Lisbon treaty result strengthens constitutional democracy

In 1922, Michael Collins, Arthur Griffith and Kevin O’Higgins took a constitution jointly agreed on by anti-treaty and pro-treaty representatives and handed it to the British for deconstruction. Collins then called off his pact with de Valera a few short days before the elections and published the amended constitution on the day people were due to vote. Thus the constitution was deemed to be approved. Harry Boland commented that he felt like “two cents” for ever having believed that Collins was genuine; de Valera later wrote that trying to work with Collins on the pact was the worst day’s work he ever did for the Republic.

Such anti-democratic measures are routinely rationalised by media and historians as correct on ideological grounds. Thus, the government’s bullying campaign in favour of the EU constitution – repackaged as the Lisbon treaty – with its disinformation and deliberate lack of detail about the measures they demanded the people accept, is nothing new.

Fortunately, in 1937 the people approved a constitution drafted by de Valera and his team of legal experts, the first successful constitution in Europe to contain human rights provisions. [1] Therefore, with compliant European leaders refusing the people the chance to vote on Lisbon, the Irish government could not follow suit due to a provision of de Valera’s inconvenient document. In 2008, just as in 1922, the people were faced with a united front of Church, State and unions, with overt threats of what would happen should they dare to side with the lunatic/commie/terrorist opposition. The media are roaring against the audacity of the Mob, its function to justify European leaders (especially Sarkozy) who say the decision should be ignored; which shows how right the voters were.

[1] Gerard Hogan, constitutional lawyer, at the De Valera conference in UCD in September 2005.


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