Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Tag
Well the Eurocrats got their way at the second try and the scale of the victory makes one wonder why it took two goes to get there. Just what happened to persuade so many Irish people to change their minds? Perhaps it was the concessions on abortion laws and drink drive limits, perhaps it was the concerns over the nations debts and the help provided by the EU.
Or perhaps it was the way the normal rules on balanced political advertising and reporting were abandoned, or the way some very vocal business leaders pushed the yes vote as the only way forward for their companies and thus the employment of thousands.
Whatever the reason for the change we now have the spectacle of the Eurocrats turning their sights onto the two remaining countries that need to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. One wonders what concessions and bribes will be elicited from the EU for those very valuable signatures. It makes a mockery of the whole process that part of our constitutional future can be bought for a few tallents of hypothetical gold.
Slowly, slowly the issues that will ultimately persuade the Irish to vote yes in the next referendum on the EU reform treaty are coming to the surface. The latest suggestion is the right to at least one drink without falling foul of the drink drive alcohol limit. The EU is pushing for a consistent approach across all member states with a maximum alcohol level 0.5mg per millilitre of blood. Ultimately the EU want to reduce the limit to 0.2 mg, for certain categories of drivers, including new drivers, motorcyclists, lorry and bus drivers; it also wants every driver to be breathalysed at least once every three years.
Ireland has a big rural population and popping into a bar after work for a drink before heading home is a national habit. The proposed change would mean that the one drink would push them over the limit and risk a driving ban and large fine. Not something a nation where the bar shares place as the centre of the community along with the catholic church is too willing to accept.
Along with strict anti abortion laws, the independence of the army and the freedom to set their own tax rates the drink drive limits are very contentious issues and will have to be protected within the treaty if the Irish are going to vote yes. There are not easy issues and some are quite fundamental to the formation of a united Europe. Just how far the EU commission is willing to go to see its goal achieved by diluting its federal powers will be rather interesting.
Over the years Ireland has done very well out of the EU, all around the country there are many public works projects that proudly display the fact their existence owes some part to EU funding. Therefore the EU protagonists were somewhat taken aback when the Irish decided to vote against the new EU Treaty.
Well, as all good politicians do in these instances they have come up with a compromise that protects the things Ireland did not like in the hope the Irish will now give the Treaty a yes vote. The question one should now ask is if these protections from the centralist approach are good for Ireland why not give them to everyone?
The answer is simple, get the Irish onboard then slowly erode the protections in ways the Irish people have no way of preventing. The will of the people will be overcome in the end. Of course we in the UK never had the opportunity to express our views even though it was an election manifesto promise. After all why ask the public to vote on something when you know you’ll not get the answer you want. Simpler to say the Treaty is not the same as the one mentioned in the manifesto. I hope the Irish see through the mist that will envelop them and vote no.