Citizen Journalism: September 1st 2009 Lisbon Treaty John Anthony Coughlan

Subject: NO AND LISBON. WHY CAN’T WE SAY NO? Demographics should not usurp ‘Experience’ and the Peace Process to Unity of Ireland
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 17:16:22 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Provost <>, Cahill Gavin <>, John Corrigan <>, Vincent Browne <>, Gabriel Bradley <>, John Anthony Coughlan <>

For the attention of John Coughlan (letter of introduction not included)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009 4:47 PM
Will the Lisbon Treaty foresake our cultural standing in the  European Community?
by Michelle Clarke

‘They say about Divorce in Ireland – and the lacunae the second bite of the cherry? Well what is the position of Irish citizens to the Lisbon Treaty, yes a replay of the referendum held last year when the vote of the Irish people was No.

I note with interest a letter written to Geraldine Kennedy, Irish Times, by Anthony Couglan, Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Social Policy,  Trinity College Dublin (TCD), who is also President of the Foundation for EU Democracy, Brussels and a director of the National Platform EU Research and Information Centre.

The words that catch my attention most are ‘Social Policy’.

If the Ireland of today was to be compared to the Rome of Nero’s era, it would be summed up as ‘Fiddlers!! (Nero), while Dublin and its environs burns’. Too much corruption, I would suggest and a lack of sanctions by Tribunals, too fat from fees.

Mr. Coughlan, has given considerable time and has written extensively about the Lisbon Treaty and the forthcoming referendum. He refers to the Crotty case in 1987 on the Single European Act … from which the current referendum Act is derived.

Question to Editor, Irish Times from Mr. Coughlan

Last October, ‘on exactly the same Treaty  (Lisbon Treaty) as is being presented to them (electorate) again in the 2nd October re-run’ – Is there a scent of discrimination to No side advocates and is there a bias in the media coverage?

If so, is this democratic?

What is the real truth about the Treaty and is Ireland the only representative to be voting on such an important Treaty and it what it entails?  The question:  Is this a proposal to make 500 million Europeans into ‘real citizens of the legally new Federal-type European Union which the “Lisbon Constitution” would establish?

Mr. Coughlan raises 5 more points.

Question 1
‘Are people happy to be made real rather than symbolic citizens of a post-Lisbon Federal European Europe which for the first time would be constitutionally separate from and superior to its Member States, with a new EU Constitution, with the new EU’s Constitution having primacy over the Irish Constitution’?

Personally, I would find this difficult to accept. The Peace Process, the Unity of Ireland and the Dream, the place of Ireland as a Peacemaker in the world, stand economically challenged. The experience of the Peace Process must have a worth versus the demographic option assuaged by the Lisbon Treaty.

I agree with Mr. Coughlan. A citizen is a member of a State and in our case in Ireland, we are citizens of Ireland. Post Lisbon could change this.

Question 2
Could it possibly be in Ireland’s best interest that post Lisbon Union that European law-making ought to be based on population size? Do we realise that Germany’s vote would increase to 17%? Let us recall the significance of the decision of the Irish people in 1973 to join the EEC, France, Germany, Britain and Italy had 10 votes each and Ireland had 10 votes. The ratio was 3:1 Today the Big States have 29 votes each and Ireland has 7 – a ratio of 4:1

I ask why would we want to dilute our powers? Does life experience not count for something? We have become a training ground for many Europeans who have come to Ireland to work, study and learn English since 1973. Surely this counts?

Question 3
Can it be in Ireland’s best interest to lose the right as to who would represent us in Europe; more importantly the right to make that decision. We would lose out on an option to propose laws.

Question 4
‘Lisbon would abolish the national veto which we have at present in 30 policy areas by handing over to the EU the power to make laws binding on us with regard to public services, policing, crime, justice, the harmonisation of legal procedures, immigration, transport, tourism, sport, culture, public health?

This really is pertinent. What areas would we be left with so that our own policy machine, our system of the Rule of Law, the Separation of Powers would have precedent? We need to review our history from Independence to date (ie 2009: date letter written) and feel confident that an abrogation of such power is fully acceptable to the people of Ireland and this means the Island of Ireland.

Question 5
This raises a most interesting view. It says – it will not be the end of the world if Lisbon is not voted in. If we vote No – interestingly it stands that the Czechs and the Polish will not ratify the Treaty.

This again is interesting. Is it not so that Ireland has been a second home to both the Czech and Polish citizens during the period of the Celtic Tiger?  (I must add this was greatly assisted by Ryanair and the initiative of Mr. O’Leary for a no frills service to European destinations). It also could be the case that Germany may not have ratified the Treaty before the Irish vote.

Have you further views on this NO position? This is about the real nucleus of what we the Irish (members since 1973 albeit not the most populated country)?

Simplistically, imagine your are a board member of a large public company, and a merger or take-over is decided upon. Let us assume you are a director and your place is secured in the take over as director. What then if you were to be demoted to say management level with no real input. What if you had dedicated years of work, experience, capital etc. to the company taken over……..! (Imagine Ryanair) and Mr. O’Leary’s entrepreneurial abilities!

Michelle Clarke


About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s