04 June, 2008

Sneaking Under The Lisbon Treaty Radar

By now everyone on this Island of ours, on the western side of Europe, has heard about the up coming referendum to ratify the Treaty Of Lisbon. From what I've read on different web sites and on foreign news channels, most of the people in the EC are aware of the referendum here too as we are the only county in the EC which is holding a referendum to ratify the treaty. The other countries current governments have the power to ratify the treaty without consulting the voters.

The Treaty is, apparently, a huge document of wishie-washie beaurocratic gobbledy-gook. I haven't read it, nor would I attempt to. Instead I bided my time and got the booklet from the Referendum Commission.

Most of the debate on the referendum has been about how the treaty will be good or bad for Ireland, depending on which side you're listening to. The booklet is fair in it's presentation of the things and just presents the facts in a fairly easy to read manner - not an easy thing to do considering the subject manner.

I read the booklet carefully, getting to grips with each part. Most of the treaty seems to be concerned with making the EU fairer for all the member states and giving new member states an equal say. This involves Ireland having to give up some of it's voting power. This is what most of the "Yes" and "No" campaigners have been going on about.

But then I hit one small line which actually said what the change to our constitution will be. THIS is what we're being asked to vote on. THIS is the change that is being proposed and it's not just about the Treaty Of Lisbon.

To quote the booklet...
This means that any national government may veto
such a proposal. If the European Council does agree a
proposed change, any national parliament may prevent
these changes coming into effect. Under the proposed
amendment to the Constitution of Ireland the approval of
the Dáil and Seanad will be required for Ireland to agree
to such proposed changes. Such changes would not
require a referendum in Ireland.

The piece in bold is what hit me. By voting "Yes" to change the Constitution of Ireland, the government want us to not only ratify the Treaty of Lisbon, but they also want to make sure that they don't have to ask us about any future EU treaties.

This came as a surprise to me as I haven't heard anyone, in any media let people know about this. I presumed I must be misreading it, so I looked up the wording of the change to the constitution. It says
8° The State may exercise the options or discretions provided by or under Articles 1.6, 1.9, 1.11,
1.12, 1.13 and 2.1 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 7° of this section but any such exercise
shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

I don't think I've misinterpreted it.

If the change is passed this will be the last referendum we have on anything to do with the EU. The last members of the voting public which can ratify or reject EU treaties will be gone. I guess the government figure something that important can't be left to idiots that voted them in in the first place.


Grandad said...

I don't think you have mis-read it at all. It is yet another extremely worrying aspect to the whole thing.

I too am surprised that no one else seems to have picked up on this. I notice that all the government parties have been very careful not to mention the Constitutional Amendment???

Anonymous said...

Please Irish People, in the name of Europeans peoples , vote NO !

See the comments below this french article http://www.liberation.fr/actualite/monde/330142.FR.php
Most of the commentators wish Ireland could vote NO.

If ever it’d happened, this would be a huge slap in the face of the European Commision technocrats who are completely disconnected from reality. The current way the European Union is designed is mainly in the interest of politicians, media and corporations and definitely not in the interest of the majority of the people.

If ever Ireland voted YES, Europe would become the poodle-puppet of the USA, specially into military domains.

Please, be wise, vote NO and do not fear the pressure of the press and of politicians.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, I didn't realise this either - not a wise move if it gets thru!

Anonymous said...

Every post I read makes the argument clearer.

If we all vote no and then vote yes on a later date, our government will look like awful eejits though. Preventative measures? Big brown envelopes? I reckon it'll be a fix no matter how many monkey's uncle votes there are!

Anonymous said...

9 discover with pleasure your comment. In France we had same stake but "Aristocracy" (she thinks and act thus) has decided for us !

Dear friends Irish

Today, your responsibility is enormous!

Each of you, by voting, represent 119 citizens of the Union, all denied parole by the refusal, by the oligarchy, the right to referendum.

Yet these same leaders repeat to us that Europe is a model of democracy!

We demand to give our opinion, a referendum, on key issues:
-- Morals and lifestyle, respect for national traditions.
-- Frontiers of the Union, particularly enlargement to Asia, and in Turkey, an Islamic country to the traditions of the mass, far apart from ours, which will weigh heavily demographically, even though we have not succeeded Again, in the current union, establish a true democracy, with people who speak.

9 rely on you

Philippe, from France
Anonymous, because of Google,("illegal characters" in URL = soon censorship, as in China ?) an another World Government !

English Mum said...

Good grief. That's the first time I've heard that. My father, (politician in UK, don't tell anyone) sent me a mail after the vote saying that 'there are two democracies in Europe, you [meaning Ireland] and the Swiss' which made me smile.