All of my adult life I have taken decisions that I affirmed my Irish nationality. I’ve only ever held an Irish passport, I’m and Irish speaker and I live in Ireland.
My three children go to an Irish speaking school-they are being raised gaeilgoiri.
You get the idea.
Recently I re-affirmed my wish to live in a country called “Ireland”. Unfortunately many of fellow Irish citizens decided that they wanted to live in a country called “Europe.”
I recall the feeling last June when we Irish had disobeyed our political class and powerful men who own our media.
In the days after that” No” vote you could sense a feeling of satisfaction among ordinary people.
That feeling didn’t last long.
It was replaced by anger as we saw our government run around the capital cities of Europe apologising for our decision. My own simplistic understanding of representative democracy is that governments are meant to execute the wishes of the electorate.
That wish is particularly explicit in a constitutional referendum.
In June we reject the Lisbon treaty. The Irish government came back with “guarantees” around a range of issues that they thought had caused the people to vote “no” in June.
As for the treaty itself not a single comma was removed or added.
A hallmark of the political elite at the heart of the nascent euro super state is a disdain for the people of Europe.
The Lisbon referendum in June was to be merely ” a ratification”. An inconvenience caused by our written constitution. When the people gave the “wrong” answer we had to be asked again.
This time the “Yes” campaign was massive. They outspent the “No” campaign by a wide margin. Every major political party in Dail Eireann, most of the trade unions, big business battered out the same message of fear.
The sub text was to vote “no” again would be tantamount to leaving the EU.
Nonsense of course.
However in the climate of a collapsing economy and the role being played the European Central Bank the fear message worked.
These words blink to life in County Mayo, my father’s county. A few miles from this pleasant farmhouse kitchen is the bend in the road at Carrowkennedy. There is a monument there to commemorate the ambush of Crown forces there in 1921.
My grandfather and two of his brothers in law were on that hillside that day.
They wanted an independent Ireland. Free to be itself to develop and grow.
My grandfather and grandmother lived all of their life committed to the ideal of an autonomous Ireland.
Although I miss my grandmother and regret the many things I didn’t say to her or ask her when she was alive and grieve for the fact that I never knew her husband who, apparently, I am very like.
Despite all of that I’m glad they didn’t live to see the day when this island would happily become a vassal state of another empire.
Perhaps that they are not around to see this capitulation isn’t a coincidence. The revolutionary generation are now all gone.
There is no one around who can remember British rule in Mayo and what it cost to eject them.
The men who fought at Carrowkennedy aren’t around to accuse the wounded cubs of the Celtic Tiger that they have given up what was so dearly purchased.
Today I will stand to attention in Croke Park and I will sing, as I have done many times before, “Amhrann na bhFiann”.
My grandfather was in Dublin that day when the British took revenge on the people at Croke Park for the war casualties inflicted on the British Secret Service by Mick Collins’ squad earlier that day.
Attached to GHQ IRA when he was in Dublin my grandfather knew Mick Collins very very well and had worked with the” Squad” on several occasions. I have no idea if he was “out” on Bloody Sunday, but it is likely.
Now we have a shiny new “Croker” one of the finest stadia in Europe.
Recently I spoke to a young Fine Gael TD who has been an acquaintance of mine for many years.
He was in bullish form about the referendum result. He was also gleefully anticipating being in government.
I didn’t have the energy to point out to him that Dail Eireann will inexorably now become not much more than a devolved assembly of the European state.
The ability of even a Dail Deputy on the government side to have any meaningful say in the lives of this republic’s citizens will increasingly vanish in the direction of Brussels.
The European project has, heretofore, worked because it is incremental and drowns any political opponents in gravy.
The victory party for the “Yes” side had hardly finished when names for the new unelected European President were being circulated.
A hot favourite is ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
There isn’t really anything to add to that.
If you are reading this anywhere within the EU then it is a fact that you will have no say in whether or not it is President Blair or President Someone Else.
This is the nature of the EU. Because of Ireland’s written constitution a referendum had to be held.
We Irish had a chance to make a stand for democracy in Europe.
We failed all of the people of Europe who didn’t have this opportunity.
We failed ourselves and we failed the generation who bled to give us our independence.
We failed because too many of us fretted in the voting booth about negative equity and whether or not we can keep the apartment in Lanzarote.
We should be sick with shame.