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 Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?

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PostSubject: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:51 pm

So far Ireland is the only State to require a Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (and to deliver a No vote).
I have been thinking about why this should be and these are a few of my thoughts.

- Recent history of living with an oppressive big power
- Young state - feeling the benefits of independence and democracy
- Peripheral, island state - feel more independent
- The eurovision showed us we have no friends in the EU, apart from the UK and they are the oppressive big power mentioned above.
- Independent judiciary
- Strong sense of cultural identity, but feeling that it is at risk.

Its not the first time for us to be on our own, as it was Ireland that held on to Christianity and literacy in the 7 and 8th centuries and had to reconvert/educate the Europe states.

Do they need reconverting to democracy now, I wonder?


Last edited by cactus flower on Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:53 pm

Because we're the only state to put it to referendum. I would bet that
quite a few other states would reject it if put to the test of a
referendum.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:58 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Because we're the only state to put it to referendum. I would bet that
quite a few other states would reject it if put to the test of a
referendum.

Thanks EvotingMachine0197. I'll have to edit my first post. The requirement for a referendum is implicitly part of what has put us in this position.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:45 pm

Charlie McCreevy has also just stated that he thinks a lot of other countries would reject it given the opportunity.

So like, what the fuck is going on here ?

According to todays Indo, a panelist on BBC 'Any Questions' said "3 cheers to the Irish", to a massive supporting applause from the audience.
The same article said the Treaty is even more unpopular than here (speculative I know), and there is a considerable amount of resentment among voters for being denied a vote...
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:12 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:


According to todays Indo, a panelist on BBC 'Any Questions' said "3 cheers to the Irish", to a massive supporting applause from the audience.

I listened to that on Saturday and the Brits indeed seem to be quite receptive to our rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:13 pm

I have to admit to not knowing too much about how we come to be having the Referenda but the name Raymond Crotty comes to mind. Do we have a different kind of Constitution to the other States? Of course the UK doesn't have a written Constitution but goes on custom and practice.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:21 pm

I think there have been 3 SC judgements which affect referenda in Ireland. Crotty, which gave the state a legal onus to have a ref. in certain circumstances.
Also Coughlan, which ruled equal airtime by state broadcasters for both sides.
And McKenna, which ruled equal funding for both sides.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:36 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
I think there have been 3 SC judgements which affect referenda in Ireland. Crotty, which gave the state a legal onus to have a ref. in certain circumstances.
Also Coughlan, which ruled equal airtime by state broadcasters for both sides.
And McKenna, which ruled equal funding for both sides.

And Eamon DeValera who crafted the 1937 Bunreacht na hEireann which requires the assent of the sovereign Irish people in its amendments.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:51 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
I think there have been 3 SC judgements which affect referenda in Ireland. Crotty, which gave the state a legal onus to have a ref. in certain circumstances.
Also Coughlan, which ruled equal airtime by state broadcasters for both sides.
And McKenna, which ruled equal funding for both sides.

And Eamon DeValera who crafted the 1937 Bunreacht na hEireann which requires the assent of the sovereign Irish people in its amendments.

The sovereign people of the EU would like to have the same at EU level, I think.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:52 pm

molly bloom aka cactus f wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
I think there have been 3 SC judgements which affect referenda in Ireland. Crotty, which gave the state a legal onus to have a ref. in certain circumstances.
Also Coughlan, which ruled equal airtime by state broadcasters for both sides.
And McKenna, which ruled equal funding for both sides.

And Eamon DeValera who crafted the 1937 Bunreacht na hEireann which requires the assent of the sovereign Irish people in its amendments.

The sovereign people of the EU would like to have the same at EU level, I think.

Indeed, but if the cabal at the EU level have their way, they won't.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:56 pm

molly bloom aka cactus f wrote:
I have to admit to not knowing too much about how we come to be having the Referenda but the name Raymond Crotty comes to mind. Do we have a different kind of Constitution to the other States? Of course the UK doesn't have a written Constitution but goes on custom and practice.
Radio programme on Raymond Crotty from Joe Noonan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UAuUfxbVD4

Courtesy of Machinenation Media ©
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:01 pm

The point of the decision in Crotty was that the government of Ireland is not free to sign treaties which constrain its free action in foreign policy in any way - without the consent of the people.

In the case of Lisbon, the aid and assistance clause, despite protecting our neutrality, still required a referendum because the government would no longer have had any choice but to offer 'aid and assistance' to other EU members under th stipulated circumstances.

While the form and extent of that aid would have been within the power of the government to decide, nevertheless, the clause represents a constraint on the foreign policy of Ireland - and that, as a matter of sovereignty, requires a referendum.

If we take out the 'aid and assistance' clause, it is quite possible that nothing in Lisbon requires a referendum.


Last edited by ibis on Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:30 pm

Stuart Wheeler, the UK's Raymond Crotty.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF2f76icJb8&feature=related

I believe the House of Lords will finish ratifying it on Wednesday?
Quote :
RATIFICATION MERCREDI EN GRANDE-BRETAGNE

La perspective d'une poursuite des ratifications pourrait cependant être contestée par certains des huit pays qui n'ont pas encore ratifié définitivement le texte. "L'Espagne et l'Italie devraient le faire sans problème. La question est de savoir ce que feront les Danois, les Suédois, les Tchèques ou les Néerlandais", explique un diplomate, sans exclure une surprise du côté britannique, où la Chambre des lords doit boucler la ratification parlementaire mercredi. Le premier ministre britannique, Gordon Brown, après avoir indiqué son intention de poursuivre le processus en cas de non en Irlande, n'a rien dit en public depuis la proclamation des résultats, vendredi. Il déjeunera jeudi à l'Elysée, avant l'ouverture du Conseil européen, avec Nicolas Sarkozy.
from Le Monde article above
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:30 pm

I thought that it was transfer of competences that required a Referendum?
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:32 pm

I wonder will the Lords take any impetus from our vote ? What was the result in Commoms ?
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:34 pm

molly bloom aka cactus f wrote:
I thought that it was transfer of competences that required a Referendum?
That falls under Ibis' definition above Molly. I think.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:01 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
molly bloom aka cactus f wrote:
I thought that it was transfer of competences that required a Referendum?
That falls under Ibis' definition above Molly. I think.
Quote :

to sign treaties which constrain its free action in foreign policy in any way - without the consent of the people
.

Not only foreign affairs competences though?
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:06 pm

What about the Common Defence stuff?

Three-page PDF

Article 29.4 wrote:
9° The State shall not adopt a decision taken by the European Council to establish a common defence pursuant to Article 1.2 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 7° of this section where that common defence would include the State.

The new bit that Lisbon wanted to put in
Quote :
15° The State shall not adopt a decision taken by the European Council to establish a common
defence pursuant to—
i Article 1.2 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 7° of this section, or
ii Article 1.49 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 10° of this section, where that common defence would include the State.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:12 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
molly bloom aka cactus f wrote:
I thought that it was transfer of competences that required a Referendum?
That falls under Ibis' definition above Molly. I think.

Not really, I think. There were effectively 5 points or claims in the Crotty case. The first four are as follows:

(1) Changes which are proposed in the decision-making process of the Council in six instances from unanimity to a qualified majority were asserted to be an unauthorised surrender of sovereignty.

(2) The power given to the Council by unanimous decision at the request of the Court of Justice of the European Communities (the European Court) to attach to it a court of first instance with an appeal from the latter on questions of law to the European Court was said to be an unauthorised surrender of the judicial power.

(3) It is submitted that Article 20 dealing with cooperation in economic and monetary policy, Article 21 dealing with social policy, Article 23 dealing with economic and social cohesion, Article 24 dealing with research and technological development, and Article 25 dealing with the environment, all add new objectives to the Treaty of Rome which make them additions to the original Treaty which are outside the existing constitutional authorisation.

(4) It is submitted that powers granted to the Council by Articles 18 and 21 of the SEA would enable it by a qualified majority to direct the approximation of laws concerning the provision of services and concerning the working environment, health and safety of workers which amount to new powers outside the existing constitutional authorisation and which could encroach on existing guarantees of fundamental rights under the Constitution.

All of these were dismissed on appeal:

(1 & 3) Having regard to these considerations, it is the opinion of the Court that neither the proposed changes from unanimity to qualified majority, nor the identification of topics which while now separately stated, are within the original aims and objectives of the EEC, bring these proposed amendments outside the scope of the authorisation contained in Article 29, s. 4, sub-s. 3 of the Constitution. As far as Ireland is concerned, it does not follow that all other decisions of the Council which now require unanimity could, without a further amendment of the Constitution, be changed to decisions requiring less than unanimity.

(2) The power of the Council to attach to the European Court a court of first instance with limited jurisdiction which would be subject to appeal on questions of law to the European Court, does not affect in any material way the extent to which the judicial power has already been ceded to the European Court. This Court is therefore of the opinion that the establishment of an additional court, if it occurs, has not been shown to exceed the constitutional authorisation.

(4) The existing Treaty contains various provisions dealing with the approximation of laws in general, with freedom for the provision of services in the Member States, with working conditions and with the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases. The proposals contained in Articles 18 and 2l of the SEA have not been shown to contain new powers given to the Council which alter the essential character of the Communities. Neither has it been shown that they create a threat to fundamental constitutional rights. Therefore, it is the opinion of the Court that the appeal under this heading also fails.

To use the briefest summary of the part of the appeal that succeeded, which was the claim in respect of the foreign policy provisions of the SEA - Article 30:

Henchy, J wrote:
Without
going further into Article 30, it is clear from those provisions that once the
Member States ratify this Treaty each state's foreign policy will move from a
national to a European or Community level. Apart from becoming bound to
endeavour
jointly to formulate and implement a European foreign policy, each Member State
will become specifically bound to inform and consult its fellow-members, to
refrain from deciding on a final position as to an issue of foreign policy
without prior consultations, to
take
full account

of the positions of the other partners in adopting its positions and in its
national measures, to
ensure
that
common principles and objectives are gradually developed and defined, and to
recognise that the determination of common positions
shall
constitute a point of reference.


...

75. In
testing the constitutional validity of the proposed ratification of the SEA
(insofar as it contains Title III) it is important to note that the
Constitution at the very outset declares as follows in Article 1:-



"The
Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign
right...to determine its relations with other nations...in accordance with its
own genius and traditions."




76. It
appears to me that this affirmation means that the State's right to conduct its
external relations is part of what is inalienable and indefeasible in what is
described in Article 5 as "a sovereign, independent, democratic State." It
follows, in my view, that any attempt by the Government to make a binding
commitment to alienate in whole or in part to other states the conduct of
foreign relations would be inconsistent with the Government's duty to conduct
those relations in accordance with the Constitution.


...

79. A
perusal of Title III of the SEA satisfies me that each ratifying Member State
will be bound to surrender part of its sovereignty in .the conduct of foreign
relations. That is to happen as part of a process designed to formulate and
implement a European foreign policy. The freedom of action of each state is to
be curtailed in the interests of the common good of the Member States as a
whole. Thus, for example, in regard to Ireland, while under the Constitution
the point of reference for the determination of a final position on any issue
of foreign relations is the common good of the Irish people, under Title III
the point of reference is required to be the common position determined by
Member States. It is to be said that such a common position cannot be reached
without Ireland's consent, but Title III is not framed in a manner which would
allow Ireland to refuse to reach a common position on the ground of its
obligations under the Irish Constitution. There is no provision in the Treaty
for a derogation by Ireland where its constitutional obligations so require. On
the contrary, Title III expressly provides:-



"In
adopting its positions and in its national measures [which presumably would
include Acts of the Oireachtas] each High Contracting Party shall take full
account of the positions of the other partners and shall give due consideration
to the desirability of adopting and implementing common European positions."




80. Thus,
if the other Member States were to take up a common position on an issue of
external relations, Ireland, in adopting its own position and in its national
measures, would be bound by Title III to "take full account" of the common
position of the other Member States. To be bound by a solemn international
treaty to act thus is, in my opinion, inconsistent with the obligation of the
Government to conduct its foreign relations according to the common good of the
Irish people. In this and in other respects Title III amounts to a diminution
of Ireland's sovereignty which is declared in unqualified terms in the Irish
Constitution.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:01 pm

Sorry the above is so long - I think it's worth having a reasonable impression of the Judges' thinking in Crotty. Essentially, the real clincher is probably Article 1 of Bunreacht:

"The Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of Government, to determine its
relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic and
cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions.
"

What was actually held in the Crotty case was that, while Ireland could opt out of a common formulated European foreign policy, it was bound by the obligations in the Treaty to do nothing to interfere with that position - an obligation which prevents Ireland freely choosing its foreign policy.

Further to that, such a provision was also novel, in that while Ireland had agreed to joint decision-making in respect of economic and certain cultural matters on accession, it had not agreed to any joint position in respect of foreign affairs.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:46 pm

The Germans I've been reading over the past few days don't think that the Irish are the only state to say no - the attitude there (where there's probably been far less discussion than there has here about specific aspects of the treaty) is that it's the constutition 3rd time unlucky and it's time that Europe paid attention to that message.

As to why other states didn't say no...

As I recall, it was ratified in Malta almost overnight with no forewarning and absolutely no discussion.

Is it the case that politicians have a (not necessarily insidious) agenda that they haven't either communicated or consulted with their people's on? Whatever about accusations of a democratic deficit in Europe, I don't think Ireland is alone in having a democratic and informational kluft between the national government and the people. Are ordinary people turning against the European project - or changes in the project - for that reason?
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:52 pm

Because we were the only ones who could. 
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:19 am

cookiemonster wrote:
Because we were the only ones who could.

Yes, but why were we the only ones to have a referendum?
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:20 am

molly bloom aka cactus f wrote:
cookiemonster wrote:
Because we were the only ones who could.

Yes, but why were we the only ones to have a referendum?
Because they didn't think we would. 
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PostSubject: Re: Why is Ireland the Only State to Say No?   Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:21 am

Kate P wrote:
The Germans I've been reading over the past few days don't think that the Irish are the only state to say no - the attitude there (where there's probably been far less discussion than there has here about specific aspects of the treaty) is that it's the constutition 3rd time unlucky and it's time that Europe paid attention to that message.

The Germans are the ones to watch, really. The French, I'm sure, are fully behind the idea of giving us a good kick - French politics remains the near-exclusive domain of the elite.* The British, almost certainly, are at least sympathetic, so it depends, really, on the Germans. If they swing round to the idea of putting us on the naughty step, we have a problem.

* that is to say, they are drawn both from a relatively narrow segment of society, and they are almost invariably graduates of the grandes ecoles - the Imperial French schools of governance.

Kate P wrote:
As to why other states didn't say no...

As I recall, it was ratified in Malta almost overnight with no forewarning and absolutely no discussion.

Is it the case that politicians have a (not necessarily insidious) agenda that they haven't either communicated or consulted with their people's on? Whatever about accusations of a democratic deficit in Europe, I don't think Ireland is alone in having a democratic and informational kluft between the national government and the people. Are ordinary people turning against the European project - or changes in the project - for that reason?

I think people quite rightly resist change when it hasn't been explained why it's necessary. I don't think it was explained here, and I think most politicians would rather avoid having to explain things at all (!). That does not necessarily involve an evil agenda, but it involves an undemocratic agenda in the sense that it prefers not to inform the voter. I'm something of a fan of informed voting and debate, myself.
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