Coir for Justice

Resurgence has sent a message of support to Coir [ www.coircampaign.org ] the Vote No to Lisbon group attacked last month by Micheal Martin, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the basis that they’re extreme because they are anti-abortion. He was speaking to an Ogra Fianna Fail conference last month when he accused anti-Lisbon Treaty groups of running cynical campaigns in an effort to distort the referendum debate. Coir was accused of being a front for Youth Defence [ www.youthdefence.ie ] the pro- family and anti-abortion group. He then said there was no place for organisations trying to hide their roles in the campaign and described Youth Defence as shadowy and extreme.

Coir dismissed his remarks as pathetic and an insult to those voters who had accepted their arguments in the first referendum campaign. They confirmed their support for the aims of Youth Defence in keeping Ireland abortion free.

There is nothing shadowy about Coir or their purpose. They stand for Justice, Sovereignty and Integrity. They share the same building with Youth Defence and Truth TV [ www.truthtv.org ]. They are respected and ran a highly successful campaign last time spelling out honestly the threat to unborn children and traditional families. Their poster campaign was acknowledged to be the best, hard-hitting and professional. It is the fact that they were successful that has resulted in Fianna Fail training their guns on them.

When it comes to honesty Fianna Fail live in a glass house. They are introducing a Civil Partnerships Bill which goes way beyond similar legislation in the UK. They are not telling people that it is driven from the EU and Irish government departments facilitate abortions abroad. We understood that Fianna Fail was anti-abortion and upheld the provisions in the Irish Constitution which protect the unborn child and the family. Perhaps they have changed their position since joining the Liberal Group in the European Parliament? Is it now to be deemed extreme to affirm the Constitution?

It is true that many more No groups have formed in the lead up to the second referendum, forming a disparate coalition of fifteen organisations, and No campaigners are piling in to Ireland from across Europe. UKIP has entered the fray with the distribution of a leaflet to every household in Ireland. Micheal Martin described it as the “nastiest most deceptive’ piece of literature ever distributed in an Irish referendum. UKIP press conferences tell Irish voters that they will not be isolated in the EU if they vote No. If they hold out they will give the UK a chance of a referendum and the inevitable result will be a No.

Opinion polls across Europe show that all EU countries have a majority of people wanting a referendum in their own countries. Declan Ganley of Libertas had stated that he would not participate in the second referendum campaign after he was unsuccessful in the EP elections in June. He has changed his mind and re-entered the campaign because of the dishonesty of the Yes campaign and Minister of Finance, Brian Lenihan, who is claiming that a No vote will signal that Ireland has retreated in to economic isolation. Brian Lenihan has previously called for the minimum wage to be cut and claims that membership of the Euro zone has enabled Ireland to survive the downturn.

In fact the interest rates imposed on Ireland through adopting the Euro created a property bubble that could not be sustained. Declan’s retort to Lenihan is that the Treaty has no bearing and will not create a single job in Ireland. He is supported by the Wall Street Journal whose editor has said the supporters of the Treaty are so desperate that they have resorted to “patent absurdities” and accuses Lenihan of peddling “phantom terrors” to scare people into voting Yes. Fianna Fail’s response was to accuse the Wall Street Journal of a long held anti-EU agenda.

This is a more uneven campaign as RTE have decided not to provide equal airtime to the Yes and No camps. More money is being spent by the Yes campaigners but Micheal Martin does not question the source of that money or the links of their backers. Vested business interests, like Intel and Ryanair who need to curry favour with the European Commission, are spending millions of Euros for a Yes vote. Michael O’Leary has denigrated the No campaigners as bonkers but when questioned has shown a distinct lack of knowledge of the Treaty or its consequences. His attitude seems to be – vote Yes as the Treaty is good for Ryanair so it is good for Ireland. But ‘cheap’ is a fear, after a European Court of Justice decision that workers brought in to Ireland can be paid their own countries minimum wage resulting in jobs being lost.

Of course there has been the usual response from the Irish political elite telling outsiders to keep out of the referendum except when the outsiders are urging a Yes vote. Then there is the involvement of Peter Sutherland (ex- Irish European Commissioner and recent Chairman of BP) as Patron of the Ireland for Europe Campaign. That is really shadowy and involves EU and UK involvement in the BP oil deal with Libya in return for the transfer of prisoners deal with the UK and the ultimate release of Megrahi to Libya. Pat Cox is Ireland for Europe Campaign director and is a professional Brussels lobbyist. An urgent appeal has been made to EU lobbying firms asking each to contribute E30,000 to help the Campaign spend E500,000 on advertising. This is simply to protect their own profits derived from lobbying the EU institutions that would benefit most from a Yes vote.

Only Sinn Fein and the Socialist Party are urging a No vote. All the other political parties are in the Yes camp and warning that Ireland will lose influence in the EU if there is a second No vote. That is nonsense as the EU can still operate effectively under the Nice Treaty. In any case what they mean is that they as politicians will lose influence. Ireland punches above its weight in the European Commission. The Eurocrats know that the Irish are basically cattle dealers and any deal can be done at a price. The same is true with the Irish EC delegations who carry some influence with the newly acceded Eastern European countries who aspire to emulate the economic prosperity of Ireland. The Irish are flattered and have their egos massaged. They always sit at the top table on the left hand of the Commission at meetings in the Consilium at Brussels. From there they can be relied on to break deadlocks and broker deals. Their main concern is their relegation to the bottom table if there is a second No vote. What will not change is that the Irish pub across the road from the Consilium will still be the favoured watering hole of the press corps.

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