..back to home                                                Updated: 17 Jan  03
..back to June 2001 Referendums

(European Union)

  • Editorial: We at IMR/Offtherecord! supported a NO vote on Nice
  • Nice re-Run (Nice II) (19 Oct 2002)
  • Prodi on fact-avoiding mission!
  • Fairness thrust upon RTE!
  • Respect the Irish NO to Nice!
  • Ireland rejects Nice 54/46% - Poll result
  • Neart on Nice
  • McKenna criticises multiple referendum
  • "The Devil lies in the Detail" (Article on empires)
(Ed note: Emphasis added) 
Prodi on fact-avoiding mission!

  Having confirmed that the Treaty of Nice was not, after all, necessary for (some) EU enlargement, Mr Prodi arranged to meet with representatives, or some of them, of the Irish No-side campaigners.

The following were to meet with Mr Prodi at Buswell's Hotel (close to the Dáil and the Commission Offices) on Friday morning 22 June:

Mrs Nuala Ahern, MEP, (Green Party),
Ms Patricia McKenna, MEP, (Green Party),
Mrs Dana Rosemary Scallon, MEP,  (Group of Independents),
Mr Caoimghín Ó'Caoláin, TD, (Sinn Féin),
Mr Mick O'Reilly, ATGWU,
Mr Andy Storey, (AfRI),
Mr Feargus MacAogain (Peace and Neutrality Alliance/PANA),
Mr Justin Barrett, ("No to Nice Campaign")
Mr Anthony Coughlan, (The National Platform)

That several other organisations, including the Christian Democrat Party, and the Christian Solidarity Party, who had expressed a desire to speak with Mr Prodi, were excluded, was due to the "time and space constraints (!) indicated by the Dublin Office of the EU Commission".

If Mr Prodi wants to find out what motivated the NO to Nice people, he would need to meet a few more than is represented in the above list.  With all due respects to them, no more than four of the above did any serious work, or met any significant number of people.

To find out where the bulk of the activity came from, one has only to ask which of the above-mentioned organisations did Bertie Ahern single out for attack in his "sinister campaign" outburst?

Or which of them were "air-brushed" out of RTE's 6.01 and 9 o'clock tv news pictures?

As reported in Phoenix, 8 June,  "the majority of rank and file activists in the "No to Nice Campaign" belong to Youth Defence which has been fund raising via adverts in Catholic magazines like The Irish Catholic, The Irish Family, Alive, etc."

That is where the money has come from and where the people have come from.  They have been augmented by a host of ad hoc groups - who share their values -  throughout the country, doing the foot-slogging work of distributing leaflets and canvassing door to door.  They are capable of materialising afresh if or when a Nice II, Nice III, or Nice IV appears.

A rigourous censorship applied that would make the Soviet Union proud.  RTE (see next article below) were not alone. We are informed that the "No to Nice Campaign" submitted articles on a daily basis, but none were printed.  (In contrast to the publication of material on the International Criminal Court (still embargoed at 23 June), there was a good amount of information and debate from other (politically correct) sources).

It probably makes little difference whether Mr Prodi is on a fact-finding or on a PR mission.  Either way, Nice is dead.


23 June 2001


Yes, we noticed Mr D also.  He was probably the real player.

Still, it was understandable that Mr P would let the Yes people know that they'd better get it right the next time.  As he no doubt sees it, bringing pressure to bear on that quarter is more efficient and effective than spending time finding out what the riff-raff think they might want.  One has to keep the media on-side as well.  They want to bring you-know-what to a speedy conclusion, so giving air-time to you-know-who would not be helpful.  Having said all that, we appreciated Mr P's honesty in confirming what Anthony Coughlan has been saying all along.  Perhaps a message from Mr P (and Mr D) is that economy with the truth had perhaps gone a mite too far.

On another tack, we note also from the Irish Times of 25 June that our own little ESB is to bid for a Polish electricity group with a turnover of - wait for it - £764 billion (yes Billion).  (They must surely mean Zlotys - Ed) So, if being bought out is a benefit to the Polish people, they don't have to wait for the Irish to vote for Nice.

While thinking about Poland, one wonders how much the Polish man/woman in the street really knows about the benefits or otherwise of applying for membership of the EU.

If we're kept in the dark, when we have the right to decide (thanks to our foresightful Constitution), how much or little do the Poles know, when they have no right to be asked.

Compassion for the likes of the Poles has been a theme of the Yes side.  Perhaps maybe someone should ask the Polish people themselves.  We wouldn't be surprised if the media was running the show there too.


27 June 2001

  RTE interviews "NO to Nice" PRO!

Just why did RTE change its policy?

Revised report 21 June

Seven days after the Referendum, on Friday 15 June, RTE, in a surprise move, interviewed the PRO of the "NO to Nice Campaign", Mr Justin Barrett.

By far the greater amount of postering, canvassing, and leafletting was carried out by the umbrella group, "No to Nice Campaign" (phone (+353) 1 874 6858).  They had a team of over 2,000 volunteers carrying out door to door canvassing: some 600,000 leaflets were distributed.  This far outstripped the outdoor activity, at least, of any other group.

The Campaign was comprised mainly of a group of pro-life campaigners (defending the right to life of the unborn) called "Youth Defence" (www.youthdefence.ie) (phone (+353) 1 8730463), from whose offices the campaign operated.  Youth Defence is the bete noire of the Irish media in general, and RTE in particular, hence there was no recognition of the role they played, at least up to 15 June.  (An exception was the June 8 edition of "The Phoenix" (www.phoenix-magazine.com), and some later grudging coverage on some papers).

The initial impetus and continued main philosophical attack came from Mr Anthony Coughlan, and his group, the National Platform.

Several other groups, such as the Christian Democrat Party, the Green Party, Sinn Fein, Christian Solidarity Party, the Socialist Party, PANA (Peace and Neutrality Alliance), and other groups, also made significant contributions.

Mr Barrett is also PRO to Youth Defence, and hence amongst those on RTE's "Most Unwanted Persons" list.

RTE's shunning of the "NO to Nice" campaigners was noticeable in their desire to interview anybody else, anybody, following the declaration of results a week ago, and indeed before it as well.  We understand no-one from the "No to Nice Campaign" featured in any RTE current affairs programme in the course of the campaign.

So, why did RTE change its policy?

Some say it followed a German TV interview, or that it anticipated a visit by Romano Prodi, who threathened to break ranks and speak to "No to Nice" people.  This might have left RTE in the embarrassing position of having to explain why the head of the EU would have jetted over here to start talking with people who had nothing to do with a referendum on the Nice Treaty.

Others say it was due a to a small defector within RTE.

Thus was fairness thrust upon RTE.

To give credit, the report was a full one, Mr Barrett was allowed to speak for himself, and there was no blanking of the screen, as occurred during unacceptable news reports on 25 May and 15 June (on which more later).


21 June 2001

Respect the Irish NO to Nice

E-mail received from National Platform:

Issued by the three Irish MEPs: Patricia McKenna, Nuala Ahern and Dana Rosemary Scallon, in cooperation with The National
Platform Ireland, and the SOS Democracy Intergroup.

Five Irish European demands instead of the Nice Treaty:


Negotiations on EU enlargement should now be intensified and made more flexible with a view to having as many as possible of EU Applicant countries ready by 2004.

Votes on the EU Council and representation in the European Parliament in the context of enlargement, could be the same as in the Enlargement Declaration attached to the Nice Treaty; for this was not legally part of the Treaty and has not been rejected by voters in Ireland's referendum.

The first five Applicant countries whose accession treaties are completed should join the EU under the provisions of the Amsterdam Treaty which is currently in force.


Ratification of the Nice Treaty by EU Member States other than Ireland should stop immediately, since it is not possible to ratify a Treaty with fewer than 15 signatures and since the binding Irish referendum result should be respected by all EU Member States calling themselves democratic.

Instead the EU governments should call on the European peoples and parliaments to commence public discussions at once on a new simplified fundamental treaty for the EU.


The No vote in Ireland was not a specific Irish No. It could have occurred in any EU Member State whose leaders dared to consult their citizens in a referendum.

The Irish No was a European No to a Treaty threatening democratic European co-operation. The Nice Treaty would centralise more power in Brussels, even though less than one-fifth of Europeans prefer rule from Brussels rather than local, regional and national decision-making. Nice would divide the EU club of legal equals into first-class and second-class EU Members.

The next EU treaty should include a clear catalogue of competences for a slimmer, less centralised, more people-friendly EU. Brussels should focus on clear overriding issues that transcend national boundaries and that national parliaments cannot deal with effectively. If the Nation State is not able to regulate an area completely and exclusively, electorates have nothing to lose but everything to gain by international cooperation.


European law-making is done behind closed doors. From now on all negotiations on EU laws must be conducted publicly.

All minutes and documents from EU meetings must be published for citizens to read. The EU Court of Auditors, EU Ombudsman and
special committees of the European Parliament must have full access to all areas of EU administration without any limitations.


The next EU Treaty must be decided from the bottom up involving the citizens,instead of top down from the elites.

Negotiations should start with discussion in national parliaments and specially convened public forums, and the final result should be adopted by national electorates through binding referendums in each country.

Europe cannot continue to be governed by civil servants and ministers behind closed doors in Brussels. All EU laws belong to the electorates of Europe. You cannot outlaw the Irish electorate by adding "Danish pastry" in the form of empty political declarations to a Treaty of Nice that has been rejected by the Irish people.


16 June 2001

People should know what they are voting for - Deputy Ring

Selected extracts from Dail debates 4 April 2001:


(emphasis added)

For what are Members elected to this House? Those who died for Ireland
 in 1916, 1921 and 1922, including my grandfather, would turn in their
 graves if they saw how we are handing over our powers to Europe. All
 legislation is determined in Europe, some good and some bad. Some is
 not suitable for Ireland, yet we are tied into it. I am worried about
 possible future legislation and worried that people will not know what
 they are voting for in the Nice Treaty referendum. The Minister may say
 to the House following the referendum that this is what the people voted
 for, but they may not have known what they voted for. This referendum
 should be postponed until the general election, which the Taoiseach
 insists will be held next year.

The people should know what they are voting for and why this
 referendum is necessary. They should be fully informed on all future
 legislation whether it concerns abortion, a European army, or other
 matters. The Government is pushing this matter through the Dáil due to
 Ms Patricia McKenna's High Court action. She did not do the people any
 favours with that High Court action on referendum information.
 Previously, it was easy to distinguish those for and against a referendum
 topic. Ms McKenna's case has damaged democracy. Money should be
 provided for both sides to make their case to help voters decide. The
 way this referendum has been pushed on the people is worrying,
 especially as correct information is not being supplied.

 We first had the Common Market and then the EEC, before the EU
 came into being. Members of this House will tell voters what they want
 to hear while not telling voters what has been agreed in this treaty. For
 example, during the referendum campaign on entry to the Common
 Market, the big selling point for voters was that an Irish person could go
 to any part of Europe and buy what they wanted. (more..).


31 May 2001



  • Dept of Foreign Affairs:

Other Reading:

  • Article by Bernard Connolly, Sunday Independent, 1 October 2000.
  • The Rotten Heart of Europe, by Bernard Connolly.

20 April 2001


A national coalition of pro-women's rights, pro-family, and pro-life groups
Ireland's National Sovereignty at stake

1. The Nice Treaty

The EEC, which was about economic co-operation, is slowly changing to a Superstate with social and political implications, which were unheard of at the time of accession.

The Treaty provides for:

"NO" is the only answer to the Nice Treaty proposal.

2. The International Criminal Court (ICC) (UN)

Our Duty

Thanks to our Constitution, and those who have defended it in the past, we, alone amongst the peoples of Europe, have the right to be consulted on this treaty.

If we say "Yes" to these two proposals, the Nice Treaty and the ICC, what will we have to say to our children in the future?

Ireland must vote NO.

(No comment is being offered on the other two referendum issues at this stage)


6 April 2001

Friday 23 March 2001


In a letter to The Irish Times, 23 March, MEP Patricia McKenna took issue with the Government's intention to tie in up to three unrelated issues with the referendum on the Nice Treaty.

The mainstream parties have gone out of their way to criticise, undermine and get around the McKenna judgement.  (This judgement, for which Ms McKenna was responsible, struck a major blow for democracy in outlawing unequal state support in referendums, which had been favoured by the mainstream political parties)

Multiple referendums will drastically reduce the amount of public attention that can be given to each issue, she said.

The Treaty of Nice requied in-depth analysis and debate.  There should be an objective White Paper, and a summary of it should be sent to every household.


"The Devil lies in the Detail"
- the danger posed by the EU to Christianity
(Article by Dr Gregory Slysz from Christian Order)
Selected extracts:

FOLLOWING on from several papal declarations of support for the European Union (EU), the Second Synod of Bishops for Europe convened in Rome in October 1999 unequivocally chose to endorse Europeean integration along the lines pursued by the EU, seeking eagerly to depict EU as some sort of reincarnation of the Holy Roman Empire.  The Synod represented a milestone in relations between the Catholic Church and the EU and was marked by reciprocal declarations of undying affection.
Postwar European integration has been justified in various ways to heal Europe's war-time rifts, to protect Europe from internal currency turbulence, to encourage a wider sense of European identity, to keep Germany in check and to increase Europe's competitiveness vis-a-vis the outside world or, if you are of a conspiratorial mind, to subjugate Europe's people to tyrannical, dictatorial authority.
Modern European state-craft, however, though it may cast a romantic glance at Charlemanne's or Sully's Christian designs, traces its origins to the Enlightenment and to thinkers like Voltaire and Rousseau who identified Europe as a single cultural entity and in so doing reinforced the idea of a supranational Europe.  In 1751, Voltaire characterised Europe as "a kind of great republic divided into several states", all shring a common cultural heritage.  Some 20 years later Rousseau concurred, declaring that there are no longer Frenchmen, Germans and Spanairds, or even English, but only Europeans."   As the notion of a common European home earned growing respectability, it inspired increasingly ambitious system building.

More.. ("Christian Order" website)

Further extracts later.
Reproduced with permission from the publishers.

20 April 2001

The European Council met in Nice in December, and the member states signed a new Treaty on 10/11 December 2000.   The object is to "deepen and widen" the European Union.

"Deepening" is intended to place the EU on a constitutional basis by giving it the attributes of statehood.

"Widening" will involve developing mechanisms for enlargement of the Union.  There are currently 15 member states:  the eventual addition of some 15 East European states is envisaged.

Changes in some procedures will be necessary as a result of the increase in numbers, to avoid paralysis in decision-making.

  • Enlargement
  • First-class/second class structures
  • Near abolition of veto.
  • Commission appointments on majority voting (a step towards EU government)
  • Politico-military structures answerable to EU institutions.
  • Court of Justice
  • Charter of Fundamental Rights - a constitution for the EU, under the European Court of Justice at Luxembourg. (Not the Council of Europe court at Strasbourg)


Reports, etc, supplied by "The National Platform" (Mr Anthony Coughlan), including a comprehensive critique on the Treaty as signed by the Government and to be put to the people in a referendum.

"The EU must not be given control of our human rights!"

(Report requires some updating)

In a comprehensive report, Trinity College lecturer, Anthony Coughlan, has trenchently denounced the draft EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The Charter, agreed by a "convention" of representatives of member states, is to be incorporated into a "Treaty of Nice", to be approved at a EU summit there on 9 December.    It is not yet clear if the signed treaty is to be put to the peoples of the Union in referendums.  There is considerable pressure to get everything wrapped up by the end of the year.

What's the big deal about the Charter?  After all, most of the rights mentioned are already around in some shape or form, in the Irish Constitution, in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, and in some UN conventions.

Well, it's like this:

1. First of all, it needs to be understood that, as well as the Irish Constitution, there are two courts involved:

There is the long-standing Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg, associated with the 41-member Council of Europe.  This adjudicates on the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, to which Ireland is a signatory, but has not, for good reason, as yet incorporated into Irish law.

The European Court of Justice at Luxembourg, is a court of the European Union.

2. If the Charter gets into an EU treaty, it becomes part of EU law.

3. This would enable the European Court of Justice (Luxembourg), (ECJ), an EU institution, to rely on it in court cases.

4.  It would also mean that, because of the superiority of EU law over national law, it would open the door to the ECJ getting control of the human rights of 350 million Europeans.  It would make the ECJ superior to national Supreme courts and Constitutions, and to the Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg).

5. Human rights issues crop up everywhere.  The result would mean greater control of every aspect of the public and private lives of citizens.

The Charter could be either treated as a non-binding political declaration, or it could be incorporated or cited in a formal treaty.  If it is the latter, it means a huge increase in the judicial power of the EU and its Luxembourg based Court of Justice.

(But even if it is the former, it is nothing to be complacent about:  the ECJ could come to cite the Charter, and so it would gradually become adopted by osmosis.   Note too, that if the Charter is treated as a non-binding declaration, no referendum will be held, where that issue is concerned, at any rate. - Ed)

In his report, Coughlan gives 10 reasons why the EU should not control our human rights, as would happen if the Charter is incorporated into December's Treaty of Nice:

1. The EU wants to grab contol of human rights as part of  its effort to become a centralised undemocratic Superstate.
It already has its own currency, and will have its own army from 2003.  (A recent conference on Policing and Human Rights had some hints of a pan-EU police force - Ed.)

2. If the EU is concerned about human rights, why does it not just sign up to the existing (Strasbourg) system as another state?

But that would make the EU Court subordinate to the Strasbourg Court, something intolerable to those seeking to use fundamental rights as a vital political instrument.

3.  The Council of Europe's Court of Human Rights is not a player on the pitch, seeking to add to its own competence and powers by its judgements.

The ECJ, on the other hand, is charged by the Treaty with furthering the objectives of the Union.  It has displayed its vested interest in many of its legal judgements over the years, Coughlan says.

"If the EU Court gets hold of our human rights, the door will be opened for it to rule every aspect of our lives in quite a new and detailed way."

4.  In the words of one of its own judges, the EU Court is a "court with a mission".  That mission is to extend the competence and powers of the EU as widely as possible, and to fulfill the objective of the Treaties, which include pushing European integraton to the uttermost.

"Legal judgements should not be subordinate to political goals in this way", he says.

5.  The conferrral of a human rights competence on the EU is not necessary, and a duplication.

The aim is, in fact, political. As is illustrated by experience in the US, enforcement by a central legislative body and a federal supreme Court, can be a powerful weapon in subordinating national and local courts and Constitutions to central rule.

6.  There would be a prospect of coflicting jurisdictions with the Strasbourg court, and the emergence of conflicting jurisprudence and case-law.

7. The attempt to impose a common standard of fundamental rights ignores the fact that there exist in Europe two quite different systems of criminal justice, and hence two quite different conceptions of what constitutes human rights and fundamental freedoms.

These are the inquisitorial family of systems, indigenous to the continent, and the adversarial system, common to the English-speaking world.

It is in regard to the machinery of criminal justice, particularly relating to arrest and detention, that differences are evident in the two systems in the extent to which they respect, or alternatively, trample on citizen's basic rights.

8.  Human rights cover virtually every field of human life, eg, the right to free assembly an dactivity, to property, to religious practice, family life, children, etc.   While there may be widespread consensus on general ideas, differences on detail are strongly defended.

A "court with a mission" is hardly the appropriate forum for determining such matters.

9. Again, the differences on detail stem from the absence of a consensus on the source of human rights, such as the natural law.  This absence then prevents a rational analysis and evaluation of conflicting positions.

The different member States have evolved different positions on the vast array of complex issues covered by "human rights".
Should the ECJ, Coughlan asks, be empowered to impose harmonized human rights standards on the basis of this Charter that override all such differences for 350 million Europeans?

10.  The peoples of the various EU countries possess their human rights already, under theeir national Constitutions and the European Convention on Human Rights.  They do not come to them from the EU, as putting this Charter into a Treaty would imply.

End of report

Editor's note:

The above report has been condensed, with permission, from an article appearing in "The Irish Family" on 13 October 2000.

The full article can be obtained from "The Irish Family", PO Box 7, Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

John Paul II and the Charter
The following is an extract from comments made by Pope John Paul II during a meeting with the presidents of the parliaments of the European Union who met with him Sept. 23 in Rome:

"In adopting a new charter," the Pope said, "no matter what shape it may take in the future, the Union must not forget that Europe is the cradle of the notions of person and freedom, and that these notions emerged because the seed of Christianity was planted deep in Europe's soil. In the Church's thought, the person is inseparable from the human society in which he or she develops."

The Holy Father continued, "Declarations of rights in some way point out the inviolable area that society regards as not being subject to interference from the play of human power. What is more, it is recognized that power exists in order to protect this area, whose focus is the human person.

"Thus, society acknowledges that it is at the service of its members and their natural aspiration to find fulfillment as individuals and social beings. This aspiration, which is part of the person's nature, corresponds to the person's inherent rights, such as the right to life, physical and mental integrity; and freedom of conscience, thought and religion."

On  Sept. 18, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, expressed his concern over the way that this fundamental text
is being written (cf. ZENIT, Sept. 19, ZE00091911).

The cardinal pointed out a grave contradiction: On one hand, the charter
hopes to be the basis of the common values held by the European Union, but,
on the other, it fails to define them. The preamble appeals to the European
peoples to "share a peaceful future," founded simply "on common values."
However, it does not identify them.

Cardinal Ruini further stated that the text fails to mention the historical and cultural roots -- and much less the Christian roots -- that gave life to Europe. These roots have constituted Europe's "soul," and "today can also inspire its identity and mission," he added.

(Zenit, Rome, Sept 2000)