Ireland: Slouching towards Lisbon
22 June 2009
The Irish Times
The Irish Republic is set to vote on the Lisbon treaty for a second time later this year. In order to counter the No camp that argues on the negative impact ratification would have in matters of national defence, taxation and abortion, it’s time, argues Peter Murtagh of the Irish Times, to separate EU fact from EU fiction.
“We are, it seems, on the last lap of the tiresome – but extraordinarily important – saga that is the Lisbon Treaty’s circuitous route to ratification by Ireland,’ writes Peter Murtagh, quite infuriated that in rejecting the Lisbon Treaty in June 2008, the seemingly “mature, clever” nation that is Ireland, “made a spectacle” of itself. An endorsement of the treaty, he reminds us, never threatened emotional national laws regarding neutrality, abortion (illegal in Ireland), or even taxation. That the European Council has had to make formally empty concessions on these matters will have no effect, however, on “the antis who are pumping out rejectionist statements,” he warns. The No side, he argues is but “disparate groups with hugely overlapping memberships”, leading him to wonder whether this group, whose “noise levels are disproportionate to the number of people involved” represent the majority of the Irish people. “Time will tell”, he concludes, comforted by the fact that Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs is launching ..., as part of the “fight to separate EU fact from EU fiction.”