[10/04/2006] 1916 & the EU: A question to ponder on the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising

A QUESTION TO PONDER ON THE 90TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1916 RISING

"We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland
and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and
indefeasible"

-  1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic

QUESTION:  Is the right of the Irish people "to the ownership of Ireland
and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies", proclaimed in 1916,
compatible with having two-thirds of the laws we must obey enacted by the
EU in Brussels, in making which the Irish people have a very minor say?

The German Federal Ministry for Justice has stated in answer to a
parliamentary written question that between 1998 and 2004, 23,167 legal
acts were adopted in Germany, of which 18,917, or 80%, were of EU
origin(See the German and English texts of this question and answer below).
Presumably Ireland, being a unitary rather than a Federal State like
Germany, would have a higher proportion of domestic national laws enacted
centrally; so it seems plausible to assume that the EU makes two-thirds or
so of our laws rather than the 80% in Germany. The Taoiseach or Minister
for Foreign Affairs might usefully be urged to give the public the exact
figure for the Irish State, as the German Government has done.

Having to obey laws made mostly by others means being ruled by others. It
is the opposite of a country being independent, sovereign and democratic.
What role do the Irish State and Irish people have in making EU laws?  We
have one member out of 25 on the EU Commission, the body of nominated,
non-elected officials which has the legal monopoly of proposing all EU
laws. That is 4% influence.  We also have one Minister out of 25 on the EU
Council of Minsters, which makes EU laws on the basis of the Commission's
proposals. That is again 4% influence there. In practice most EU laws are
adopted nowadays by qualified majority vote on the Council of Ministers,
where Ireland has 7 votes out of 345, that is 2% of a say, and in which it
may be outvoted on most matters.

The European Parliament may propose amendments to draft laws of the EU
Council of Ministers, but it cannot have these amendments adopted without
the agreement of the Council and Commission, and it cannot itself initiate
any EU law. The Irish State has 13 members out of 732 in the European
Parliament, that is 2% of a say, and the North has 3 MEPs.

Yet when the whole of Ireland  was part of the United Kingdom between 1800
and 1921,it had 100 MPs out of 600 in the British Parliament, of which some
70 were Nationalists. That gave Nationalist Ireland 12% of a say at
Westminster; yet the Irish  people were unhappy with majority rule from
London then and aspired to a Parliament of their own in an independent
Irish Republic.

As for "the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland", how can
Irish politicians pretend to exercise that right when under EU law it is
illegal for an Irish Government to adopt any measure that would prevent the
450 million citizens of the other EU States from having the same rights of
ownership and establishment in this country as Irish citizens, in relation
to land-buying, fisheries, residence, employment or the conduct of any
economic activity?

In addition to being subject to laws made overwhelmingly by non-Irish
people in Brussels, the Irish Government is regularly fined for breaking EU
laws by the EU Court of Justice - something no sovereign State anywhere in
the world is subject to. How is that compatible with "the unfettered
control of Irish destinies"?

As well, EU membership means that Member States lose their right to sign
trade treaties with other States, as this is done by the Brussels
Commission acting for the EU as a whole. It means that the Member States
are legally obliged to work towards a common foreign and security policy
and common rules in crime and justice matters. Last September a judgement
of the EU Court of Justice laid down that the EU can adopt supranational
criminal sanctions such as fines, imprisonment or confiscation of assets
for breaches of EU law by means of majority vote. This means that Ireland
and its citizens may be subjected in future to such criminal sanctions even
if they had voted against them, and for matters they do not necessarily
regard as crimes.

Before Ireland joined the EEC in 1973, Article 15 of the Irish Constitution
stated that "the sole and exclusive power of making laws for the State is
hereby vested in the Oireachtas: no other legislative authority has power
to make laws for the State." The Irish State was constitutionally sovereign
then in a way that it clearly is no longer.

As a member of the Eurozone Dublin has no control of either the rate of
interest or its currency exchange rate, which are classical economic tools
of all independent governments that seek to advance their people's welfare.
As regards interest rates and the exchange rate we have to abide by
policies decided by the EU Central Bank in Frankfort,Germany, whose
priority necessarily must be the economic needs of the more populous EU
countries.

All this is clearly incompatible with "the right of the people of Ireland
to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish
destinies", proclaimed in the Declaration of the Republic in Easter 1916.
Yet the Taoiseach and leaders of Fianna Fail who have put us under European
Union rule and who desire to give the EU more power still by ratifying the
proposed EU Constitution, proclaim themselves to belong to "The Republican
Party".

On Easter Sunday next they will perpetrate the hypocrisy of professing to
honour the men and women of 1916 against the background of these facts
which make a mockery of their professions. And they will be supported in
that by the leaders of the other major Dail Parties, who glory in their
servitude to EU rule and who equally support the discredited EU
Constitution that was rejected by the peoples of France and the Netherlands
in their referendums last summer.

_______
GERMAN VERSION OF QUESTION RE RATIO OF EU LAWS TO NATIONAL LAWS
_______

Abgeordneter: Johannes Singhammer (CDU/CSU)

Wie viele Rechtsvorschriften mit Wirkung für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland
wurden in den Jahren 1998 bis 2004 auf der europäischen Ebene und auf der
nationalen Ebene neu beschlossen?

Antwort des Parlamentarischen Staatssekretärs Alfred Hartenbach
Vom 29. April 2005

In den Jahren 1998 bis 2004 wurden insgesamt 18,167 EU-Verordnungen und 750
EU-Richtlinen (einschließlich Änderungsverordnungen bza.-richtlinien)
erlassen.

Im selben Zeitraum wurden auf Bundesebene insgesamt 1195 Gesetze (davon 889
im BGB1.Teil I und 306 im BGB1. Teil II) sowie 3055 Rechtsverordnungen
(einschließlich Änderungsgesetzen bzw.-verordnungen) verkündet.

________

ENGLISH SUMMARY OF QUESTION AND ANSWER
_______

To ask the Minister what proportion of the legal acts passed in Germany
between 1 May 1998 and 1 May 2004 had their origin in European Union
regulations or directives and how many were were solely national in origin.

On 29 April 2005, the German Federal Justice Ministry replied that between
1998 and 2004, 23,167 legal acts were adopted in Germany, of which 18,917,
or 80%, were of EU origin.

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