Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Lisbon Treaty

Tomorrow we, the citizens of Ireland are being asked to vote 'yes' or 'no' to the Treaty of Lisbon. We are the only country in the European Union who have to decide whether to ratify the treaty. If we vote no the treaty will not come into effect. It is causing much hot air both in the pubs and on on the airwaves as the citizens of this country decide which way to vote. There is as you would expect a large amount of contrary advice and misinformation. Somewhat suprising given that we've only had 12 years to read the full treaty. Except it appears that only three people in Ireland have actually read the whole 56 page document. (

I tried to read it when it arrived with the Sunday Times. I took one look at and decided it was beyond human comprehension and returned to do something more interesting. Just to give you an idea it goes something like this.

"Section 12, paragraph 8 as amended by section two sub paragraph 8b shall be amended to read, "Where subsection 8b is relevant then paragraph 2b shall be the relevant paragraph for all purposes except when Section 35, sub section 29f applies". And so on.

The Referendum Commission has however kindly given every citizen a helpful booklet outlining the changes in what it calls simple language. It runs to only 14 pages in English and 18 in Irish. I cannot bring myself to understand it even after trying. For example on page 11 it says that one of the changes is in competence and the treaty will give the EU joint competence with member states in a number of areas and these include energy and aspects of the environment and public health. Thats clear then isn't it?

Many people will vote no because they simply don't see why they should vote for something they don't understand and there are those who will vote yes because, "the EU has been good to us and we should trust our polititians". There are those who claim it will allow the EU to force us citizens of Ireland to eat rice or fight on Sundays if the EU goes to war over herring quotas. Some people think that we will have compulsory abortion if the person is born in wales and lives outside Italy. There are those who think that the EU will claim the moon the following week (sub section 24, para 9) and so on.

Me? I'll vote yes for the simple reason that the EU has so far been the only institution that has sprotecting the Irish from destroying their own environment over the last ten or fifteen years.

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