EurActiv - Letters to the Editor


Regarding ‘Green Light from the Emerald Isle? Questions and Answers about Ireland’:

In their paperPdf external , Hierlemann and Heydecker underline the important duty of Irish politicians to ensure that their citizens approve the Lisbon Treaty.

So politicians should tell us ho to vote. How interesting. What happened to democracy? I thought the electorate told the politicians what to do, not the other way around?

To quote Bertolt Brecht, if Ireland rejects the treaty: “Would it not be easier, in that case for the government, to dissolve the people, and elect another?”

The Irish political establishment has been telling us to vote “yes” to Lisbon, without even attempting to explain the issues. Our Taoiseach has admitted that he has not even read the Treaty. Yet he tells us to vote for it. There has been no democratic debate on the Treaty.

Politicians and civil servants across Europe should stop treating citizens like sheep. Like most other Irish people I am strongly pro-EU, though I have some concerns about certain aspects of the Treaty.

What concerns me more is the anti-democratic way that this issue has been handled in Ireland. Your article highlights this reversal of democracy, which is a grave source of worry to many Irish people. Our politicians would have been better off encouraging true democratic debate, rather than telling us what to do.

The EU and Irish politicians should prepare for the electoral backlash. If the treaty is rejected, the EU and political establishment and should start planning with democracy in mind when amending the treaty.

David Egan


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  1. I very much agree. I am both pro-european and dutch. And I also voted no, simply to learn the politicians to stop treating the citizens like sheep.

  2. I also very much agree. I did not vote, I am from Romania, but I think that the system must be a little bit adapted.

    If the policians and experts decide something, also the citizens must be informed, and put on PUBLIC DEBATE BEFORE THE VOTE the important issues, inside each country.

    There will be always obstacles in obtaining approval from the citizens because they

    are not informed, or
    do not understand, or
    do not care, or simply
    do not want to understand or to approve

    and the policians MUST UNDERSTAND that THIS IS DEMOCRACY: need time and money to explain and to obtain approvals not only at Brussel but also from THEIR CITIZENS.

  3. Sometimes you get a gut feeling that you are being led up the garden path, and then sold down the river, to use two popular expressions. If you don’t want to buy something, you don’t have to give a reason why. There has been little or no attempt to inform the general public about the contents of the Lisbon Treaty, so, don’t sign for anything you haven’t read!

  4. Unfortunately, fascism is on the rise again with the EU given its total disregard for what citizens want. Only Luxemburg can say a majority of its citizens voted (yes, VOTED, not parliamentary rubber stamp) in favour of the constitution.

    France and the Netherlands, as we know, voted against and neither electorate has seen their choice respected. Now we have the ludicrousness of the Irish situation, with browbeating once again, including, God help us, from Merkel. Did the Germans have a vote? Either on the constitution or Lisbon? No, they did not. But she is happy to tell the Irish what they should do – when they have already voted, thank you very much.

    The Spanish voted (in a minority) for the constitution. Now they are getting Lisbon – but that is not what they voted for. Or is it? Maybe the two are the same thing. In which case, we come back to the French, the Dutch and the Irish.

    Britain’s (unelected) leader was to have had a referendum. Now we will not have one.

    So do we go with the EU and its undemocratic arm-twisting or do we try to get what we want?

    I am not opposed in principle either to the constitution or Lisbon.

    But I am strongly opposed to the totalitarian tactics of riding roughshod over what the broad mass of people want.

    So remember – only Luxemburg. And, of course, that was for the constitution – and not Lisbon.

    As for unelected Brown, Sarkozy and Merkel and company, they might hang their heads in shame. But today’s political class has no shame.

    Ask Jacqui Smith and the other expense-account brigade. And MP expenses are but a drop in the ocean when compared with their Euro-counterparts.

    By the way, Maarten vd Berg: The people ARE sheep.

  5. Like David Egan I am a strong suppporter of the EU but, unlike him, I will be voting Yes.
    I can understand something of the annoyance at being asked to vote again but it is not a reason in itself for voting No. (It is a good reason for voting against the politicians responsible for this mess.)
    As before we have to make the best assessment of what is NOW in Irleland’s best interest, taking everything we can into account. I thnk a Yes vote is in the best interests of Ireland.

    I appreciate and completely accept that David Egan is a strong supporter of the EU. I know some strong supporters who will vote No (despite my best efforts). However, I think many of the most prominent campaigners on the No side are not so much against the Lisbon Treaty but against the EU itself and Ireland’s membership.

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