Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ireland now only EU state to reject Lisbon treaty

The Czech Constitutional Court has ruled that the European Union's reform treaty conforms with Czech law, allowing parliament to proceed with ratification. Ireland is now the only member state which has rejected the treaty.

The lack of Czech ratification so far has raised doubts in the EU about the likely performance of the 6-month Czech EU presidency, starting in January.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Refusal to declare Lisbon dead 'treason'

REFUSING TO declare the Lisbon Treaty dead was an "act of treason the likes of which has not been seen since the Act of Union", an Oireachtas subcommittee on Europe was told yesterday.

In a brief presentation that ended in a shouting match and a walk-out, Richard Greene, chairman of anti-Lisbon group Cóir, said the sole objective of the Sub-Committee on Ireland's Future in Europe was "to attempt to overturn the democratic wishes of the majority of the Irish people who voted No" to the treaty.

The subcommittee was set up to examine the result of the Lisbon Treaty referendum and to suggest ways forward for Ireland in the aftermath of the No vote.

Mr Greene said the "brazen effrontery and blatant denial of the result shows the contempt in which the political parties hold the people.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Each TD to cost taxpayer €276k next year

EVERY single TD will cost the taxpayer more than €276,000 to fund next year, official figures have revealed.

On average, each of the 166 TDs will receive €110,000 in basic salary in 2009, an increase of €2,400 on this year’s figure.

This is because the TDs received two separate salary hikes this year, despite the country’s slide into recession and the Government urging pay restraint.

In addition to basic salary, TDs will qualify for an average of €23,800 apiece in travel expenses next year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Romanian and Bulgarian work restrictions to stay

THE GOVERNMENT is expected to impose work restrictions for Eeropean Union citizens from Romania and Bulgaria for at least another three years due to rising unemployment levels in the State.

This is despite lobbying by the Romanian and Bulgarian governments, which say the move is discriminatory and treats them as second-class EU members.

The European Commission has also encouraged member states to lift labour restrictions against the two member states.

The Government decided to impose a two-year work permit requirements on Romanian and Bulgarian nationals when the two countries joined the EU in January 2007.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Czech president: I cannot accept Martin’s hypocrisy

OUTSPOKEN Czech president Vaclav Klaus branded Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin (pictured) a “hypocrite” last night as a war of words between the two men raged.

The maverick leader’s parting shot at the end of an extraordinary three-day visit was in response to an earlier radio rebuke by Mr Martin in which he attacked eurosceptic comments by Mr Klaus as “ridiculous and inappropriate”.

Mr Martin’s undiplomatic language was initially provoked by the president’s high-profile backing of Libertas chief Declan Ganley, who Mr Klaus compared to a dissident fighting Soviet oppression.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Some EU parliaments saw Ireland's rejection of Lisbon as 'disappointing'

A DETAILED survey of all 27 parliaments in the European Union shows that some regard Ireland's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty as a "deep disappointment" and as having created a backlash.

The Bulgarian parliament states that it is "disappointed" with the Irish outcome, as do the parliaments of Slovakia and Slovenia.

The response from the German Bundestag says Ireland's rejection will create a backlash for EU reform, while stressing that ratification must continue.

Greece states that its parliament ratified the treaty by a large majority. "[We must conclude] that we all, not only our Irish colleagues, failed to provide the necessary information on the treaty's benefits and [failed] to widen the public discourse."

The Latvian assembly says ratification is not an option but a necessity, and Lithuania says that members of its parliament have expressed their regret about the Irish outcome at various meetings.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barnardos study on Irish childrens future

In the future, children will be mobile and will most likely live in another EU country at some stage, the report finds. They are also expected to be more self-reliant, changing jobs many times until they finish work at aged 70.

They will be drawn to business and creative careers rather than traditional professions like teaching , it is predicted.

Family life will be one of the slowest areas of change. Most children will be born to parents in their 30s living in suburbia and will be either an only child or have only one or two siblings.

However children born to lone parents, to a large family of low income or in a deprived area are likely to have limited educational and job opportunities.

Children at risk of poverty will most likely leave school early with minimal qualifications and low literacy and numeracy skills, the report finds.

The outlook for the health of tomorrow's children is grim as they are predicted to overeat, and to lack exercise.

Monday, November 3, 2008

EC to take on Ireland over borrowings

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said the Government would work constructively with the EU Commission when it begins formal proceedings against Ireland over the high level of borrowing in next year's Budget.

Economic Affairs Commissioner Joacin Almunia said today that he intended opening an excessive deficit procedure against Ireland.

The Government will be expected to say how it will cut borrowing levels over the next three years.

Libertas registered as political party

The leader of Libertas, Declan Ganley, has said a report in last Saturday's Irish Times that his party has been registered as a European political party is substantially correct.

On RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said the possibility of establishing Libertas as a pan-European organisation was being looked at, with the possibility of running candidates in many EU member states in the June 2009 European elections.

He said it would provide an opportunity across the EU to provide a proxy referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Immigrants urged to participate in politics

A campaign is being launched today which it is claimed could see tens of thousands of members of ethnic communities register to vote in next year's local elections.

The campaign, organised by the Africa Centre and New Community Partnership, is part of a wider campaign which includes voter education, and also a call to engage and participate in the 2009 local elections, be it as a voter or a candidate.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Government will agree to Lisbon re-run

The Irish government will give a general commitment to attempt to ratify the Lisbon Treaty when the European Council meets in early December, but will resist pressure from European leaders seeking a date for a second Irish referendum.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen is likely to give a commitment to attempt a ratification of the treaty pending declarations from the other EU member states on abortion, neutrality and tax. These declarations could be completed by the end of the year.

Cowen will tell EU leaders that a ratification will not be possible before the European Parliament elections scheduled for June, which will now have to be held under the old Nice Treaty rules.