyone should say yes to is a constitution they themselves can understand.

As I have not heard admit to actually understanding the treaty then anyone given the right to vote should say no an keep saying no until they produce a document which at least readable and should easy to understand with with a bit of effort.
The constitution is neither of those so we should all vote no.
The only thing they manage to do over the last five years is change name of the thing and make the wording even harder an more difficult for the man in the street to understand.
David Knowles
on September 20, 2009
at 06:13 AM

The goverement wants us to vote Yes for the Lisbon Treaty.And they have just landed us in a CROCK OF SHIT CALLED NAMA! I cant believe what they say because I see what they do!
James Mc Connell
on September 20, 2009
at 06:13 AM

They already voted NO.

what will happen if they vote NO again - third referendum? You cannot just keep making people vote until they agree with you.....

Vote NO, Ireland - at least you were given the choice!
on September 20, 2009
at 06:10 AM

The whole of Europe is corrupt, they haven't disclosed accounts for years because they are so bent. Britain has fought for centuries to keep Britain out of the control of the French, Germans and Spanish. Europe is really about recreating the Holy Roman Empire, Please God that there is a NO vote
Mike Fawdrey
on September 19, 2009
at 11:57 PM

The british public calling for a referendum on the lisbon treaty like the irish are having can view a number10 petition at
on September 19, 2009
at 11:52 PM

i am irish who voted no the last time and intent to vote no again. the reason been is when i see the mealy mouthed politicians spouting on about all the good things they have done for us, i just get sick. The likes of Martin, Roche and Cowen need to be though just what democracy is. they want us to saddle our grand kids and even great grand kids with a debt in order to finance the greatest balls-up anyone could ever believe in a financial stytem that these corrupt feckers caused. Vote NO and No and forever NO
gerry flood
on September 19, 2009
at 11:44 PM

The good people of Ireland have been offered many concessions, opt-outs and vetos.
However, they mean nothing whatsoever when you consider the ratchet clause, which will force any country to adopt any measure the EU sees fit.
So, if Ireland votes Yes this time, they can kiss goodbye to any further referenda on any matter - be it immigration, birth control and abortion, or whether or not the Irish should provide troops for an EU army. The promises they have been offered by the EU are simply pie in the sky.
And we can all kiss goodbye to
democracy because it would, quite simply, be abolished completely! We would have no say whatsoever in who rules us within the EU. If elections continued in this country, it would be like electing a mayor, not a PM.
It is not too late, good people of Britain, to write to the Queen and urge her to stop this sell-out of our - and her - country. I would dearly love to see a coup along the lines planned for Wilson in the 70s. Sir Richard Dannett would be perfect at organising this. And I propose Peter Davies, the no-nonsense English Democrat mayor of Doncaster, for PM!
Sweet Pea
on September 19, 2009
at 11:26 PM

Go on Ireland, vote yes and bring on the Fourth Reich - or is it the Sixth Republic?
Greg Russell
on September 19, 2009
at 10:50 PM

If this treaty is any harmless as Sean posted above, why has it been rewritten in an almost encrypted form so nobody can understand anymore what it's actually saying? Is'nt it quite stupid to believe that it does'nt hide important things behind it's coding? Would anybody sign a contract where one partner tries to hide it's wording?
What amount of trust or naivity does it take to sign such an obscure document?
Germain from Germany
on September 19, 2009
at 10:33 PM

If this treaty is any harmless as Sean posted above, why has it been rewritten in an almost encrypted form so nobody can understand anymore what it's actually saying? Is'nt it quite stupid to believe that it does'nt hide important thing behind it's coding? Would anybody sign a contract where one partner tries to hide it's wording?
What amount of trust or naivity does it take to sign such an obscure document?
Germain from Germany
on September 19, 2009
at 10:19 PM

What a condescending article.

I believe we should vote yes but I also believe that it should not be just "to be good citizens" of the EU. As the only country in the EU that is trusting enough of its own citizens to allow a vote (even if constitutionally bound to) it is only right that it should be debated in an intelligent manner and questions answered.

Concerns were ignored the first time and a poor government failed to see the need to engage with its electorate. These questions have been answered now and regardless of some doubts our future is with the EU even with a flawed Lisbon treaty. France et al have rejected it once in its previous form and the UK is too scared of democracy, and has reneged on its promise of a referendum. Most member states would struggle to get it approved.

The EU is a body that has brought great good but it should not let itself be consumed with power and greed and remember it is there to represent all EU citizens.
Tony Keating
on September 19, 2009
at 10:09 PM

What is the point of the Republic of Ireland getting shot of the hated English only to saddle themselves with with an even more despicable group, namely the Commissioners from europe? I fear however, they will vote with their hands on their wallets than on their hearts, people are so easily bought. A great shame to see a proud fighting race bend the knee.
michael dearden
on September 19, 2009
at 10:08 PM

I disagree profoundly with Ruth Dudley Edwards's views. The Irish people had a European view of themselves until years of suppression by their near neighbours turned them inwards and caused them to concentrate solely on survival. Accession to the European Union did more to break the obsession with fear of and dependence on Britain than any other event in the history of this country. Sinn F�in (Ourselves alone) is a shibboleth of the past. We are Europeans and proud of it. Belonging means giving as well as taking.
on September 19, 2009
at 09:40 PM

If the yes vote succeeds this time, can we have another referendum and try for the best of three.
Raymond Poole
on September 19, 2009
at 09:21 PM

The Irish are fighting a war of attrition with the EU. They have said no once, and here again, is the same treaty, being forced upon them.

Is this EU democracy?

The Irish people are being bombarded with ine of the biggest commercial campaigns they have ever experienced, financed by the EU, to get them to vote yes. And as to be expected, these commercials are factually incorrect, yet no Politician will publicly debate the Treaty. What does that say?

Even the Irish Political Elite do not understand the treaty, believing the "double vote" will give them more power, when in actual fact it diminishes what little power they have left.

For such a proud nation to give in to the bullying of Europe by casting a Yes vote, would be a real act of oppression.

Be brave Ireland, give the EU a firm and resounding NO.
Joseph Walsh
on September 19, 2009
at 09:13 PM

The yes vote is the only sane answer. Perhaps if the no side had not been so obviously dishonest we could take them more seriously. The treaty is as harmless as it was last time, despite what the fundies would have us believe (without evidence)
on September 19, 2009
at 09:07 PM

The Irish will get what they deserve for being so short-sighted. If it were only their own fate they were sealing I wouldn't care, but it is also the 26 countries who have not had the chance to express their opinions.
Are they really so blind? Do no alarm bells ring? Not only are they being forced to vote again on something that is undesirable to most in the EU, but Brussels are issuing threats about them being punished if they don't vote 'Yes'. Can they really not see what sort of monster they are dealing with?
on September 19, 2009
at 08:50 PM

As usual Edwards gives a skewed and biased analysis based on her own flawed logic. The NO side are the only ones actually making relevent points and using articles from the treaty to back up their points. The YES side meanwhile deride, threaten and bully the public with the current economic recession. They pontificate the childish assertion that because Europe does something we must follow like obedient little Celts. They state that a Yes will promote job creation, but fail to account for this with any hard facts. If Edwards wants to apportion blame let her do it to the inane and childish Yes side. And quoting her friend, the most neurotic and ridiculous Irishman alive, Kevin Myers, also does her no favours. NO TO THE ANTI-DEMOCRATIC FASCISTS OF EUROPE.
POl Mag Uidhir
on September 19, 2009
at 08:36 PM

"No!" means "No!", except when it comes to Europe it seems.
on September 19, 2009
at 08:31 PM

I implore Irish voters to vote NO on the basis of solidarity with the rest of us in the EU. You are able to vote on this one; we are not. That is reason enough to vote NO.
Stephen Schneider
on September 19, 2009
at 08:30 PM

A two word argument ag

ainst a Yes vote:

President Blair.
on September 19, 2009
at 08:10 PM

I'm with Rick. They're spending a fortune on this YES campaign and it's the usual bollocks. Vote NO and force them to ask the rest of us!
on September 19, 2009
at 08:00 PM

For the few valid points Edwards makes here, her unfamiliarity with Irish Nationalism shows in such old tired and imperialistic stereotypes of Irish people as 'prone to romanticisation and self delusion' demonstrating 'the solid materialism of the peasant'. Such old fashioned typecasting diminishes her analysis of the current situation in Ireland
on September 19, 2009
at 07:56 PM

Please God let there be a No vote. Please let the Irish stand up for democracy. Where is the referendum we were promised by liar labour?
Paul Mullen
on September 19, 2009
at 07:55 PM

Don't for once be conned into this if you vote YES you doom us all
on September 19, 2009
at 07:47 PM

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© Ruth Dudley Edwards