DEBATE ON THE NICE TREATY

 

CAITRIONA NÍ FHALLÚIN,

A chara, - Like many Irish people who voted No in the last referendum on the Nice treaty, I am irritated and weary of the Government explaining to me and others why I voted No. I don't believe I was confused and bewildered by the question, and I do not want to stop other countries joining the EU.

Ad nauseum, the pro-Nice campaigners point out to us that in voting No we are denying the new applicants entry to our club; and in doing so we are selfish, xenophobic and reactionary. Yet I know of no one who voted No, or who intends to vote No, to halt the enlargement of the EU. Let them all join, I say. I wish them the best of luck. We benefited in many ways from membership of the EU, and it is only fair that other less wealthy countries in Europe benefit in turn. Roll on enlargement.

Nor am I greatly concerned by the implications for neutrality, as our military significance ( in or out) appears negligible. What I want to know is: what is the ultimate destination of the EU? At what point will we Europeans be sufficiently consolidated, integrated and glued together into a big, amorphous blob? What level of control will we have over the administration and governance of Ireland? What issues will be decided in Brussels, affecting us as Irish people, without us having an input into the decision-making process?

I don't believe any of these questions have been answered. So, there are two possible scenarios: (a) that those in power know the answers to these questions, but don't want to tell us; or, (b) don't know and therefore cannot tell us. The future of the EU is like an enormous blue fog on the horizon. It is like a large boulder which has taken on a life of its own and is rolling down a hill, gathering momentum as it goes.

The implication that, without our agreement to Nice, EU enlargement will be halted is a little hard to believe. I doubt that a project that has taken over 30 years to reach this point is going to fall apart because a tiny proportion of the members don't fully agree with its current methods. If that were the case, we would have given up on a solution to the problems in Northern Ireland years ago.

For Irish voters, the referendum on the Nice treaty is a little like being asked to go on a long journey (from which there is no return) to a destination unknown, by an unspecified means of transport. Even if the travel agent insists you will enjoy yourself on arrival, you remain unconvinced, particularly if the same travel agent has not been truthful in the past. Until the destination is identified, and the mode of transport clarified, I for one, will not be buying a ticket. -

Is mise,

CAITRIONA NÍ FHALLÚIN,

Blessington,

Co Wicklow.

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Sir, - I agree with a second referendum on Nice as only 35 per cent voted in the first referendum and a minimal majority of this 34 per cent voted No. Perhaps the referendum method is deficient in that there is no quorum, which I suggest should be 55 per cent of the electorate.

The EU is the greatest movement for peace in history, born of the noble ideals of Monnet and Schuman. It has given 57 years of peace to Europe, where in the previous 70 years there were three major conflagrations. Any critisicms of the EU are trivial by comparison with peace. - Yours, etc.,

JOHN ARRIGAN,

Newpark,

Portlaoise,

Co Laois.

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Sir, - May I offer the following slogan to the Anti-Nice Treaty lobby?

"Democracy leaks while Brussels sprouts." - Yours, etc.,

FRANK CLISSMANN,

Nerano Road,

Dalkey,

Co Dublin.