May 20 2008

Lisbon And Me – Roche’s Reactionary Rant

Published by at 1:58 pm under Blog

Dick RocheI’m not the biggest fan of Minister Dick Roche at the best of times. Fianna Fáil hid him away during the General Election, so why on earth they would allow him to run their Lisbon Treaty Campaign is beyond me.

Today, he writes in the Independent. It is a response piece to an article by Bruce Arnold. Arnold’s assertion was that we should vote No as giving control of our corporation tax over to the EU will reduce our competitiveness and place the fate of our jobs in the arms of the Government of Europe. Looking at the facts, as laid out by Roche, he refutes Arnold’s claim and I must give credit where it is due, he definitely cleared up a few questions I had on Europe’s responsibility for our tax rates if the Treaty were to be ratified. It is very clear that our corporation tax rates cannot be touched by the EU, but they have more or less carte blanche with our indirect taxes.

He goes on to berate Arnold for his errors and misgivings, pointing out that the Institute of Chartered Accountants have endorsed the Treaty, the American Chamber of Commerce and IBEC have all endorsed the Treaty and they would not do this if there was any issues over competitiveness and the corporation tax.

He criticises Arnold for having not read the Treaty correctly or fully. But here, Minister Roche further nails home the entire problem with this Treaty. It is virtually impossible to understand; it is near unintelligible at times; and is someone like Bruce Arnold, an intelligent, educated, political journalist, cannot fully comprehend what it is saying, then how on earth can the rest of us be expected to make an informed judgement? I suspect Dick Roche may be one of the very few people in this country who can truly claim to have an understanding of the Treaty. This is not good enough.

Previous Posts

4. Lisbon and Me – Consequences

3. Political Apathy and a Yearning for Change

2. Lisbon and Me – Deciding The Future

1. Lisbon and Me

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Lisbon And Me – Roche’s Reactionary Rant”

  1. Darrenon 20 May 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I think I’m done now!

  2. Darraghon 20 May 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Thank God for that 😛

  3. Maryon 27 May 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Is it just me or is the headlines on today’s Independent from the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso seem threatning???

    I’ll definitely be voting no, they haven’t had any proper or fully informative arguments for voting YES, so now they are trying to threaten and frighten the Irish Public into voting YES.

    Headlines (Copy & pasted from Unison)

    Vote Yes or we’ll all pay price, EU chief warns:

    Tuesday May 27 2008

    IRELAND and Europe will “pay a price” if there is a ‘No’ vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned voters last night.

    Putting the gun to Irish heads ahead of the referendum in just over a fortnight, Mr Barroso said rejection of the EU Reform Treaty would be bad for the whole of Europe, including Ireland.

    His comments could be used by the ‘No’ campaign to show that Europe is trying to coerce Ireland into voting ‘Yes’.

    They will cause a further headache for the ‘Yes’ campaign, which is already watching its lead narrowing while also trying to fight public confusion on the treaty’s details.

    Ireland is the only one of the 27 EU members States to hold a referendum on the Treaty.

    But Mr Barroso said there is “no Plan B” if the referendum on June 12 is not carried by the Irish voters.

    He said the European Union could be stuck with an unresolved problem of institutional reform for years if the Irish public rejects the treaty.

    “If there was a ‘No’ in Ireland or in another country, it would have a very negative effect for the EU,” he said.

    “We will all pay a price for it, Ireland included, if this is not done in a proper way,” he warned.

    Mr Barroso delivered his remarks at the European Policy Centre think-tank in Brussels last night. Pro-Lisbon campaigners argue the Treaty will make an enlarged EU work more effectively, give the enlarged union stronger leadership, a more democratic decision-making system and a more effective foreign policy apparatus.

    The Treaty replaced the defunct EU constitution, which was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005.

    The latest opinion poll shows ‘Yes’ vote at 41pc, down three points, and the ‘No’ vote at 33pc, up five. The Red C poll for the Sunday Business Post showed the don’t knows down eight points to 26pc.

    Mr Barroso’s intervention came on the same day as the Government expressed its concerns over the European Commission’s handling of the highly contentious World Trade Organisation talks.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said the EU’s concessions on agriculture at world trade talks remain “unacceptable” to Ireland.

    Mr Martin said Ireland still had “very serious concerns” about the latest negotiating position set out at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks by EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

    Briefed about the proposals by the Commissioner at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, Mr Martin said the proposals were “unbalanced and unacceptable” and posed a serious risk to Irish and European agriculture.

    He said the latest offer from Mr Mandelson — tabled on behalf of the EU Commission at the Geneva negotiations last week — was even less acceptable than previous suggested concessions that farming organisations denounced as an outrage and a sell-out.

    The WTO talks are a major stumbling block to the Government’s hopes of passing the referendum.

    Farmers have linked the WTO outcome to their vote on the EU Reform Treaty, even though Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said it is “foolish” to link the two issues.

    The Irish Farmers’ Association is effectively threatening to vote ‘No’ if they are not happy with the expected outcome of the WTO negotiations.

    Mr Cowen denied yesterday that the referendum was now too close to call.

    He said opinion polls were just snapshots at any given time, and the fact remained that it was very much in Ireland’s national interest to vote Yes to Lisbon.

    “We’re only halfway through this campaign, and I’m betting a very positive message on the ground,” he said.

    Mr Cowen said he believed the Irish people were of a pro-European outlook.

    – Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

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