Monday

22nd Apr 2019

Opinion

The Irish government has betrayed its people

The French president yesterday told the group leaders of the European parliament that he has made a deal with the Irish government to hold a second referendum in Ireland to ratify the Lisbon treaty first rejected on 12 June by 53 percent of Irish voters.

None of the representatives of the Irish people who voted No to the Lisbon Treaty were consulted by the Irish government before they struck a deal with the French Presidency. The Irish government has simply ignored the result of the referendum and betrayed those people who voted No in the majority.

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  • None of the representatives of the Irish people who voted No to the Lisbon Treaty were consulted by the Irish government before they struck a deal with the French Presidency (Photo: eu2008.fr)

Government ministers, including the prime minister, have been urging other countries to "isolate" Ireland by ratifying the treaties so the Irish could sweat it out and then change their mind.

And what do they deliver as concessions to the Irish voters? Not one single word to be changed in the treaty that was also rejected by the French and Dutch voters in referendums in 2005 when it went under the name of "Constitution".

Not one word or legal obligation will be changed. The same content will simply be put in a new envelope, just as Valery Giscard d'Estaing said about the change from the Constitution to the Lisbon Treaty. But this time, not even the headline or the wording will be changed.

It is the same text that was rejected.

It is legally doubtful if it is possible to repeat a binding referendum on the same text in the same parliamentary period.

In the new envelope, there will be a lot of nice words in declarations. They have not the slightest legal value. They will neither change anything in the treaties nor hinder the court in Luxembourg from decide directly against whatever the declarations say.

Then, they will have the promise of a commissioner from each member state. Fine. But the Irish commissioner will be picked by a majority of prime ministers and presidents in the EU. The Irish government can come up with "suggestions", but other member states decide.

It would indeed be a concession if they were change the treaty and allow every member state to elect its own commissioner, and it would be democratic progress if we could elect our commissioner in direct elections together with the elections to the European Parliament.

The Irish government has simply given in and will not even insist on the right of Ireland to nominate its own commissioner.

Declan Ganley is president of Libertas and Jens-Peter Bonde is president of the EU Democrats and member of the European Parliament from 1979-2008

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