Ireland decides

May 16th, Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. Dining at the very table on which the 1922 Irish Constitution was drafted

I’ve just returned from a visit to Dublin with a delegation from the EFD Group, ahead of Ireland’s May 31st referendum on Merkel’s Fiscal Union (FU) pact.

The group included two other UKIP MEPs — Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall — but also the charismatic Danish MEP Morten Messerschmidt; the very sound Finnish MEP Sampo Terho; Irish Press Officer Hermann Kelly; and my Italian staffer Francesca Salierno.  With delegation members from five EU member-states, it was much more difficult for Dublin’s pro-EU media to complain about “English interference in Irish affairs” as they have done in the past.  They seem to have no problem with all sorts of EU Commissioners and MEPs (and truckloads of EU funding) coming to Dublin to tell the Irish people to vote YES, but woe betide anyone who dares to suggest a NO vote.

Francesca bites back:  At our Wednesday Press Conference, one journalist had clearly decided that Francesca was only there to add a touch of glamour to a men-in-grey-suits line-up, and decided to ask a mildly challenging question.  Francesca wasn’t having any of that.  Her answer made it clear in no uncertain terms, first that she was a fully-qualified lawyer with an IQ to match, and second that she had very clear and cogent criticisms of the single currency project and the damage it was doing to Irish citizens.  Well done Francesca.

The press conference seems to have been successful.  Certainly we had a great deal of press coverage in Ireland the following morning.

That evening we dined at the Shelbourne Hotel, in their “Constitution Room”, the very room where in 1922, under the Chairmanship of Michael Collins, the Constitution of the Irish Free State was drafted.  We were all very conscious of the irony.  Here we were, in a room which had played so great a part in the achievement of Irish independence, and on a mission to remind Irish voters in the 21st Century that the freedom and self-determination that their great grandfathers had fought for was still worth preserving in the face of Brussels’ hegemony.  I wonder what Michael Collins would have thought of Ireland (or indeed the UK) as an off-shore province of a country called Europe.

The tragedy is that while the EFD has more than once gone to Ireland to support the No Campaigners, there is no genuine centre-right pro-independence party in Ireland today.  The mantle of euro-scepticism has gone by default to Sinn Féin, a socialist party with blood on its hands, and with which I should never wish to make common cause.

Irish voters have been badly let down by their mainstream parties Fianna Fail and Fianna Gael, both sell-out Brussels lap-dogs offering no real choice to the people.  It’s another irony that these two parties, which historically grew out of opposite sides of a Civil War, now seem to be in a Civil Partnership.

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9 Responses to Ireland decides

  1. ozbcoz says:

    Excellent – let us hope that the Irish provide the leadership stimulus for a dithering EU


  2. Sean O'Hare says:

    You seem to be write quite warmly about Michael Collins, a past leader of Sinn Féin in one paragraph, yet denigrate them in the next because they have blood on their hands. The Republican movement has always had blood on its hands, but so too do we Brits. Fair enough to criticise SF for being socialist though!
    I have heard rumours that the tide is turning in favour of a no vote. Did you pick up any of that whilst in Dublin?

    • I think it’s time to “get over it”, as they say these days. As a Brit, I side with the Brits. But I guess if I’d been an Irishman, I’d have been fighting for independence (as I am today). I fear we’re going to end up with a “Yes” vote — the Irish are being frightened with threats of loss of access to EU funding. But I hope I’m wrong.

  3. I am surprised that you found any Irish in Eire. I thought they were all over camping in our fields round the Fens!

  4. Ian Dempster says:

    Off topic. Have you seen Wattsupwiththat this morning. (20th May 2012) Is there anyway that you can get the stupid EU/British wind turbine policy halted or at least slowed now?


    • Off topic, but important. This is my main objective as UKIP Spokesman on Industry & Energy. Right now, I’m at the Heartland Climate Conference in Chicago talking about this very issue.

  5. Tompson34 says:

    Camping in fields around the Fens ? Oh, that’s Irish travellers. The same people (as per recent DNA studies) that have been resident in these islands, travelling between the two, for thousands of years; pre-dating Normans, Saxons, Jutes & Angles & even ‘Celts’ – whether Irish, Welsh or Scottish Gael. Probably been in Europe as long as the Basques.

    • They have been camping here for just six months actually.
      Roma predate the Norman conquest and indeed the Roman Occupation.
      But all this Roma stuff does’t really wash. These are just Irish coming here under EU regulations and, like the Lithuanians, camping in the country.
      There is a very good case, you know, for the original Balts to predate the Irish.

  6. The logical alternative for Ireland, at least in the short term, is to abandon the “Euro” entirely, and since most trade is with the United Kindom, then prejudice apart, they should simply adopt the Pound Sterling as a currency. It doesn’t mean they have to bow & scrape to Westminster dominance. After all Zimbabwe now officially uses the Botswana currency, since their own Zimbabwe currency is now defunct due to rampant inflation.

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