Ireland and Lisbon

I said the No side would take Ireland out of the EU.

Take “Ireland’s Biggest Free Paper” a Catholic newspaper distributed at the entrance to churches in Ireland. ( – in case you think I am making this up.)

In a long feature piece entitled The Lisbon Treaty Your Right to Know, the paper lists, among others, the following “problems” with the Lisbon Treaty. (No point in favour of the Treaty is included in the piece. )

  • In December 2007 the EU Court of Justice ruled that migrant workers could be paid the minimum wage and it was illegal for a government or trade union to enforce higher pay standards (Laval case).

  • Lisbon would give the EU Court a green light to order changes to Ireland’s low company tax regime.

  • Lisbon would turn the EU into a single State with Ireland as just a province or region. The amendment we are voting on makes this clear.

  • Whether we consider the areas of marriage and the family, the right to life, our freedom to protect our interests and govern ourselves, our religious freedom, jobs, wages, tax regime, etc. there are major problems with this Treaty.

All of the above claims are untrue.

The article also claims that the EU’s Constitution and laws would be made superior to the Irish Constitution in any conflict between the two. Ireland would cease to be an independent sovereign State in the international community of States (Arts.1 and 47 TEU; Declaration No.17).

Well, Community Law takes precedence (within its proper sphere) over national law since the “Enel” Court judgement in 1964. The Lisbon Treaty will not change that, although it will extend community law to some new areas. Anyone who thinks Community Law, even within its proper sphere, should never take precedence over national law is arguing for exit from the EU. (At the risk of being technical, Community Law does not take precedence over the Irish Constitution – except to the extent that the Irish people allow it to do so. If Community Law took precedence over the Irish Constitution we would not need referendums.)

Disgracefully, the current issue of Alive! carries an ad from an anti-Lisbon group claiming that “Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU could seize elderly people’s savings and homes and can take children off people who suffer from mild forms of alcoholism or depression or who do not own a family home.” Today, eleven Irish MEPS denounced the ad, and the newspaper, and demanded the removal of such objectionable material from the entrance to Catholic churches.

And now a suggestion for how Ryanair should spend its money on the Yes campaign – give free tickets to No voters to leave the country for the day of the referendum. END

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