On Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin reported back to the Dáil from the weekend’s EU Council meeting in Brussels. The main issue of concern was the implications of the lack of an agreement between the Commission and London prior to Britain leaving the EU at the end of December.
Martin echoed the Brussels line that the British had contravened the terms of withdrawal. All of them appear to be missing the point that the British electorate voted to leave, and what they do now is their own business subject to the normal strictures governing trade and other relationships between sovereign entities. Or the one which has subsumed that position in the case of the Irish state.
The sudden concern expressed over the implications Brexit might have for the Irish fishing sector is a bit ironic given the manner in which the same sector has been sold down the river for half a century. Martin’s claim that Barnier and the others go to sleep every night worrying about “peace in Ireland” is likewise frankly risible.
You would expect nothing other than the craven attitude of the Irish state towards the EU, but the sycophancy of those who were formerly opposed to the surrender of the Republic’s sovereignty is something to behold. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald referred to the “British Government’s use of Ireland’s future” by London as a bargaining chip, but not to a similar tactic by Brussels.
She also referred to the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement which – almost a quarter of a century since it was regarded by Sinn Féin as a temporary arrangement on the road to a united Ireland – has become a sacred cow underpinned by a seemingly perpetual undemocratic coalition of the two main nationalist and unionist parties which for the foreseeable future will include Sinn Féin and the DUP.
Fianna Fáil trotted out platitudes about ending Partition for decades without ever doing anything meaningful to achieving that object. It would seem that “don’t hit me with the Good Friday Agreement in my arms” has become the Sinn Féin equivalent. What they also now share in common is an abject deference to our new overlords in Brussels, although in fairness Sinn Féin manage to serve both the Queen in London and the Kaiser in Berlin, to butcher the Citizen Army slogan of 1916.
The party has, like the pigs on Animal Farm, completely bought into the deception that the EU is looking after our interests. How anyone can claim this to be the case following the bank bailout which is estimated to cost us almost €65,000,000,000 or the €17,000,000,000 net contribution to the Covid fund agreed in July is a mystery And yet this was celebrated by the Irish elite as somehow constituting a victory.
John Brady, the Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow, spoke of the “spectre of Brexit” casting its shadow over “all aspects of EU activity,” and how the Brits were seemingly now opposed to food safety standards. What does he think will happen?: British bakers grinding mortar into loaves of bread? Creameries diluting milk with polluted river water?
It is embarrassing in fact to hear an alleged Irish republican – I would never describe him as that dreadful being a “nationalist” – using exactly the same sort of bromides deployed by Irish shoneens more than a century ago who opposed Irish independence because if Old Mother England left us to our own devices, it would be pigs ating off the table before you could say Top of the Morning, and us all starving to death again because we would have more childer than potatoes to feed them with.
Most pathetically of all, Sinn Féin now seemingly supports the EU’s claim to everyone else’s fishing waters. Up until the time that Sinn Féin performed a somersault on Irish independence and sovereignty, the con that was perpetrated on our fishing sector was cited as the main reason for the party opposing the EU, and indeed for arguing in favour of a withdrawal.
The main sticking point now in the Brexit denouement is the stance taken by Britain on their fishing waters, which the EU seems to think ought to still remain mostly under its control even when Britain is no longer a member. Padráig Mac Lochlainn of Sinn Féin backs the Brussels line and cited the once rightly derided Common Fisheries Policy as a reason why the EU is correct on this.
Yes, the same CFP that organised the plunder of the Irish fisheries. In 2008, Sinn Féin tabled a motion in the Dáil calling for a complete overhaul of the CFP. In moving the motion the then Spokesperson on fishing, Martin Ferris declared:
“the Common Fisheries Policy has been the bedrock of the disastrous mismanagement of the Irish fishery since this state joined the EU. Unless and until an Irish Government reverses the shameful sell out made at that time, we will be merely tinkering around and allowing Brussels to engineer the effective liquidation of the Irish fishing sector.”
He also referred to the conclusion of a 2002 review group on the CFP that “Ireland has only a small piece of its own cake.” Martin Ferris was completely correct in his assessment which is as valid today as it was then.
If other European countries have had the cojones to reject this economic betrayal then they ought to be the object of admiration by Irish nationalists, not the butt of a former nationalist party’s derision which is reflective of how far along the road they have travelled with the rest of them whose main mission in life seems to be to deceive the Irish people about the real consequences of our surrender to a bigger bully than the one across the Irish Sea.