Dé Céadaoin, Meán Fómhair 30, 2009

Voting On Lisbon Begins

Today (Wednesday) the voting on Lisbon began as the polling stations opened on Ireland's off-shore islands. As is normally the custom during elections, islands such as Árainn Mhór off the west coast of County Donegal go to the polls two days before those who vote on the mainland.

It may not be widely remembered or even known that this is the case but out-lying regions on the periphery of a larger area do tend to be forgotten in the grander scheme of things.

But just as Árainn Mhór is on the periphery of Donegal and Donegal is on the periphery of Ireland, so too Ireland is on the periphery of Europe. Many times throughout the campaign in the run up to the Lisbon Treaty referendum it was often said by the Yes camp that voting No would leave Ireland out in the cold as far as the EU was concerned. They often said that Ireland had benefited greatly from being part of the EU and as good as threatened that a rejection of the treaty would have detrimental consequences for Ireland and its people.

So if the EU has been good for Ireland, do we accept that the current state of Ireland's economy is good? Taking the island of Árainn Mhór as an example, it would appear that the EU has been anything but good for Ireland. Fishing, a huge industry in a coastal county like Donegal and especially important to the off shore islands, has been decimated by EU restrictions and has left most of the small time fishermen out of work. Piers lie empty, with boats dry docked and boarded up. Fish factories have fallen silent and fishermen's co-operatives face closure. All of which has a massive knock-on effect on local economies as unemployed men and women have no money to spend.

With no money being invested in these out lying regions, as has always been the case, there is little prospect for the unemployed to find work. This leads to Irish men and women migrating to other countries to look for work, splitting families, killing communities off and seeing Ireland lose its children to foreign economies. But just as the 600 or so population of Árainn Mhór aren't important to the ruling elite of Leinster House in Dublin so too the over 500,000 unemployed on the island of Ireland are of little importance to the soulless fat cats within the EU who have been pushing for a yes vote for the Lisbon Treaty.

Ireland was never at the centre of the EU as has been claimed by the "Yes" men and women. Nor will it be if the treaty is ratified, as they have claimed. We in Ireland have always been on the periphery of the EU. We have always been treated as such with nothing more than the bare minimum being done.

Voting Yes will not change this. It will only give more power to the greedy capitalists of the EU and enable them to ignore the out-lying regions such as Ireland with no recourse for the Irish people. For those in Ireland yet to vote on the Lisbon Treaty, remember the words of James Connolly when he said, "As the separate individual is to the family, so the separate nation is to humanity. The perfect family is that which best draws out the inner powers of the individual, the most perfect world is that in which the separate existence of nations is held most sacred. There can be no perfect Europe in which Ireland is denied even the least of its national rights; there can be no worthy Ireland whose children brook tamely such denial. If such denial has been accepted by soulless slaves of politicians then it must be repudiated by Irish men and women whose souls are still their own."

No comments:

Post a Comment