Daily Mail 16.05.2008
By Tom Prendeville
In a prophetic warning from beyond the grave, it has emerged that Eamon de Valera spoke out over 50 years ago about the dangers of becoming entangled in a European Union.
It came in a speech to the Dail on July 12, 1955 - almost 53 years to the day before the vote on the Lisbon Treaty - when the founder of Fianna Fail had returned from a meeting in Strasbourg.
Dev had been to a council of Europe meeting at a time when Ireland was been courted as a member of a new European alliance.
In a speech to a packed chamber, the then Taoiseach warned Ireland could lose its independence, control of the economy and become subject to laws that were not in our interests. Many of these outcomes are feared by Lisbon No campaigners.
And in the run-up to the June 12 vote, the words of one of Ireland’s greatest political figures may be significant for people more than half a century on.
Incredibly, Eamon de Valera’s stark message also warned about the dangers of a European Constitution and getting entangled in European-led military adventures, over which we would have no control. The events he warned so clearly and unequivocally about are now upon us, say anti-treaty campaigners.
He said: “We have always realised that we are one nation and that, as far as physical resources were concerned, our resources were not great. We also realise that, small as were our physical resources, there were spiritual ones which were of great value; and we never doubted that our nation, though a small one, in the material sense, could play a very important part in international affairs. In a Council of Europe it would have been unwise for our people to enter into a political federation which would mean that you had a European parliament deciding the economic circumstances, for example, of our life.
For economic and other reasons we had refused to be satisfied with a representative of, say, one in six, as was our representative in the British parliament. Our representative in the European Assembly was, I think, something like four out of 120. That is, instead of being out-voted on matters that we would have regarded as important interests to us by five or six to one, we would have been out-voted by 30 or 40 to one.
We did not strive to get out of that domination [British] of our affairs by outside force, or we did not get out of that position to get into a worse one.
“One of the things that made me unhappy at Strasbourg was that I saw that at the first meeting of the Assembly, instead of trying to provide organs for co-operation, there was an attempt to provide a full-blooded political constitution, there were members who were actually dividing themselves into socialists parties, and so on.”
On the issue of neutrality, he added:
“In every war fought, those who are fighting will always find good and moral causes for the fight…if the world does not learn wisdom and if there are to be future wars, there will be no dearth of good causes which war will be supposed to further. A small nation has to be extremely cautious when it enters into alliances which bring it, willy nilly, into those wars…we would not be consulted as to the terms on which it should enter”.
- Daily Mail
Here’s what Bertie Ahern said about No campaigners:
Between now and the referendum date, “there will be a whole lot of loo-las of every kind and shape drifting around this country following the same nonsense that they followed since 1972″. He went on to criticise Sinn Féin, saying “all sensible political parties” were voting ‘Yes’ but that “the loony left, led by a number of parties including Sinn Féin and Marxist-Leninist groups and the Socialist Party” were voting ‘No’.