Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Concern at Saudi school plan

Concerns have been raised at plans by the Government of Saudi Arabia to establish a school with an Islamic ethos in Dublin, according to the Irish Times. The plans have been announced in Arabic on the website of the Saudi embassy in Dublin which opened in September. From the Irish Times on Wednesday:
"According to the notice, the decision to set up a school was taken at a meeting in Dublin late last month. The meeting was attended by members of the education committee of the Saudi Shura Council, an unelected body whose members advise the Kingdom’s government, and Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Ireland, Abdulaziz Aldriss.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Czech President: I won't sign Lisbon

The Czech PM, Jan Fischer, appears to have backed down in his struggle with President Vaclav Klaus over ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. President Klaus has refused to sign the Treaty since it was ratified by both houses of the Czech Parliament last May. Asked during a walkabout on Sunday not to put his name to the treaty, Mr Klaus replied: “Don’t worry, I won’t.” The Treaty must be ratified in all EU member states in order to come into force. After a crisis Cabinet meeting yesterday, Jan Fischer, the Czech Prime Minister, avoided a direct confrontation with Mr Klaus, bowing to his demand (last Friday) to reopen negotiations with the EU on an eleventh-hour opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights.Klaus argues that the Charter could be used by ethnic-Germans to regain their property lost in the expulsions following the Benes Decrees after World War Two, which expelled 2.6 million ethnic-Germans from former Czechoslovakia:

"After a crisis Cabinet meeting yesterday, Jan Fischer, the Czech Prime Minister, avoided a direct confrontation with Mr Klaus, bowing to his demand to reopen negotiations with the EU on an eleventh-hour opt-out. However, he called on the unpredictable President to guarantee his signature if EU leaders agreed to his conditions and if the Czech Constitutional Court raised no new objections.Mr Klaus is demanding an opt-out for the Czech Republic that would prevent German families expelled after the Second World War from lodging property claims at the European Court of Justice.He raised the stakes on Friday, putting a dampener on EU celebrations over the Irish referendum decision to back the treaty. The President argued that the charter could whip up an avalanche of property claims from German families expelled from Czech territory after the war".

The Irish option of ‘guarantees’ outside of the Treaty appears insufficient for Klaus:

"Mr Klaus appears to have rejected the easier path of negotiating guarantees on interpretation of the charter, in a syle similar to the guarantees secured by the Irish government on an interpretation of the treaty in politically sensitive areas.
Ladislav Jakl, the Czech president’s spokesperson told the Irish Times that “this [Irish way] seems to me as an absolutely impossible way forward”. “The president will not be satisfied by any declaration, but only guarantees for every citizen. For him, this condition is fundamental, necessary, unbreachable”.

Bulgaria and France have today reacted angrily to the delay:

"Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said here Monday after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy that a refusal by the Czech Republic’s leader to ratify the EU Lisbon Treaty would not be tolerated, AFP informed.
“It must not be allowed, it must not be tolerated. President Sarkozy is of the same opinion,” Borisov said when asked about the Czechs being the last holdout in ratifying the European Union’s reform treaty.
According to the office of the French president, during their talks Sarkozy noted that the 27-nation bloc had targeted for the Lisbon Treaty to take effect by the end of this year.
“Therefore, we cannot imagine that a member state would be responsible for trampling on its commitment,” it said.
The Czech Republic also runs the risk of not having a commissioner on the next European Commission, the EU executive arm, it added".

EU leaders are anxious to secure Czech ratification to prevent an incoming Tory Government in the UK reversing British ratification and putting Lisbon to a referendum, where polls indicate the Treaty would almost certainly be rejected. The UK General Election must take place by June 2010 at the latest. Conservative Party leader David Cameron has promised a referendum if elected prior to the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty by ratification in every member state. However, asked what his course of action would be if it is already in force by that date, he has only stated he would “not let matters rest there”.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why there won't be an Election

With the impending Green conference on the Programme for Government on Saturday, much speculation surrounds the fate of the Government and the possibility of an early General Election perhaps within weeks. Such speculation is ill-informed, and smacks either of wishful thinking, ignorance of the Constitution, or both. I predict with near-certainty that there will be no General Election, on the basis of Article 13.2.2, which states:

"The President may in his absolute discretion refuse to dissolve Dáil Éireann on the advice of a Taoiseach who has ceased to retain the support of a majority in Dáil Éireann".
In that context, Cowen could lose a confidence-motion in Dail Eireann and Enda Kenny could be elected Taoiseach by virtue of the Greens crossing the floor and support from Sinn Féin. But Green support would surely depend on Enda Kenny agreeing not to seek a dissolution of Dail (and in practice a General Election) from the President. This is at the heart of the ignorance about the prospect of an early election – the role of the President and An Taoiseach. To start the train running, An Taoiseach must request a dissolution of Dail Eireann from the President of Ireland. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas and consequently, Cowen certainly won’t request it. Likewise, neither will the Greens allow Kenny to. And even if Kenny requested a dissolution of Dail Eireann, the Greens would deprive him of his hypothetical majority, allowing President McAleese to refuse a dissolution. After all, she is a Fianna Fáiler at heart.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lisbon: Germans bully Czech Court

The German Ambassador to the Czech Republic exerted pressure on the Czech Chief Justice on ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, according to Czech Newspaper "Euro". Two weeks before 17 Senators filed a new complaint against the constitutionality of the Treaty before the court, the German Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Johannes Haindl reportedly pressed Czech Constitutional Court Chairman Pavel Rychetsky to dismiss the challenge so that Czech ratification of the Lisbon treaty can proceed. The newspaper reports that he got what he wanted:
"Rychetský had reportedly promised the German ambassador rapid settlement of the contract".
Czech Senators involved in the challenge reacted angrily to the revelations, accusing Germany of outside-interference and of undermining the independence of the judiciary.:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Odey: I'm not funding Irish "No" campaign

The UK hedge-fund manager Crispin Odey, who an Irish Independent article claimed had “bankrolled” “Declan Ganley’s ‘No to Lisbon Campaign’, has rejected claims by Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan that he is funding the Libertas “no” campaign. In a fax to RTE and TV3 dated 30th September 2009 and seen by me, Mr Odey demanded that the broadcasters issue clarifications to this effect by 12 noon today. The faxes state that:

"1. I have never contributed to to any political campaigns in Ireland conducted by Mr Declan Ganley or any other group.

2. I contributed a sum of money in May this year to the campaign of a British citizen who was standing as a candidate for Pro-Democracy Libertas UK in the European elections because she is a personal friend of mine.

Please confirm by fax by 12 noon today that you have published a clarification of any inaccuracies that may have arisen by reason of any broadcast or publication by yourselves."

The faxes are reproduced below:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reject Lisbon 2 next Friday

Seven days from now the fate of the Irish nation will have been determined. This generation will determine whether the independence won because of the sacrifice of the men and women of 1916 will have been but an interlude in Irish history, or whether 1916's vision of a small nation, cooperating with its European and international partners, will endure. Is Ireland to be returned to the colonial domination generations fought to end?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ganley returns to fight Lisbon 2

In a dramatic development, Declan Ganley has announced he is to campaign against Lisbon 2. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ganley argues that the second referendum not only insults the Irish people, but also the French and Dutch who rejected the controversial treaty’s predecessor, the EU Constitution: "It’s profoundly undemocratic to walk all over democracy. . . The Irish people had a vote on the Lisbon Treaty. They voted no. A higher percentage of the electorate voted no than voted for Barack Obama in the United States of America. No one’s suggesting he should run for re-election next month. But—hey, presto!—15 months later we’re being told to vote again on exactly the same treaty.” He taps the table for emphasis: “Not one comma has changed in the document". Asked for evidence the two treaties are the same, he again cites the architect of the EU Constitution, former President of the Convention on the Future of Europe Valery Giscard d’Estaing: "Well, first of all, the people who drafted the European Constitution say it is. Like [former French President Valéry] Giscard d’Estaing. He called it the same document in a different envelope. And having chaired the presidium that drafted the Constitution, he would know…He also said in respect of the Lisbon Treaty that public opinion would be led to adopt, without knowing it, policies that we would never dare to present to them directly. All of the earlier proposals for the new Constitution will be in the new text, the Lisbon Treaty, but will be hidden or disguised in some way. That’s what he said. And he’s absolutely right. There is no law that could be made under the European Constitution that cannot be made under the Lisbon Treaty. None".

Asked by the interviewer why should 1.5 million Irish voters get the opportunity to hold back the progress of 500 million citizens of Europe? Ganley argues that rather than thwarting the will of hundreds of millions of fellow Europeans, Ireland has a duty to them to uphold the results of those earlier votes. Approving the treaty would be a betrayal of those in France and the Netherlands—not to mention the millions of others who were never offered a vote on the Constitution or Lisbon. "Millions of people in France, a majority, voted No to this European Constitution. In the Netherlands, millions of people did exactly the same thing. When the Irish were asked the same question, they voted no also. Those three times that it was presented to an electorate, the people voted no…Why..when the French voted no, the Dutch voted no and the Irish voted no, are we still being force-fed the same formula? You don’t have to scratch your head and wonder about democracy in some intellectualized, distant way and wonder, is there some obscure threat to it". Inevitably, the discussion turned the economy. Was Ganley putting his country at risk by calling for a No vote? He responds that that the only people threatened by a no vote are: "these elites in Brussels, The only people we risk annoying are a bunch of unelected bureaucrats and what I call this tyranny of mediocrity that we have across Europe…the Irish have never been afraid throughout history of asking the tough questions and standing up for freedom and what was right against much, much bigger opponents. In fact, we seem to revel in it". With the no campaign derided in the press as an alliance of Far Left and Far Right, the re-emergence of Libertas as a force in the Lisbon potentially puts the middle-classes, which voted pro-Lisbon last time back in play for the no-camp, and will come as an unwelcome distraction in the wake of a large falloff in support in the latest TNS-MRBI Lisbon poll. The battle is joined, and the outcome is all to play for.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lisbon: Dismantling our immigration-controls

It's the elephant in the room that the elites do not want to discuss. While on the opposite side of the spectrum to Cóir on some moral issues, they are to be commended for bringing the immigration issue into the debate in terms of Lisbon's contribution to the race to the bottom through mass-immigration. It is unfortunate that the rest of the no campaign seem unwilling to do so. The elites won't discuss it in public, but I am firmly of the view that this has the potential to win this contest for the "no's". A string of prominent pro-Lisbon party TD's stated that immigration played a major role in the first no, and I believe it will in the second. So who is it connected to Lisbon? It is connected to Lisbon largely because of the provisions of the referendum-legislation, but also because of those of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Under Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht as amended by Amsterdam and Nice) as amended by the Lisbon Treaty, the provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights have "the same legal-value as the Treaties". Under the proposed Article 29.4.6 of the Irish Constitution., that means they will override the Irish Constitution. It states: "6° No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State, before, on or after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, that are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union referred to in subsection 5° of this section or of the European Atomic Energy Community, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures
adopted by—i the said European Union or the European Atomic Energy Community, or institutions thereof, ii the European Communities or European Union existing immediately before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, or institutions thereof, or iii bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this section,from having the force of law in the State." The usual retort to this argument from the pro-Lisbon side is to the effect that an overriding provision for EU legislation and decisions has existed since we joined the then EEC in 1973. While this is true, the context has entirely changed. For the first time, a massive codification of human-rights is coming under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. They - not the Irish Supreme Court - will decide what it means. As the competences of the EU have grown over the last 36 years, the Irish Constitution has become more and more undermined, because new policy areas are subjected to QMV (Qualified Majority Voting) on the Council of Ministers. That inevitably means an increase in the throughput of legislation/decisions from Brussels, which means more opportunities for the Irish Constitution to become null and void. Yet until Lisbon, the basic question of human rights has remained overwhelmingly a matter for the Irish Supreme Court to adjudicate upon. No more with Lisbon and the Charter, which will give the ECJ the final say on those issues. Specifically, Article 15.1 legalises work for asylum seekers, stating: "1. Everyone has the right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation.". The problem is that the UK has an optout Protocol from the Charter, meaning that Ireland and Malta would become the only English-speaking countries in the EU allowing asylum-seekers to work. Likewise, Article 19.1 of the Charter states that "1. Collective expulsions are prohibited". This will inevitably mean that Irish deportation-orders will be challenged in the ECJ, notably where they involve asylum-seekers who arrive in the country with children or have them while they are here. So in effect, if we vote yes, we are voting to create a new baby-tourism loophole for asylum, whereby asylum-seekers - as before the Citizenship Referendum in 2004 - have children here to prevent their deportations. With asylum costing the taxpayer €300 million per annum, and with the average judicial-review prolonging the asylum-appeals process by 21 months, this is the last thing the hard-pressed Irish taxpayer, social-welfare system, health-service, overcrowded schools and 420,000 unemployed need. We are effectively borrowing to pay for bogus asylum seekers as over 90% of asylum-seekers fail in their applications.

Besides the Charter, the Lisbon referendum's process of dismantling our immigration controls also feeds into the text of the constitutional amendment we are voting on next month. The 28th Amendment to the Constitution Bill 2009 contains the wording of the amendment we are being asked to insert into the Constitution. Paragraph 7, which will become Article 29.4.7. if we vote yes, states the following: "7° The State may exercise the options or discretions—i to which Article 20 of the Treaty on European Union relating to enhanced cooperation applies, ii under Protocol No. 19 on the Schengen acquis integrated into the framework of the European Union annexed to that treaty and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly known as the Treaty establishing the European Community), and iii under Protocol No. 21 on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice, so annexed, including the option that the said Protocol No. 21 shall, in whole or in part, cease to apply to the State, but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.". So Paragraph 7(ii) empowers the Government, with the consent of the Oireachtas (which is a given in any event) to take Ireland into the passport-free travel area known as the Schengen Area. This would abolish passport-checks on travellers into Ireland from the 25 countries party to the Schengen Agreement. Furthermore, Paragraph 7(iii) would allow the Government to abolish -the optout Protocol, present since the 1999 Amsterdam Treaty, that has allowed successive Irish governments to optin/out of common policies in the field of Justice and Home Affairs, including asylum and immigration, policing, and the powers of the pan-European police-body known as Europol. In that context, it was ironic some days ago listening to Fine Gael's deputy spokesman on European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, claim on RTE's Drivetime radio programme that Lisbon will help in the fight against people-trafficking. The reality is that by legalising employment for illegal-immigrants, the Treaty further incentivises people trafficking, by ensuring that the fatcats who are exploiting illegal migrant-labour can do so legally. Furthermore, the abolition of passport controls and document-checks for immigration into Ireland for travellers through the 25 country Schengen Area will inevitably cause a huge increase in the numbers trafficked into the country. It may be that Schengen membership - as well as opening the floodgates from that area - will force us to establish controls on the border with Northern Ireland. But if one door is to be closed somewhat, it is certain that the establishment of what amounts to a Common Travel Area with 25 other countries will more than cancel out any gains in the fight against people-trafficking consequent on joining Schengen. The reality is that Lisbon is part of the race to the bottom by the rich and powerful elites against the Irish working man and woman. The agenda is clear: to legalise illegal immigrant labour and to make it easier to traffick them into Ireland. That is what Lisbon is about, and is another important reason to vote No on October 2nd.

Friday, August 14, 2009

We must stop the Lisbon Treaty.

Lisbon 2 and the the fall of the Republic once more threaten. Art is imitating life, but it is a grotesque constitutional form of modern art, devoid of inspiration, and in that respect rather akin to the "light goes on - the light goes off" school of artistic mediocrity. We are once more being forced to choose what we are told is the least worst option, which, according to the elites, is the Lisbon Treaty. Maybe we are about to choose the least worst option. But that is a no vote - rather than a vote to consign the Republic and the freedom so many sacrificed their lives for - to history. The Republic is in danger. Now as never before since 1921 has the call of the patriot dead for its defence rang so loudly in the ears of the Irish people. Freedom is under siege from powerful elites, determined to foist their will upon unwilling nations such as the French and Dutch (who rejected the EU Constitution), and many others who would - had they been offered the opportunity to decide by direct popular vote - have joined the former in throwing out this Treaty. The recent Bastille Day celebrations in Paris are a stirring reminder of what is at stake. The Louis's and Antoinettes of Brussels are determined to imposed unelective government of 27 countries through the Lisbon Treaty project. For the first time in EU history, a document whose provisions have essentially been rejected by 3 nations in referenda is being foisted on 2 of them by elected parliamentarians. And so it is that just as Ireland saved civilisation in the Dark Ages through the spread of learning by our scholars who travelled Europe, so too are we now called to save democracy in Europe through the defiance - as in the past - of powerful, unelected and even elected elites, for some of whom taking the EU shilling is an acceptable inducement for the abandonment of the principles on which this Republic was founded - the principle of national self-determination. The men and women of 1916 would turn in their graves to see such an unholy alliance between the forces of politics, the media, leaders of business-organisations and unions who largely refuse to ballot their own members, no doubt fearful they would not give "the right answer". Is this democracy - the notion that government should be 'of the people, for the people, by the people"? Because it sure doesn't feel like it from where I'm standing.

What is especially frustrating about the Lisbon debate, from the perspective of all true democrats, is the dismissive, condescending and arrogant tone adopted by the elites towards the people who voted no. We are being blamed by them for the recession that they were largely responsible for landing us in. When a Government resorts to such subliminable messages, it has truly ceased to represent the people and instead substituted representation of outside elites, many of them themselves without a mandate, and based outside this country. The Government gives the impression of representing not Ireland in Europe - but Europe in Ireland. But have no illusions as to the kind of "Europe" they are defending. It is not the people of Europe, who do not want this Treaty, which is why Ireland was the sole country to have a referendum on Lisbon, though the French and Dutch peoples rejected the 95% identical EU Constitution. No. The 'Europe' the elites defend is one of vested-interests, including Dickensian employers in search of cheap-labour (as was shown by the aftermath of Nice and EU Enlargement, when assurances on immigration by figures such as Dick Roche, Willie O'Dea and Proinsias de Rossa were proven wildly inaccurate). In an interview with the Irish Catholic at Government Buildings in 2002, Roche stated: "It is the view of the Irish government and a number of other governments that this idea that there is going to be a huge influx of immigrants is just not supported. The evidence is just not there for it. They are not going to flood to the west. The same rules are going to apply in all 15 states. There is no evidence to suggest that the people of the Czech Republic or Poland are less anxious to stay in their home as we are." In a letter to the Irish Times on 20th August 2002, Proinsias de Rossa claimed that a "trickle" would come: "It is a deliberate misrepresentation to suggest that tens of thousands will suddenly descend en masse on Ireland...The expected trickle of immigration to Ireland will on balance benefit the Irish economy...I estimate that fewer than 2,000 will choose our distant shores each year""Bizarrely, some of the elites now try not merely to deny the future as before, but seemingly to deny the present as well. That is apparent from Brian Crowley MEP's contention that Lisbon will aid the fight against drug-trafficking. He obviously is not aware of the proposed Article 29.4.7. of the Irish Constitution as amended by the 28th Amendment to the Constitution Bill 2009, if we vote no. Article 7 would empower the Government, with the support of the Oireachtas, to take Ireland into the Schengen Area, which would abolish passport-controls on immigration into Ireland from this 25 country group. It would also permit the Government, with the consent of the Oireachtas, to abolish the Protocol that allows the Irish Government to optin/out on an ad hoc basis to common policies in the field of Justice and Home Affairs, including asylum and immigration, policing, border controls, the powers of Europol/Eurojust and of the European Public Prosecutor (an office Lisbon allows the European Council to establish by unanimity). It states: "7° The State may exercise the options or discretions— i to which Article 20 of the Treaty on European Union relating to enhanced cooperation applies, ii under Protocol No. 19 on the Schengen acquis integrated into the framework of the European Union annexed to that treaty and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly known as the Treaty establishing the European Community), and iii under Protocol No. 21 on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice, so annexed, including the option that the said Protocol No. 21 shall, in whole or in part, cease to apply to the State,but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas." .But the relationship between people-trafficking and Lisbon goes beyond this. Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union as amended by Lisbon states that the Charter of Fundamental Rights shall have "the same legal value as the Treaties". The relevance to immigration and asylum is found most directly in Articles 17/18/19 of the Charter, but there are also implied implications in Articles related to the right to work (Article 15), health, education etc. Article 18 states:"The right to asylum shall be guaranteed with due respect for the rules of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the status of refugees and in accordance with the Treaty establishing the European Community.". Article 19(1) states: "1. Collective expulsions are prohibited.", while Article 15 states "Everyone has the right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation.". The State, in the midst of a fiscal crisis with a deficit of €21 billion, could find itself hauled before the ECJ and forced to subsidise free healthcare and education for illegal-immigrants, on the basis of the Charter's absolute prohibition on "discrimination" on grounds of nationality. While opposed to racism, I think we need to get real on this question. Nation states have always discriminated on grounds of nationality to some degree, by virtue of restrictions on non-citizens with respect, for example, to voting rights, access to the labour-market and social-welfare. Were it not the case, nation states - especially in Big Government countries in the EU - would rapidly become bankrupt. So the last thing Ireland needs is Big Brother telling us what to do in the fields of asylum and immigration in general, and in terms of entitlements for illegal immigrants in particular. Yet that is where the road to Lisbon takes us. And if the Chen (2004) and Metock (2008) cases are anything to go by, there are no prizes for guessing the likely outcome of such challenges to Irish law in this area on the basis of the Charter. With Chen in 2004, the ECJ required EU member states to grant rights to the mother accuring from the EU citizenship of a Chinese mother whose child had been born in NI (on the basis of advice for her own solicitor). The Metock case in August 2008 struck down Irish law in the area of marriages-of-convenience. Prior to this ruling, Irish law had denied automatic residency to non-EU spouses without prior residency in another EU member state. In this respect, Ireland was supported by other member states, including the UK and Germany, but the ECJ had other ideas, with respect to a highly questionable interpretation on the latter's part of the Freedom of Movement Directive, which calls into question what we are told as to the certainty of the pro-Lisbon camp with respect to future interpretations of the Charter by the ECJ in this area. The ECJ is an activist court, and has been exposed as such by its own hand, and those of critics such as former German President Roman Herzog. Herzog recently produced a paper outlining the phenomenon of "competence creep" by the ECJ, referring in particular to the Mangold case in which a German law intended to assist those aged 58 and over to find work was struck down as discriminatory by the ECJ. This was in spite of the fact that the deadline for the implementation of the relevant EU directive cited by the court had not yet been reached. In the ruling, the ECJ included in the basis for its ruling what it called "constitutional traditions common to member states". Yet the Herzog paper demonstrates that such traditions do not exist in all member states. So this is not a court that can be trusted to confine itself to the letter of the law when interpreting the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

German court in blow to Lisbon

The German Constitutional Court has ruled that ratification of the Lisbon Treaty must cease pending additional legislation to strengthen the role of the national parliament in EU decisionmaking. The treaty's compatibility with the German Constitution was challenged by Conservative lawmaker Peter Gauweiller of the Christian Social Union, Bavaria's ruling party (and sister party to Mrs Merkel's CDU). It was also challenged by members of Die Linke, the far left party that evolved from the former East German Communist Party. Among the objections was the claim that provisions of the treaty meant the German Parliament could be bypassed by the German government, which could then collaborate with other governments to use powers without being subject of national parliamentary control or consent Other objections included the claim that the Lisbon Treaty gives the EU the form of a federal government without democratic control, and that its common foreign and security policy would lead to the militarisation of German foreign policy. The Court rejected these arguments. It found the Lisbon Treaty was in conformity with the German Constitution, and that the act of parliament ratifying the treaty was also constitutional. The problem that caused the court to pause the German ratification process is in the accompanying legislation on the role of the German parliament in EU decision making. 'The Act extending and strengthening the rights of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat in European Union matters' was found to be unconstitutional because it does not give the two chambers of parliament enough say on EU affairs. Specifically the problem lies with the procedures the Lisbon Treaty proposes for making changes to the EU treaties in the future. Lisbon has what is known as the 'general bridging clause' which allows the European Council to decide, unanimously, to move a competence from unanimity to Qualified Majority Voting. While all national parliaments most get six months notice of an intention to make such a change, and any one of them can veto the move, Germany's constitutional court said this was an insufficient role for the parliament. It insists that Germany's parliament must legislate to enable the German government to agree to this. A similar legislative safeguard is required for the 'Flexibility Clause', where EU leaders can (acting unanimously, and with the prior consent of the European Parliament) give themselves power to attain one of the objectives of the EU as set out in the treaties, but where the treaties themselves have not provided the necessary powers. National parliaments must be notified by the Commission. But Germany's court ruling goes further, insisting that the Federal parliament must pass an act giving consent to the German government. The court also listed some other areas where the parliament's role has to be defined in law before Lisbon can be ratified - notably in the fields of criminal law and the definition of cross border crimes (an extension of the list will now require a German act of parliament), the so called 'emergency brake' procedure in Judicial co-operation, which the court says requires parliamentary approval before use.The ruling underlines "no" campaign concerns about the impact of the Treaty on the democratic-deficit in the European Union, not least with respect to the role (or lack of it) of national parliaments. Lisbon will allow the Government to further erode the national-veto and to do so without the consent of the Irish people in a referendum. Article 48 of the Treaty on the European Union as amended by Lisbon allows for a "simplified revision process", whereby the text of the Treaties can be amended by the Council of the European Union (heads of government) without recourse to national parliaments or electorates. And while the Protocol on the Role of National Parliaments does afford them 8 weeks notice of new legislation initiated by the European Commission, they are not empowered from obstruct EU legislation itself.

The ruling comes amidst growing controversy over the status of the 'legal guarantees' offered to Ireland to help the Government win a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. UK Europe Minister Baroness Kinnock (wife of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock) has told the House of Lords that they will not have the force of EU law until added as a Protocol to a future Accession Treaty. She said: "Those guarantees do not change the Lisbon treaty; the European Council conclusions are very clear on them. The Lisbon treaty, as debated and decided by our Parliament, will not be changed and, on the basis of these guarantees, Ireland will proceed to have a second referendum in October." She added: "Nothing in the treaty will change and nothing in the guarantees will change the treaty as your Lordships agreed it....My Lords, what we have in the guarantees will become binding in international law when the guarantees are translated into a protocol at the time of the next accession, which presumably will be when Croatia or Iceland comes in. Before that protocol can be ratified by the UK, Parliament must pass a Bill. As I said, Parliament will rightly have the final say." But Foreign Secretary David Milliband appeared to contradict her during questions at the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee yesterday, stating: "Every head of state agrees that these guarantees do not change the Treaty...the guarantees are legally-binding in international law... It does not require ratification in order to have legal affect." This lead the Chairman of the Committee to ask, "If this is a legally-binding decision and doesn't need ratification, why does it need to be put in a protocol?" He asked, "Is it a stitch-up to get around Irish peoples' concerns? I can see why people would be suspicious." To confuse things further, Liberal Democrat MEP and self-described "militant federalist" Andrew Duff has claimed that an Irish Protocol appended to an Accession Treaty would be challenged in the courts as it would violate EU law, saying: "Adding this protocol to the Croatian accession treaty would leave the treaty wide open to attack in the courts...".According to the Irish Times, "he added that rules in the EU treaties governing accession treaties only allow issues pertaining to a state's accession to be dealt with." Clearly, the credibility of the Government's 'guarantee's is not something they can take for granted. I, for one, am far from convinced of their veracity.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Brussels resisting Irish guarantees

EU foreign ministers are resisting providing the legal guarantees being sought by the Irish government on the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish government is keen that the 'assurances' in the areas of taxation, neutrality and social affairs be attached as protocols to the next available treaty (possibly Croatia's accession treaty) and then ratified by all member states, enshrining the guarantees into European law. But member states – such as the UK and the Czech Republic – fear this could reopen their respective national debates on the Lisbon Treaty. They are instead pushing for a legal declaration from EU leaders at a European Council later this week (18-19 June). Czech European Affairs Minister Stefan Fule said on Monday that the "legal form" of the assurances required further discussion in order to: "ensure a smooth passage for the required guarantees during the European council,", adding: "Very good progress has been made and we are well on track to reach agreement at this week's European Council," he said. "Reaching consensus this week is important not only for Ireland but for the whole of Europe." Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin claimed the response to the draft texts "has been very positive so far" and that he was "quietly confident" that Ireland would secure the legally binding guarantees it was seeking. The Irish government is eager to return from this week's meeting of EU leaders with enough to convince Irish voters to back the treaty in a second referendum likely to take place in September or October. The Government wants to have them added to the next treaty following Lisbon in response to critics who said they could otherwise be superseded by the European Court of Justice. On RTE's Questions and Answers last Monday, constitutional-law expert Paul Anthony McDermott warned: "It's not clear they have any legal status...They are mumbo-jumbo. These legal guarantees - they're meaningless. The rest of Europe will sign up to anything if it gets them off the hook on Europe. But if you were ever to go to a court in Europe and try to rely on one of these pieces of paper you would be told "what article of the Treaty are you suing on and the answer would be I'm not suing on the Treaty, I'm suing on a piece of paper Ireland passed around the Council of Ministers and everyone signed up to it" so I'm certainly not a big fan of having another referendum.".
Amidst the gloating of the Lisbon-elites as to the fate of some anti-Lisbon candidates in the Irish euro elections lies a simply truth: this election was not fought on European issues, but on national ones. It also cannot be separated from the broader European context. For to do so, would represent hypocrisy on the part of those on the other side who sought to demonise Libertas on the basis of controversial comments on issues ranging from torture, to false accusations of anti-semitism and neo-Nazism with respect to its candidates in other EU countries. The Irish elite are trying to portray the defeat of Libertas across Europe as a humiliating defeat and a victory for the pro-Lisbon cause. Yet it is not so simple. Traditionally, the constitutional-architecture of the European Union has demanded unanimous treaty-ratification by the member states. It is abundantly clear from these elections in the 27 member states that where Lisbon is concerned, such a mandate does not exist - at least at popular level. The most glaring example of this can be found in the UK elections, where Labour - pushing through the deeply unpopular Lisbon Treaty without a referendum in the teeth of opposition from their own Eurosceptic population - was pushed to a humilating fourth-place behind the Tories, Liberal Democrats and even the UK Independence party. On 15.7% of the vote, they are now weaker than they have been since the 19th century. Were the results replicated in a General Election, the BBC estimates the Tories would return to power after 12 years with a majority of 28. The size of that majority should evoke memories of the last Tory govt, which was constantly at the mercy of its Eurosceptic backbenchers, particularly after the strong leadership contest in the party by John Redwood in 1995. In any case, party leader David Cameron is, if anything, far more of a Eurosceptic than his predecessor, promising - if Lisbon has not yet come into force across Europe - to withdraw the articles of ratification from Vienna and put the Treaty to a referendum that would certainly end in the rejection of the Treaty. And the Irish have allies further afield too. The Treaty remains under consideration by the German Constitutional Court, and further challenges are pending in the Czech Constitutional Court by Senators opposed to it. The Czech and Polish Presidents themselves continue to refusal to put their signature to it unless and until the Irish first vote no. And even then, it is far from clear that President Klaus will sign it. He is not obliged to by the Czech Constitution. Some in the leftist Opposition and a former Green minister in the deposed Coalition government have called for Klaus to be impeached, but the Constitution is clear on this: the Constitutional Court would make the final decision, and it appears that short of being incapacitated or having committed and act of treason, the President will remain in Prague Castle for the remainder of his four year term. It seems probable then, that if the Irish people and Klaus hold out until the next UK General Election, the Lisbon Treaty will be consigned to the dustbin of European history where it belongs. In that context, it is imperative that we stand our ground, that (in Lincoln's words) "government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth".

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ganley surges in final days - Red C poll

Reports reached us last night that the Sunday Business Post's regional breakdowns of tomorrow's Red C election poll would not be released, but that their findings would show a surge for anti-Lisbon candidates Declan Ganley (Libertas) and Toireasa Ferris (SF). According to the source, on, the newspaper would acknowledge a swing to Ganley: "but won't give the numbers, but I'm told 16% with a massive MOE of about 6% because of the sample size. Ganley's own people have been trying to push some internal research showing him on 23% and heading the poll with massive support in Galway, but no newsdesk has bitten yet because nobody (me included) thinks its credible. Mind you, the SBP figures make it just a little bit more possible". Meanwhile, in South, a compelling three-way contest is brewing between sitting anti-Lisbon Independent and disability-rights campaigner Kathy Sinnott, Labour's Senator Alan Kelly, and the dark horse who came from nowhere - Sinn Féin Mayor of Kerry Toireasa Ferris. However, the claims also raise ethical questions as to whether or not the newspaper, which - as a major player in the Irish newspaper-industry - owes it to its readership and the electorate to release the regional-breakdowns in full. This angle is alluded to by the source, who references the fact that when Ganley was on 5% in Northwest in the previous Red C poll, this was published by the newspaper. From my own personal perspective I believe they should publish, or have their impartiality called into question. While by no means the most serious offender, I am of the view that on balance, the Business Post has tended towards support for the Lisbon Treaty and by extension, the pro-Lisbon cause - a matter obviously relevant to these elections. As the only member state holding a referendum on the controversial Treaty (which as the EU Constitution was rejected by France and the Netherlands), the outcome of these elections will set the stage for the Autumn referendum in Ireland, and play a role in influencing the credibility of either side in the campaign. In that context, and in view of the enormous implications for Irish sovereignty of a decision to ratify or otherwise, I therefore call on the Business Post to release - as it has done in the past - the regional-breakdowns of tomorrow's Red C poll on the euro-elections.

Asked how the Business Post will portray the swing to Ganley, he adds they will "sit on the fence. He'll want to be able to say that the SBP picked up the swing if Ganley wins, but won't want to be seen as giving Ganley too much momentum", adding they are "writing a piece on Ganley's position on neutrality also, which I imagine won't be pleasant for Libertas supporters. Then again, all papers have discredited themselves on Ganley to the extent that I don't think smears work any more". I was concerned by this, in particular the question of whether the publication had a political-motivation in concealing its hard-data on Ganley's performance in Northwest. However, the source adds "they have picked up what some are calling a "big swing" to Ganley in the North West, with him picking up about 10% on where he was previously. Most party sources believe Ganley is on about 16% and rising and the RED C poll seems to confirm this. The key for Ganley will be momentum in the final week - if he can finish in the top 3 with 17-18% most observers agree that he will be safe enough. However, the Irish Times poll showing him stalling cannot be discounted, and we will have to wait and see on this one. In South, I'm told the increase in the Ferris vote makes up for much of the overall 3% national swing to Sinn Fein, and that she has moved into the "top tier" of candidates alongside Sinnott and Kelly. This is good news for Sinnott if she can stay ahead of Ferris, and curtains for Kelly as it is generally assumed that Ferris will benefit Sinnott when she goes out. As for Eoin Ryan in Dublin,"Fianna Failers are now certain that Ryan is a gonner. As in dead and buried. They are also worried about East, and feel that polls in NW are vastly overstating their vote. I know one FFstaffer who has put €500 on the party returning ony one MEP. Still too early to say, but Euro polls are notoriously unreliable. In NW, the relentless attacks on Ganley should be seen as a real indicator of how worried the parties are about him. Notice how none of them have attacked McLochlainn - they don't fear him, but they do think Ganley is a threat for a seat".

These expectations seem borne out by the actual results of the poll, which - as predicted - did not include the usual regional breakdown. For the Euro elections, the results are:
FF: 20%,FG: 34%, Labour: 14%, SF: 9%, Greens: 4%, Libertas: 4% and Independents 15%. Without such a breakdown, all we have to go on is commentary by Richard Colwell (Red C) and Pat Leahy - and I have no beef with either of them. But it means we have to take their word for it when it comes to the likely apportionment of seats, which Colwell does as follows: "Liam Aylward is still in with a fighting chance for the third seat in the East constituency…Libertas support does appear to be on an upward trend…Almost all of this support is for the party’s founder, Declan Ganley, who, based on the poll’s constituency-figures, could yet be in with a shout to take a seat in the North West. This is a significant gain in two weeks and means he is a real threat to Gallagher, O’Reilly and Independent Marian Harkin…Harkin does remain in the running for a seat in the North West constituency, but could suffer at the hands of Libertas.". The national poll, in showing Libertas support at 4%, needs to be seen in the context of them only contesting three constituencies (Dublin, East and Northwest), but the fact that Ganley - written off for months by a hostile media in a manner familiar to the PDs for their 27 years on this earth - now stands on the threshold of ousting Harkin or sending Pat the Cope back to Leinster House despite an existence of barely six months must rank as a considerable acheivement and - on the context of these recessionary - even depressionary times - not an untimely one. Indeed even Jamie Smyth on the Irish Times blog, not exactly known as a friend of Libertas or the no campaign, is gracious enough to acknowledge than a successful election for the party cannot be ruled out, and that: "I think it is too early for yes campaigners to start counting their chickens ahead of the October vote. For one thing the economy is in such a bad state and sentiment towards the government is so poor that a Lisbon II referendum could become a referendum on the government. In other words, people may vote no to Lisbon simply to force Brian Cowen to stand down and prompt an election and a change of government.". We disagree of course, of the reasons for the no vote, but it is nonetheless comforting that the general nastiness of this election cycle can at times be rendered civilised and devoid of the kind of arrogance the Irish people have had to endure from our political, intellectual and media-elites since voting "the wrong way" last year. It is a trait others, like Europe Minister Dick Roche, might do well to learn.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stop the blasphemy ban

Alarmingly for those of us who value Western freedoms including speech, the Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, has revealed his intention to make "blasphemous libel" a crime, punishable by a fine of €100,000. From the Irish Times:"Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, stating: “A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.” “Blasphemous matter” is defined as matter “that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.” Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court may issue a warrant authorising the Garda Síochána to enter, if necessary using reasonable force, a premises where the member of the force has reasonable grounds for believing there are copies of the blasphemous statements in order to seize them.What is interesting so far is the relative silence of the Left on the fundamental question of there being a blasphemy-ban. Even Labour Justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte, who wants the fine reduced to €1,000, and to exempt from the definition of blasphemy: "any matter that had any literary, artistic, social or academic merit." does not appear to call into question the wisdom of introducing such an offence into law in the first place.

It has to be asked where the impetus for this legislation is coming from. Is it from the Catholic Right, which has been fighting a losing battle for political-influence since 1992 (when the Irish people voted to legalise travel and information related to abortion), including the defeat of the 2002 Abortion-referendum, or is it from what the Left like to call "the new communities" i.e. particularly foreign-nationals of the Islamic faith in particular? In that respect, we would do well to bear in mind research across Europe on the attitudes of Muslim communities to questions pertaining to traditional Western freedoms, notably freedom of the press and of speech - and in particular, the question of blasphemy. With respect to British Muslims, an ICM opinion poll in 2006 revealed an astonishing 40% of them want Islamic Sharia law to be introduced in Muslim parts of the country. In relation to the Danish cartoons: The full figures on ICM’s website reveal some interesting bits and pieces that weren’t reported in the Sunday Telegraph. British Muslims surveyed by ICM were almost unaminous (97%) in thinking that the publication of the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed was wrong, 77% said they personally were very offended by the cartoons, 9% said they were a little offended and 11% said they were not offended. Moreover: "Regarding reactions to the cartoons, 14% of British Muslims thought it was right for protesters in Muslim countries to attack Danish embassies and 12% thought it was right for “demonstrators to carry placards calling for the killing of those who insult Islam”. 13% said it was right “to exercise violence against those who are deemed by religious leaders to have insulted them”. The Left were at the forefront of dismantling decades of theocracy in this State, notably in the struggle against the bans on divorce and homosexuality. It would surely be ironic then, if in the name of Political-Correctness and a wish to appeal to a minority of newcomers to our shores, they were to take a step backwards from Enlightenment ideals of Western freedom in order to get us to a place at least as bad as where we started in the first place. All true liberals and democrats should oppose this bill, and make their views on it known to the powers that be - particularly on the Green benches in Leinster House. They forced Fianna Fáil's hand on the by-elections - maybe they can do the same with the Defamation Bill. For the email addresses of your TDs. see here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pamela Izevbekhai an asylum cheat - Mirror

Today the Independent and the Mirror are owed a profound debt of gratitude on behalf of the Irish people for their successful expositions of the deceitful way in which Pamela Izevbekhai has sought to remain in Ireland under false pretences. According to Tom Brady, Security Correspondent of the Irish Independent, a Garda Investigation into the Nigerian asylum-seeker who is facing deportation has uncovered evidence she used forged documentation to back up claims that her first child died after being subjected to female genital mutilation. Discrepancies in the case presented by Pamela Izevbekhai to the High Court and Supreme Court in Dublin and to the European Court of Human Rights have been uncovered, including revelations that she personally solicited a doctor to forge a death-certificate for her fictional daughter, 'Elizabeth Izevbekhai'. While Dr Joseph Unokanjo states that he refused the request, he does nonetheless reveal that the supposed death-certificate, "a document, allegedly signed by him, as a forgery. He also rejected Mrs Izevbekhai's claim that she gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, in February 1993 and that the girl died on July 16, 1994, following female genital mutilation. The findings represent a potentially serious blow to the prospects of Mrs Izevbekhai overturning a Supreme Court decision supporting her deportation in her appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. In an affidavit lodged with the European Court in Strasbourg, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Joseph Unokanjo, who practises at Isioma Hospital, in Lagos, says he can confirm that no baby called Elizabeth Izevbekhai was delivered by him at the hospital and no baby of that name has ever been treated by him for any ailment, including post-circumcision complications. Gardai were also told there is no evidence of Elizabeth's death at the registry of deaths in Lagos, although a death certificate was presented to the Irish courts on behalf of Mrs Izevbekhai. Dr Unokanjo says he did not sign an affidavit purported to have been sworn by him on March 9, 2006, and did not issue a certificate of cause of death, which purported to come from Isioma hospital on July 17, 1994. Confirming the signatures are not his, he also says he is incorrectly described on that affidavit as a surgeon, and that the hospital stamp and hospital address are false. He emphasises the purported affidavit was not made by him and says he believes it is a forgery". In a further damning revelation in this shocking case, he "recalled that Pamela Enitan Izevbekhai telephoned him some years ago requesting him to issue a death certificate in respect of a dead child to enable her to be given asylum in the Republic of Ireland". He told her he did not involve himself in such activities, particularly since he was aware that she neither had a baby before 1999, and nor had she lost a baby. Dr Unokanjo also states the alleged medical certificate of the 'cause of death' is a forgery".

Now I know we have all come to expect gullibility of the most incredible kind from the Leinster House liberals since the onset of large-scale illegal-immigration to this Republic sicne the mid-1990's. In apparent amnesia of their primary responsibility to the people to whom they owe their political-careers in elective office, the Leinster House set have seen fit at almost every opportunity (save the Citizenship referendum regarding former Justice Minister McDowell and a small number of other select cases that are two few to mention) - even now in the face of the rapid collapse of our economy - to support and believe - or at least pretend to believe - the excuses and half-truths of those who wish to abuse our asylum-system for a purpose it was never purported to be designed to serve - namely economic-migration. For I am not opposed to legal economic-migration to this country - quite the contrary. While I have often held that - in the context of a recession, aswell as the necessity for the country to experience a reasonable lead-in time to learn the lessons, and avoid repeating the mistakes of France, Britain and the Netherlands with respect to integrating their new arrivals from overseas - we need to move from a policy of open-borders to a policy of regulation and control of immigration - I have always held firm to the belief that it is morally and politically wrong to scapegoat migrants as a whole for what is - at the end of the day - a failure by the political-class to adequately reconcile the economic and social needs of this country with humanitarian and cultural imperatives including the absorption-capacity of a small country like ourselves when determining immigration and asylum-policy. But that is not the same as not holding to account those who are in clear abuse of the principles upon which international law in the area of asylum, including the 1952 Refugee Convention, is supposed to be based. If indeed it is true - as it seems very much to be - that Pamela Izevbekha has sank so low in terms of morality as to concoct a work of fiction involving a nonexistent daughter who died of FGM, in order to emotionally blackmail the Irish State, to the detriment of the Irish taxpayer that is forced to oppose her application in the courts, into allowing her leave to remain in this country, then she should not only be ashamed, but so too should those who so typically condemned all those who saw through her. In particular I would like to single out for criticism figures such as Labour Lord Mayor of Sligo Veronica Cawley, who organised a civil-reception in her honour, as well as Fine Gael figures such as John Perry TD, who were amongst those calling for her to be allowed leave to remain in the State. Those politicians who have chosen to identify themselves with her case have now been shown to have egg on their faces. The Hard Left will probably stand by her. For them, the issue is an ideological one, rather than a case governed by merits or particular circumstance - they just want open-borders fullstop. I suppose it would be too much to ask Senator David Norris to see reason on this matter and admit the error of his ways in rubbishing correspondance he claimed to have received casting doubt on her story of how she arrived in Ireland. But one can always hope. She has outstayed her welcome in our country, and betrayed the noble cause of fighting the scourge of FGM in our world. She has also seen fit to manipulate the emotions of the Irish people, many of whom flocked to her cause when it seemed to them to be based on a mother's love for her children and a desire to protect them from a real and present danger - a danger now proven to be nothing but an illusion. This is a wakeup call for the Leinster House liberals. It is now time, in these recessionary times, for them to be true to the old maxim that charity begins at home. No more €1 million cases spent in legal guerilla-war in our courts challenging manifestly bogus asylum-claims. It's time to spend the money where it's really needed and deserved - on helping the old, the sick and the vulnerable, including the few genuine asylum-seekers resident in this State. 100,000 people have lost their jobs since the start of 2008, with up to half a million expected to be on the Live Register by Christmas. In the context of a €20 billion deficit, economies must be made and priorities imposed. Manifestly-unfounded asylum cases should not be among them.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Crack down on work-permits - O'Flynn

It's about time too. Cork North-central Fianna Fáil TD Noel O'Flynn has called for a crackdown on the issuing of non-EEA work-permits to migrant workers. The call will surely provoke much hand-wringing from the so-called 'anti-racism industry' (which exists to exaggerate the extent of racism in the country in order to silence debate on immigration-controls), which arguably includes the great majority of the folks in Leinster House. But it merits a more enlightened, considered and intelligent response, reflective of the changed times in which we find ourselves. Taoiseach Cowen and prospective-Taoiseach Kenny would do well to recognise that with the Celtic Tiger well and truly buried, the cupboard is bare and the capacity of the State to absorb immigration-flows on the scale we have seen since 2004 in particular is not what it was. With unemployment at 9.2%, it is no longer tenable for politicians to cite labour-shortages to justify the open-door policy. They will argue that in the context of the EU membership of ourselves as the former Accession-States in Eastern Europe, the State is powerless to affect limitations on the numbers allowed to travel here - and that is true. But such constraints do not govern the non-EEA work-permit and student-visa system, which the Government continues - on the basis of official statistics related to the number of PPS no's issued - to hand out like there is no tomorrow. Government figures show that 33,200 people from the Accession stateswere granted PPS numbers between July and December, a decline of 47 per cent on the same period in 2007. Specifically, in the last six months of 2008, the numbers issued to Poles declined by 53 per cent. Despite fewer Poles registered in December than in any month since their country joined the EU they remain the largest national group on the list compiled by the Department of Social and Family Affairs, with 42,554 having been allocated PPS numbers that year, followed by British (12,285), French (7,066) and Lithuanian (6,443) applicants. I suppose it's easy to be generous with other people's jobs. Already in 2009, in the midst of our worst recession since the 1980's, the issuing of PPS numbers remains high. Of the 17,532 issued in January alone, 8,499 were to foreign nationals. Broken down by nationality, 2,821 were issued to nationals of the former Accession-states, After all, noone on the hallowed halls of Leinster House, on either side of the chamber, faces a realistic prospect of displacement with cheap-labour by the remorseless hands of Dickensian employers - do they?

The high-priests of multiculturalism need to be challenged in the context of mature debate on the merits and demerits of this ideology. Too often the elite has uniformly balked at any suggestion that anything other than a liberal, open-door model combining the encouragement by the State of mass-immigration and an ideology that places all cultures on an equal footing should be questioned. In that respect, the stance of 'Official Ireland' is at variance with European trends. The nominally Socialist government of Spain has introduced subsidised voluntary-repatriation. The Italian government is led by a man who has rightly castigated the failings of multiculturalism, and whose Coalition includes the more hardline Northern League of Umberto Bossi. In the recent Austrian General Election, 2 Far-Right parties, the Freedom Party and the Alliance for Austria's Future, repeated their success of 2000 with a combined 29% share of the popular-vote, forcing the Socialists and the conservative Peoples Party into Coalition. In 2007, President Sarkozy of France won at least half of the former Le Pen vote on a platform of tighter immigration-controls, 'integration' of immigrants and opposition of Turkey to the European Union - all positions I would argue are popular with the Irish people but seemingly opposed by the Irish political and intellectual elites. Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against any law-abiding member of any ethnolinguistic group. But I insist that the Western freedoms for which generations of Irish and Europeans have given their lives be maintained, and that newcomers who come to our shores accept that this be so. Assimilation - not multiculturalism - is the way forward in terms of integrating immigrants with host-societies. We have the misfortune in Ireland of continuing to be governed by a postwar political and intellectual generation that sets its face against the reality that we have learned since 911 in general but since the world recession in particular. Now is a time when Irish and western workers are finding themselves forced to choose between competing with cheap-labour at home or emigrating abroad. This is not the fault of the immigrants. As far as I am concerned both the Irish and the foreign-nationals are victims of ill-thoughtout social-engineering by a condescending, PC and largely leftist elite. The French, British, Dutch and Spanish peoples have had a longer lead-time than us with which to experiment with the multicultural-model, and it has damaged both themselves and the newcomers by eroding a sense of cohesion and common-focus. By insisting that the State remain culturally-neutral and that the host-society make concessions to new cultures and regard them as equally valid as the host-culture, the proponents of the ideology have unwittingly or otherwise created fertile ground for Islamic-radicalism. I still recoil in horror at the memory of the "Behead Blair" demos in the UK. If you accept the principle of absolute cultural-equality (which is separate from the equality of the person - something I distinguish from "culture" which is defined a way of life), then you are - whether you like it or not - condoning the spread of Islamic radicalism. According to the British media, 4,000 British-born Muslims were trained in Al Qaida camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In particular, concerns have been raised about the proliferation of schools called madrassas in Pakistan, which historically were supported by that country's intelligence-services (ISI) to provide a fertile ground for recruitment for the Taliban and Al Qaida - something that began during the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980's. Then as now (though in a very different context), the West made a fools-bargain with radical-Islam, in the name of defeating an abhorrent ideology. Communism was defeated but what was spawned in its place? The Afghan people were sentenced to 12 years of civil-war and tyrannical Taliban-rule, setting up a chain of events that would one day lead to the terror-attacks on the West in New York, Washington, Madrid, London and against largely Australian tourists in Bali, Indonesia. The ideology our elite claim to be fighting is "racism". A noble aim, surely. But the political-class in Ireland have gone into overkill, demonising any and all calls for tighter controls on Muslim immigration in the supposed aim of 'anti-racism'. In particular, note the hysterical and disgraceful villification visited on Leo Varadkar - largely by Labour but also by Fianna Fáil figures such as Minister Mary Hanafin - some months ago for calling for calling for subsidised voluntary-repatriation for migrants. That an Irishman of mixed-race origins could be accused of making racist comments is the height of nonsense - even in a political-class so hopelessly engrossed in PC-thinking as this one.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New smear campaign against Libertas.

I said this was coming, and it has. Having failed to impune the integrity of Libertas-founder Declan Ganley, the Irish Times are now engaged in efforts at guilt-by-association. In that respect they are at one with the sleazy attempts by RTE - funded by you and me as license-payers - to do likewise - but this time they are casting their nets wider, to the Czech Republic where the Irish Times attempts to throw mud by linking the Irish Libertas by association with its Czech counterpart. Some will question the wisdom of going under a common umbrella which was always going to open a Pandora's box in terms of guilt-by-association on behalf of the Grand Inquisitors of the Irish Times and other malignant organs of the "yes" campaign, but the public know that Fianna Fáil are in no position to lecture others on ethics, not least considering the fallout from 11 years of the Mahon and Moriarty tribunals and the pending trial of a well-known party-figure for bribery (which to his credit he has come clean - you know who I'm talking about). In contrast, there have been no charges of any kind brought against figures in the Irish Libertas-organisation, so the muckrackers have had to cast their nets-wider, and do so in today's IT, with a tabloid-esque headline stating "Businessman Declan Ganley has recruited a Czech MEP and former media mogul, Vladimir Zelezny, to help set up a Libertas branch in the Czech Republic in advance of the European elections. The appointment is the first significant announcement made by Libertas in central and eastern Europe, where Mr Ganley hopes to win scores of seats in the June elections. Mr Zelezny is a colourful and controversial character. He is currently being investigated by the Czech authorities for tax fraud and abuse of creditors.He is co-founder of the state’s first commercial television station, Nova TV, which became the Czech Republic’s most popular channel by broadcasting popular US imports such as Baywatch and featuring naked women reading the weather forecast.". The mischievous halftruths of this article are exposed by the subsequent Libertas press-release, which reveals Irish Libertas or Ganley had no hand, act or part in selecting Mr.Zelezny to lead their Czech counterpart, stating "Libertas Chairman Declan Ganley has this morning strongly rejected as false and untrue a report by the Irish Times suggesting that he has "recruited" Mr. Vladimir Zelezny MEP and "appointed" him to a position in the Czech Republic. Mr. Ganley said that while Mr. Zelezny had registered the name Libertas in the Czech Republic, this action was not done on the request of Libertas in either Dublin or Brussels, and indicated nothing more than the enthusiasm of support for the Libertas project being expressed by people across the continent. He also made clear that Mr. Zelezny had not, as implied in the report, been asked to stand in the European Elections by Libertas, or in fact been the recipient of any specific request from Libertas in relation to its campaign, nor had he been the subject of any announcement made by Libertas, as reported."

Not content with smearing Libertas on it's integrity, the IT continued the usual theme of attempting to tar Mr.Ganley and the Irish organisation with the "Eurosceptic" brush (though even if it were true, what would be wrong with that in a democracy?). 'Mr. Ganley went on to firmly reject attempts made by such reports, and by the Irish Times over the past number of months, to attach his name to a Euro Sceptic agenda: "It is a well established fact that Libertas is not a Euro-sceptic organisation, nor does it espouse any Euro-sceptic policies. If calling for democracy and accountability in European governance makes one a euro-sceptic or anti-European, this raises other more serious questions on the anti-democratic path that Brussels is firmly on at present. The fact that some narrow sections of the media ignore the fact that Libertas is pro-European and not euro-sceptic would suggest that they may be falling susceptible to other agendas. We are delighted with the progress being made on the project we have undertaken, which if successful will see the voters of Europe being given a chance for the first time in Europe's history to vote on a common, reforming platform which would restore democracy, accountability, and economic common sense to the heart of Europe". I am not my brother's keeper. The reality is that even in Ireland, the no vote - like the yes vote - were coalitions of groups with sometimes incompatible opinions but who shared a common stance on the Treaty. The idea that because we don't agree on everything we are not entitled to agree on some issues is an utter nonsense. Were that the case, Charlie and Dessie and Albert and Dick would not have gone into Coalition with one another. The reality of democracy in countries like the Czech and Irish Republics is of coalition-building in common cause despite fundamental political-differences on some matters. If the Irish Times hadn't been asleep for the last 20 years you would be aware of that, and consequently would not be so damning of those who disagree on some issues pertaining to Europe happening to agree that Lisbon is bad.