In an earlier post, I looked at the support that prominent Catholics have given to the European project. Of particular note in recent weeks have been a few Jesuits, making their voice heard first in their objection to Cóir’s misuse of Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ.
In this video, Fr Edmond Grace, SJ, answers the question why we should be voting on the Lisbon Treaty again, given last year’s rejection.
Also worth checking, is a blog by Fr Fergus O’Donoghue, SJ, who has posted a few items recently on the Lisbon Treaty.
The ‘No’ pamphlet also showed a picture of a large hypodermic with the caption: “Will we get EUthanasia?” Well, that kind of disgusting and disingenuous question is what we repeatedly got during the infamous divorce referendum debate in the 1980s. And my answer is that if we do get EUthanasia, the very first people we should EUthanase are the fine fellows who went in for EUthanasia scare tactics before the referendum.
A comparable piece of mischief was at work with the pamphlet’s sly and grubby query: “Do you wish to split up the family farm?” Ah, that one again.
At least, the ‘No’ pamphlet spares us any wheedling insinuations about conscription and neutrality — perhaps because the authors know that, aside from the fir-bolg Left, as characterised by the Rossport potties, most people know that our neutrality is dead. We are Europeans. Our soldiers must be part of the European Reaction Force, and have already served in Chad within that military framework. .
Sunday’s This Week program featured an item on Cóir, who are claiming to represent the views of Catholic voters. They also interviewed prominent Catholic commentator, David Quinn, who had changed his mind from last year. He voted No last year because of his concerns on issues of religious sensitivity, but is now satisfied with the guarantees on abortion, religious education and the family, and will be voting Yes this time. The Tribune’s Conor McMorrow also featured an insightful article on Cóir, which is well worth reading.
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In fact, while the Roman Catholic hierarchy has not taken an official position on the Treaty, they have assured voters that there is no reason whatever that a conscientious Catholic could not vote for the Treaty.
In a recent Irish Times op-ed, the Jesuit priest Edmund Grace, SJ, wrote in response to the claims that the Lisbon Treaty could threaten our stance on abortion.
If we vote for Lisbon, we will be insisting on one area of fundamental disagreement, but in a context of trust and mutual respect. As the underlying weakness of the secular world view becomes clear we will be in a better position to make the case for the equal rights of the unborn based on a world view that protects liberty by placing it in its rightful context of human solidarity and mutual respect.
Before last year’s referendum, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said, “I do not believe the Lisbon Treaty changes the current position with regard to Ireland’s position on abortion within the European Union”. At a speech at the Institute for International and European Affairs entitled, “Christian values and Irish membership of the EU“, Archbishop Martin spoke quite positively of the European Union, “In many ways Brussels is not the problem, but it is recognised more and more as an essential part of the solution.”
Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI spoke in 2004, as Cardinal Ratzinger, spoke favourably about the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In a speech entitled “Europe: Its Spiritual Foundation: Yesterday, Today and in the Future“, while acknowledging the challenges for Roman Catholics in areas such as marriage, he saw these as something to work constructively with. Ultimately, as can be seen at the end of this lengthy speech, he concluded by stating that “The Charter of Fundamental Rights may be a first step, a sign Europe is once again consciously seeking its soul.”
Perhaps Catholics looking for moral guidance could turn to these members of the church hierarchy rather than those who would set themselves up as defenders of the faith.
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On Karen Coleman’s The Wide Angle, a representative of Cóir was caught out lying in his interpretation of a Labour Court ruling. In attempting to use the EU rulings in other countries to claim that Irish labour law could be overturned, Manus MacMeanmain claimed that a ruling of the Irish Labour Court backed him up.
Towards the end of this segment, Kevin Duffy of the Labour Court called on the line to correct Mr MacMeanmain’s claims. You can hear him hear (12:15), “What the Court has said is exactly the opposite of what your speaker claims … The Court had simply stated that in the absence of regulation in Ireland, companies could operate under other rules, but of course, there is regulation, all of which has the force of law”. He said that Mr MacMeanmain either hasn’t read the judgement he refers to, or doesn’t understand it (14:25). Mr Duffy and the Labour Court were taking no position one way or other on the Lisbon Treaty or the campaign, but he felt that in circumstances where the Court was being misrepresented for political purposes, he had a duty to correct this.
It puts Joe Higgins comments on Prime Time last Thursday in a very interesting light.
Click on picture for video.
Over the next few weeks there is no doubt that a few interesting characters are going to pop up and get themslves noticed. Cóir’s “legal expert” Brian Hickey, who received a diploma in legal studies in July 2009, raised some eyebrows when he appeared on Newstalk’s The Wide Angle on Sunday.
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When Mr. Hickey was asked: “Do you think we should be members of the European Union?” The response was,
“Cóir would not have a specific position on that. Different Cóir members would have different views on that matter. My personal view and I would stress that it is a personal view is that we should not be members.“
This is a worrying trend that demonstrates the lack of coherence and foresight by those espousing a NO vote. Whatever misunderstandings people may have about the Lisbon Treaty, it is a minority faction of society that would wish Ireland to exit the EU. Even more worrying is that Cóir as an organisation has not agreed whether Ireland should remain in the EU.
Why after all that this country has benefitted from the EU would we listen to the views of an organization that want us out the Union?
Ireland has a high minimum wage of €8.65. Can this be changed the EU? With or without the Lisbon Treaty, the answer is no. We’ve heard a lot of talk about the Laval judgement, where a Latvian firm working in Sweden successfully paid the Latvian wage rate. This was only possible because Sweden has no legal minimum wage. The EU respects the various traditions in each country in matters of workers’ rights so that the minimum wage can only be decided by Irish law.
Also, the Lisbon Treaty will bring the Charter of Fundamental Rights into EU law, bringing protection for workers in 11 separate areas, which has been welcomed by trade unions. This was further guaranteed with the Solemn Declaration on Workers’ Rights and Social Policy which the EU governments agreed in June.
Minimum wage in Ireland after Lisbon: €8.65