Has Ireland Lost its Sovereignty?

TonyB

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Brian Lenihan denied on Newsnight last night that Ireland had lost its sovereignty. We hear claims that Ireland is insolvent, that it has become a ward of the ECB. We need to get a little perspective here.

National sovereignty relates to Ireland's independence as a state, which is respected as an elevated norm in International Law. Ireland's sovereignty is not, and can not be compromised by the bond markets. The Irish government has not offered the sovereignty of the state as collateral, the bond markets cannot take Cork as part payment, and it is ludicrous to suggest otherwise.

That said, the extent to which we supplicate ourselves to international and supernational institutions can have a bearing; the degree to which we cede authority over our lands, our assets and our citizenry as a state to non-national bodies corporate; and the measures that we take to generally allow encroachment upon the conduct of our own affairs does have the effect of undermining the exercise of sovereign power.

It was therefore with deep trepidation that I read in Morgan Kelly's article about "The Germans", a group of ECB "observers" who have taken up residence in the department of finance. On the one hand, observers are fine. We have observers all the time from the OECD commenting on the conduct of our elections, and indeed on the conduct of elections in other parts of the world. Indeed, civil servants, retired teachers, and other Irish citizens routinely act as observers of elections in other parts of the world on behalf of the OECD. But the suggestion is that this group is not merely observing, but acting as an an advance scouting party ahead of the invasion.

You lose sovereignty in one of two ways. Either your country is invaded, and dominated militarily; even then, it takes the acknowledgment of the international community of nation states to accept the shift in sovereignty and legitimise the new landlords. Or, the government of the state invites in the new regime, offering itself up. There are different reasons for doing this - for political reasons, as in Czechoslovakia in 1968; or for economic reasons, as in Argentina and the IMF in the 1990s.

There is of course a trade-off. Ireland can guarantee its sovereignty, but not its economy. If it is to guarantee its economy, it may need to accede to intervention, and therefore - temporarily at least - compromising its sovereignty. Brian Lenihan's answer is wrong, because sovereignty is not a binary thing. Ireland, as a member of the international community, the UN, the EU, the OECD and countless other supernational and international organisations, has already compromised its sovereignty by subjecting itself to international law. The question is not whether we lose our sovereignty, but rather how much of it we can hold on to.
 


TonyB

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Nice OP - why are you posting it in Current Affairs instead of Economy?
Is national sovereignty an economic issue? It's current because of Lenihan's statement last night. But given it's a reaction to bond market pressure and economic issues generally, I guess it could be comfortable in that section too.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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Brian Lenihan denied on Newsnight last night that Ireland had lost its sovereignty. We hear claims that Ireland is insolvent, that it has become a ward of the ECB. We need to get a little perspective here.

National sovereignty relates to Ireland's independence as a state, which is respected as an elevated norm in International Law. the bond markets cannot take Cork as part payment, and it is ludicrous to suggest otherwise.
Might actually be a good idea, after all didn't they hav those Peoples Republic of Cork T-Shirts a while back, so we may not exactly be giving up part of Ireland :)
 

kerdasi amaq

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The problem with sovereignty here, is that, our politicians have been bought off to use it for the benefit of foreigners. That is clear from their actions.

The government is failing in its duty to enforce the law. i.e. wind up bankrupt corporations.

P.S. Lenihan said "economic sovereignty". I would say that there is no such thing.
 

vanla sighs

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It's a matter of semantics really. For me at least when someone says "we've lost our sovereignty", I know exactly what they mean. We have lost our financial independence/sovereignty, in that sense we have lost our sovereignty, if you see what I mean. In the strict sense of the word have we lost our sovereignty, no. But again, it's semantics.

I think at the current time you'll get many Brits who'll be delighted that Ireland is in such dire economic straits. I heard one saying they'll be delighted when Ireland comes grovelling to the UK for money. That's not likely to happen though. We will go cap in hand to the EU stabilisation fund however (probably a mistake) Perhaps we should bypass that (if we are "allowed" to) and go straight to the IMF. The EU will want all sorts of concessions from us : corporate tax etc, whereas the IMF will want us to make savings but won't care too much where they come from (from what I heard)

Germany has now destroyed any hope Ireland had of raising funds on the open market. We've been blitzkreiged.........

Wonder if we could enter into a Compact of Free Association with the US? Hmmmmm?
 

cedissapointed

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our sovereignty is owned currently by the germans,if we cannot honour our agreements we will be on the EU blacklist,and that is how our financial status with the EU stands.
 

cedissapointed

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I can see us on the blacklist in the EU before too long,it doesn't even matter who we vote in after the next election,we are in trouble anyway,and given the fact the DAIL has not been REFORMED,it is still the same situation,different party same crap.
 

Ruaidhri

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80% of Irish laws come from EU and 85% of the EU laws are from unelected bodies.

90% of Irish exports are from foreign multinationals.

So I would be inclined to agree that Ireland lost its sovereignty a long time ago.
 

Franzoni

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It's gone with the money only the armalite can bring it back.....

Do a Cuba or a 1970's Iran and stage a coup.....become a renegade state for a few years and then let the yanks pump money into us to 'return' us to democracy....

Marshall plan PT 2.....
 

TonyB

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80% of Irish laws come from EU and 85% of the EU laws are from unelected bodies.

90% of Irish exports are from foreign multinationals.

So I would be inclined to agree that Ireland lost its sovereignty a long time ago.
where did you get those numbers?
 

McDave

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I think Ireland has lost an important aspect of its sovereignty, but not in the main ways you suggest (militarily or act of political surrender).

Without becoming overly academic, I'd suggest the state of sovereignty is attained through assertion of force. We did this 100 years ago. Sovereignty is maintained through exercise of power and hard work. Sovereignty is lost through weakness, whether this weakness is absolute or relative.

In recent decades (going back to Haughey and probably to Lynch), Ireland's inner strength and ability to project power, no matter how benign, has been dissipated through corruption, complacency and laziness. This corruption was politically led, but electorally endorsed. The behaviour of the Ahern-McCreevy-Cowen regime was the nadir of this process of dissipation. The Cowen-Lenihan footnote is the end-game - the final surrender of political sovereignty, i.e. the ability to take independent decisions to guarantee the welfare of citizens.

IMO, our participation in the EU played no role in our loss of sovereignty. If anything, it provided templates for prudent action, templates we wilfully chose to ignore. While other countries have gone on from strength to strength in the face of international competition, we have, for the most part, reverted to our 1980s social and economic performance level and mindset.

We have regressed.
 

neiphin

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"i dont accept that"
"we have always shared our sovereignty with our european partners"
as paxman looks on in disbelief
 

Ruaidhri

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where did you get those numbers?
80% OF LAWS COME FROM THE EU

It is debatable what the exact figure is.

David Hannan is a British Tory Mep. He says it is around 85%
Eighty-five per cent of our laws come from Brussels – Telegraph Blogs


Fine Gael claims that it is around 30% but it was later claimed that they weren't including EU regulations which would have made the figure higher. I can't find the original article but heres a thread about it.
http://www.politics.ie/europe/71638-irish-times-wrong-about-30-eu-laws-claim.html

House of Commons library claims that the figure is around 50%.
Up to half of British laws come from Europe, House of Commons Library claims - Telegraph

The figure that I would be most inclined to believe is that is is roughly 80% . I've seen it many times form reputable sources which is why I think this is the right figure. Here's just a few that i've seen on google search.

Since the EU makes 80% of our laws in the UK, can you name any of them? - Yahoo! UK & Ireland Answers

According to this report 80% of our laws now come from the EU - boards.ie

http://www.wiseupjournal.com/?p=945

Is It true 80% of British laws are made by the EU?.? - Yahoo! UK & Ireland Answers

90% OF IRISH EXPORTS ARE FROM MULTINATIONALS

Because of Irelands low corporate tax the majority of companies come here are foreign multinationals and it is generally accepted that 90% is the correct figure for how much they export

http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1016593.shtml

http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/1_200_foreign_companies_account_for_90_percent_of__3111.shtml

http://www.finfacts.ie/irelandeconomy/usmultinationalprofitsireland.htm

http://www.finfacts.ie/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_10003995.shtml

85% of EU laws are from Unelected bodies

The three main political bodies of the EU are the council of minister,EU Commission and EU parliament. The EU Parliament is the only one of the three that is directly elected and by no coincidence it is the one with the least power.

To see that 85% of EU laws are carried out by unelected bodies it is best to read the book "The Unseen hand" which gives more details on the account. The links I have aren't great as they aren't from the best sources.

http://www.workerspartyireland.net/eu.html

http://en.euabc.com/word/2149
 
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TonyB

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It is debatable what the exact figure is.

David Hannan is ...[/url]
Well, first off, Hannan is a Euroskeptic nut job and I wouldn't rely on his directions to the post office. The rest of the sources you quote are of limited validity, in part because they don't apply specifically to Ireland, and in part because they are anecdotal or assumed.

What I will grant you is that a large proportion of *new* laws are sourced in Europe, and a considerable portion of market regulations are European, because we have agreed to be part of a Common market.

However, our legal system is based on precedent, and therefore most of our laws are actually in force since before the EU was actually established. In addition, our Constitution governs all of our laws, and the interpretation of our laws (which in turn takes precedence over written statute) is delivered from our courts.

So - the very great majority of our law is Irish (or pre-1922 British) law; a good deal of new laws, particularly laws governing the operation of the single market, come from Brussels.

Also, in relation to the democratic deficit (85% unelected) the key lawmakers are the parliament who are elected, and the Commissioners who are appointed by elected governments. But there is a democratic deficit, that is true.
 

selkies

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Well, first off, Hannan is a Euroskeptic nut job and I wouldn't rely on his directions to the post office. The rest of the sources you quote are of limited validity, in part because they don't apply specifically to Ireland, and in part because they are anecdotal or assumed.

What I will grant you is that a large proportion of *new* laws are sourced in Europe, and a considerable portion of market regulations are European, because we have agreed to be part of a Common market.

However, our legal system is based on precedent, and therefore most of our laws are actually in force since before the EU was actually established. In addition, our Constitution governs all of our laws, and the interpretation of our laws (which in turn takes precedence over written statute) is delivered from our courts.

So - the very great majority of our law is Irish (or pre-1922 British) law; a good deal of new laws, particularly laws governing the operation of the single market, come from Brussels.

Also, in relation to the democratic deficit (85% unelected) the key lawmakers are the parliament who are elected, and the Commissioners who are appointed by elected governments. But there is a democratic deficit, that is true.
Who appoints the people who aren't elected?

Also all those figures are completely meaningless without at least one example of a law that the Irish government wouldn't have passed anyway that was decided upon by unelected EU officials.
 

McDave

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80% of Irish laws come from EU and 85% of the EU laws are from unelected bodies.
Many of the laws from the EU concern equality, consumer rights and environmental protection, and wouldn't have passed here in a decade's worth of Sundays left to our own devices. You might better ask yourself the question, "Why didn't we pass 100% of those laws ourselves before the EU passed them?"

As for the tripe about unelected bodies, framework legislation is adopted by the member states acting through the Council of Ministers. Those ministers are members of governments duly appointed by their democratic processes. Incidentally, many of those laws are already in existence in some of those member states, and the EU laws are harmonised versions.

As for the legislation coming from the Commission, it is for the most part implementation of technical aspects of legislation passed by the Council. In limited cases the Commission has power to impose decisions through specifically delegated powers.

This garbage about unelected bodies is just that - garbage. It's a total misrepresentation of the EU legislative process. Would you really like the whole process to overtly replicate national processes? Because if you would, you're actually making the case for a federal EU state.
 


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