Preparing for European treaty vote


Sir,– In rejecting a Private Member’s Bill tabled by Shane Ross, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore gave the Dáil the reason that the Referendum Commission “had already made it clear” that it is not possible to postpone the fiscal treaty referendum.

This is at best a serious oversight, and at worst a deliberate mischaracterisation of the legal position by our deputy head of government, at a time when clarity and honesty are most needed.

Mr Gilmore will be 23 years a TD next month. I therefore am willing to gamble that he understands that an Act of the Oireachtas can be amended by another such Act. The Referendum Commission is indeed correct in asserting that the Referendum Act of 1994 provides for the postponing of a plebiscite only in the event of the calling of a general election – but in making that statement, the commission was only concerned with the current legal position.

Had Deputy Ross’s Bill been accepted by the Government, the Referendum Act would have been amended, changing the legal position – and allowing for the legitimate postponing of the May 31st vote. – Yours, etc,


Rathdown Park,

Greystones, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Readers might want to put the views expressed by Morten Messerschmidt MEP (“Being yes men of Europe has got Ireland nowhere”, Opinion, May 16th) into some context. Mr Messerschmidt is not only an MEP but has a political background as an active and high-profile member of the extreme right-wing Danish People’s Party and was convicted for inciting racism in 2002.

It is a matter of concern that The Irish Times chose not to give readers any more information on the author than his affiliation within the European Parliament and (somewhat bizarrely) his personal vote tally. His background in Danish politics provides an important context for his remarks. Indeed, one might go so far as to say that there are sufficient voices on the No side of the referendum debate to make one wonder at the decision to provide a platform to this particular commentator, not to mention the denial to readers of the proper context within which to assess his views. – Yours, etc,


UCD School of Law


Centre for Media Studies,

NUI Maynooth,

Co Kildare.

Sir, – I was amazed by the distortions contained in an article by the Danish eurosceptic MEP Morten Messerschmidt (Opinion, May 16th), in which I had the misfortune of being name-checked.

He warns that if the stability treaty is approved by voters on Mary 31st that “Irish fiscal sovereignty regarding the corporate tax issue will be put under severe pressure”. He also says this would “hurt the Irish economy greatly” by “leaving inward investment and jobs at risk”.

First, it’s important to point out that the treaty has nothing whatsoever to do with taxation, as illustrated by the fact that the word “tax” doesn’t even appear once in the treaty. The Government has made it clear since its first week in office that the issue of Ireland’s corporation tax is not up for negotiation, and any attempt by other member states to change it will be vetoed.

Second, it is telling that Mr Messerschmidt has chosen to deliberately mislead voters and readers of The Irish Times in relation to his own stance on this issue.

On April 18th, the European Parliament voted by 590 votes to 20, to approve a protocol to the EU treaties arising out of the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty which gives further legal protection to Ireland on a number of issues, including our rate of corporation tax. The records of the European Parliament show that Mr Messershmidt voted against the adoption of this protocol.

On the following day, as Mr Messerschmidt referred to in his article, the parliament voted to adopt the Thyssen report on the CCTB. On this occasion, the record shows that he didn’t turn up to vote.

If Mr Messerschmidt is so concerned about the preservation of Irish corporation tax, why did he vote against the adoption of a protocol which would strengthen the protection of the Irish rate of corporation tax? If he is opposed to the CCTB, why didn’t he show up to vote against it, as MEPs from the Fine Gael party did unanimously?

Mr Messerschmidt’s article is a cynical and craven attempt to pose as a friend of the Irish people. It is a good illustration of the eye-watering hypocrisy of the bandwagon of eurosceptic MEPs who descend on Ireland during referendum campaigns in an attempt to interfere in the sovereign democratic right of the Irish people to decide on issues of fundamental importance. They are not motivated by concern for Ireland, but by a desire to do their best to disrupt and wreck the stability of the European Union at all costs.

They arrive in Ireland and wax lyrical about our sovereignty, but then return to Brussels to vote against Irish interests.

Mr Messerschmidt’s deception marks a new low for the No campaign, and one wonders what they will come up with next. – Yours, etc,


Minister of State for European


Department of an Taoiseach,

Merrion Street,

Dublin 2.

Sir, – Through the use of data extraction services companies, the European financial institutions that lent to the Irish banks were well aware of the insane lending practices going on here. Yet, through duress, the ECB forced the Irish people to accept responsibility for debts of over €40 billion which were not our responsibility. The negligent European financial institutions got off scot-free.

Under contract law, where duress is used, contracts are deemed to be null and void. The bailout by the troika, which is a de facto contract, must be repudiated by the Irish Government, through the courts if necessary.

Our politicians need the courage to stand up to the European bureaucrats and demand that justice be done to the Irish public. We, the Irish citizens, can give them the impetus to rectify the situation if we reject the fiscal treaty. In doing so we must let them all know why we are doing it, and what they must do. – Yours, etc,



Killerig, Carlow.

Sir, – At a press conference on May 16th the Minister for Finance stated Ireland does not have strong economic ties with Greece.

Meanwhile, the party he represents campaigns for a treaty which is pro-European Union, a political entity of which both Ireland and Greece are members.

Was the Minister attempting political irony, or is the definition of “strong economic ties” lost in translation? – Yours, etc,


Ballyowen Hall,


Co Dublin.