Irish sovereignty and the EU


Madam, - I note with some surprise that Messrs Tony Brown (May 16th), Alan Dukes and Proinnsias De Rossa (May 17th) have failed to rebut the salient point in Mr Anthony Coughlan's letter of May 10th: that two-thirds or more of the legal enactments we are bound by each year come from Brussels instead of originating in Dáil Éireann.

It is easy to illustrate how the Irish people have lost a vast amount of sovereignty to the EU in recent years. The advocate general of the European Court of Justice recently declared that the Irish Government "breached European law by pursuing a case against the British government over Sellafield through international courts instead of the European court itself". A sovereign country can decide for itself how it deals with matters of national importance; member-states of the EU currently cannot.

As regards "sharing sovereignty" with member-states of the EU, this is the same idea which pertained after the 1801 Act of Union with Britain when Irish MPs were a small minority, easily outvoted by their British counterparts.

For Mr Coughlan to point out the numerical and political weakness of Irish MEPs in Brussels is to describe the reality. Tony Brown describes this as "simplistic, arithmetic analysis of the Union system". On the contrary, it is a clear exposition of the present situation.

During two referendum campaigns, opponents of the Treaty of Nice said that its passing would lead to the transfer of capital to the east and the large movement of labour to the west. This is exactly what has happened.

Mr De Rossa was clearly wrong when he previously wrote in this paper: "I estimate that fewer than 2,000 will choose our distant shores each year" and: "It is a deliberate misrepresentation to suggest that tens of thousands will suddenly descend en masse on Ireland." (Letters, August 20th, 2002)

As it now stands, 200,000 PPS numbers have been given to Eastern European workers in the last few years. So who then was telling the truth and just who was making "apocalyptic predictions"? Another promise made by some slavishly pro-EU politicians was that voting for the Treaty of Nice would not lead to a diminishment of Irish neutrality. We now read this week that Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea is looking at ways for Irish soldiers to join EU battlegroups.

It appears that, when speaking on the EU, a politician's promise is not worth the breath on which it is carried. Mr Couglan has simply called it as it is. - Yours, etc,

HERMANN KELLY, Dromin, Dunleer, Co Louth.