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Open letter to the Irish People from Denmark

Congratulations, Ireland!
– You are the only people in EU who will have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty!

Copenhagen the 30th of May 2008

Dear Irish people,
We congratulate you on having a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, as that proves that your democracy is stronger than ours.
In our country, Denmark, a large majority wanted a referendum, but a majority in our parliament was afraid of the voice of the people. Consequently they ratified the Lisbon Treaty without a referendum and without a real debate.
The entire process of carrying through the EU Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty has been characterized by heavy manipulation. You too are experiencing measures taken by the EU system aiming at limiting the objectivity of the debate in Ireland. One instance is the instructions within the EU system to avoid sensitive questions that will be influenced by the Lisbon Treaty.
You also experience threats as to what will happen if your referendum should result in a no to the Lisbon Treaty. But those are empty threats. You are entitled to decide for yourselves, and the rest of the EU must respect your choice and make common cause with you, regardless of the outcome.
Consequently we also feel confident that you are able to see through the essence of the Lisbon Treaty – and we congratulate you on your referendum. You will be voting for all the citizens in EU countries, who would have wanted a referendum on the re-named EU Constitution.
In this matter Ireland is the democratic light of Europe. Long live the Irish democracy!
Attac Denmark – http://www.attac.dk
Citizens’ Initiative Yes to Europe – No to the EU Constitution – http://www.euforfatningnej.dk
Trade Unions against the European Union – http://www.eufagligt.dk
People’s Movement against the EU – http://www.folkebevaegelsen.dk
June Movement – http://www.j.dk
Europe of Nations – Supporters of the European Community against more Union – Frank Dahlgaard phone number 0045-44 44 62 29
Necessary Forum – http://www.nodvendigtforum.dk
EU-critical Network of Social liberals – http://www.radikaleukritik.dk
Social democratic Network Europe – Nicolas E. Fisher phone number: 0045- 23 22 44 82
The think-tank New Agenda – http://www.nyagenda.dk
Challenge Europe – http://www.udfordringeuropa.dk
Youth against EU – http://www.nejnu.dk

Freagraí: 5

  1. Spanish:

    Please say NO to that “secret”, undemocratic Treaty!!!

    In the name of all of us who can not be heard.
    Save Europe from wild neo-liberalism.



  2. we did say no!!

  3. Dear Irish people ,

    You said NO to the Lisbon Treaty -Great !
    Somebody has to stop a treaty when the official papers presented are totally Incomprehensive to the citizens and only to be ”deciphered” by
    experts .

    Congratulations !

  4. Lisbon Treaty is now dead, well, maybe it is dead, but then again????
    My letter to the people of Europe.

    To those of you that wanted a no vote in the Lisbon treaty, there you have it. Some of the people of Ireland has obliged you, so now you can do whatever it takes in your countries to enable the European Union become a more efficient organisation.

    To those of you that wanted a Yes vote, not enough Irish people seen fit to vote Yes, so now you also can do whatever is now required to enable the European Union become a more efficient organisation.

    I want to explain what I believe happened in the campaign. The No campaign was off the blocks and running at full speed from January 2008. The Yes campaign really only started in May 2008 and it never really got any momentum going at a time when the No campaign was ploughing ahead like a juggernaut running at full speed.

    The whole political establishment, and the major media organisations, the trade union establishment (with some exceptions), the business establishment, were involved in the Yes campaign and considering all the resources that were available to it, they ran a dismal campaign in that they expected the Irish people to blindly follow their lead. The fact is that Ireland has been fighting establishments for over eight hundred years and if anybody thought that we would just blindly follow the current establishment, they were foolishly mistaken.

    In real terms this vote has shown the difference in class terms that apply in Ireland. It is clearly the most straightforward class divisions that have ever been seen in any vote in the Republic of Ireland. Blue collar workers and lower middle class urban dwellers voted in unprecedented numbers for a clear No. The main reason for this is that, mostly they did not understand the real issues being raised by the referendum. The other reason is that they do not feel that they have ever gained anything from membership of the European Union. Despite many avenues of funding from the European Union (the structural funds et al), Irish governments have spent this money but most people believe that they did not get anything from these funds. Considering that this class of people can not access any state housing, any decent health care services for the sick, children being educated in prefabricated portacabins, (some of which are more than twenty years old), older people being denied home health care, hospitalisation, etc, and public services that are constantly badly managed and deprived of funding (in the name of the European Union), then you can understand why these people do not feel any better off as Europeans. In fact when we travel abroad and see the hospitals and schools etc that are available in other countries, it is quite understandable that many Irish people feel that they are second class citizens of the European.

    This is clearly not the fault of the European Union institutions. It is the fault of Irish governments. It is customary for Irish governments to take credit for things that go well, but when it goes bad the European Union gets the blame. An example of this is: Recently the government insisted that schools would have to pay for drinking water. These funds would have to be paid by the parents of the children attending the schools, as the government could not fund these costs because of a ruling from Europe. They clearly blamed the European Union for this decision. It was promptly rejected by the Institutions of the Union and a senior official was despatched to explain to Ireland that it was a decision purely for the Irish government. When people only hear bad news and regulations that they perceive to be detrimental to their well being then it’s very understandable that Irish people will vote against that. Personally I believe all European nations would vote in the same way if their perception of the institutions was totally negative.

    All day RTE, the Public service media is inundated with various government ministers and spokespersons berating the Irish people for voting NO, in fact one of the senior ministers made a veiled threat by stating that those who voted No would have to accept the bad consequences and the bad outcomes from Europe. This coded language for what is already a disastrous economy, the highest numbers of unemployed people since records began, many industries finding it very uncompetitive, to exist as businesses on an island on the periphery of Europe. These people could do well to listen to the people speaking from Europe on this issue. They have adopted a very diplomatic tone that clearly shows respect for peoples opinions, and while expressing their disappointment, they clearly want to hear why the Irish people voted No. The Irish politicians seem to want to kick the guts out of the Irish people for not toeing their line.

    Ireland has gone from what was one of the richest countries per head of population in Europe, to an almost basket case economy in terms of our inability to compete with the rest of Europe. The reality of this uncompetitiveness is clearly at the feet of the political and ruling classes, most of which have been in positions of power for all of my adult life. The very senior politicians have been in power for most of the last thirty years and the have to accept all of the responsibility for making our economy a basket case. The real cause of this is the price of property in the Urban areas of Ireland. Home prices have increased in some places by 1000% in the last twelve years. However salaries have not increased anything like that and considering other European countries can manage their housing demands in such a way as to improve their economies as supply satisfies demands, instead of the way we have restricted the supply of homes so as to increase prices and ultimately act as a burden on companies’ ability to compete. However when the real consequences of a badly managed economy are being felt through unemployment etc, then the government will blame the No vote for this.

    Before yesterday we were cajoled and threatened with isolation from the rest of Europe, we were told there would be no treaty without us, now they are telling us that the other twenty six countries may move on without us, what are we supposed to believe? We are being told that we now have stopped the progression of other countries on the periphery of membership of the European Union; they did not tell us that on Wednesday. I am amazed but not surprised that the Yes campaign is clearly heading for cover and is now blaming those that voted No, and are clearly not accepting any responsibility for their part in the referendum.

    I feel the European Union needs to send Independent assessors to Ireland to find out why we voted No in this referendum. They might also investigate where all the structural funds have been spent. We have not built any kind of public infrastructures with the exception of roads, we have not got any more hospitals, school’s, elderly housing, community facilities, social housing, with these funds, so the question remains what happened to the money. An example of a road built with structural funds is the road called the M50. This is a ring road motorway around Dublin that crosses over the River Liffey. The road on both sides of the river was built by the government (or at least that’s how they put it) the fact is that substantial EU funds along with Irish taxpayer’s money were used to build this road. The bridge that crosses the River Liffey was built by a private company that was given a government licence to operate and build this bridge and to impose a toll for crossing the bridge. The government has never satisfactorily answered why the bridge was not built using public funds that would do away with the need to toll this bridge. This is not a grump about paying the toll. The toll booths create a bottleneck that has been known to hold people up for up to one hour. This is a ridiculous waste of time for people travelling to and from work in private cars because of the lack of a decent public transport system. The government is now buying out this company for over half a billion Euro, (as far as the reported figures go) and they are allowing another private company install electronic tolling systems at every entrance to the motorway. The cost of using it is going up and it appears that now you can not use any of this road without paying for it. As it stands the only part of it you have to pay for at present is the use of the bridge. In other words if do not need to cross the bridge you can use the M50 road for free. This is a scandalous situation that is clearly putting the needs of a private company above the needs of the people. Again the Irish government have said that this is because of European regulations that we have to do it this way. If that’s the case we are probably better off outside of Europe.

    I must point out that the current political classes will say that it was not them that caused this situation, however the reality is that Ireland has had the same party in Government for almost all of my adult life, with the exception of a brief period when we had what was called the Rainbow coalition which is widely acknowledged as being one of the best governments the Republic of Ireland ever had.

    I know this is only one person’s opinion, but in my estimation I have been an expert on normal Irish people for years (see my Blog predicting the outcome of the referendum earlier in the Blog). I have supported the European Union in all of its requirements over the last thirty years and I will do so in the future. The reality is that I and many like me have looked to Europe as our defenders against bad Irish governments and we have not had that defence. For all the good rules and good regulations applied from Europe most of them have been resisted by the Irish government. One simple example is the government refused to give the largest trade union in Ireland a guarantee that the rights of workers to collective bargaining would be ratified by the Irish government, even though this is an item in the Lisbon treaty.

    So that’s it in a nutshell, if the Irish government will not give a guarantee that they will ratify what is in the treaty, then, why would we vote for the treaty as a whole.

    The one thing I want get across to the people of Europe is this. Irish people voting No for this treaty, was not, in any way meant to be an insult to the people of Europe, or to the Institutions of the European Union. In my humble opinion it is most likely a call for help to free us from the bad management of our country, which has been in the same hands for many years.

    I am going to try to send this to every European Union member ambassadors to Ireland to ask them to forgive us poor Irish idiots for not giving the political elites their own way.

    If I get any response to this I will let you know.


    John Fitzpatrick

  5. Sincere apologies for the delay in moderation – I had seen your posts before but was snowed under at the time and they were “buried” until I rediscovered them today! Thanks for posting.


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