Bring Back the Punt - a critique on Ireland’s EU membership
It has been 23 years since Ireland adopted the Euro currency under the European Union. Arguably our EU membership has helped to improve Irish roads and infrastructure, yet it has been a disaster culturally and environmentally, while also facilitating foreign corporate interests and in the process harming ordinary Irish workers and Irish business. In this piece I hope to persuade the reader that it can only be in our best interests if Ireland implements a hard-exit from the EU.
In the Summer of 2019 I attended a protest along with the local people of Falcarragh. Ordinary residents and workers had mobilised to protest against the creation of a German Oyster farm in Falcarragh bay. The EU-led proposal would serve to damage the natural beauty spot of Falcarragh bay while also plundering the area of it’s natural resources. While it is true that such a venture could have created additional opportunities for local jobs, the control of such labour would not have been Irish led and people would have to work for foreign interests in Ireland. In this way, the muscle memory of foreign imperialism in Ireland at the hands of English landlords was still raw in the minds of the collective community and the individual protester.
EU-led legislation backed up by regulatory bodies in the Irish Free state has no interest in Irish workers at home, rather they work for the interest of EU imperialism. I will demonstrate this with an example, EU-led regulation demands that fish now be weighed on the pier as opposed to at the Irish factory. The ramifications for this are vast. For it is surely an onerous task to separate tonnes of fish from ice and water on the pier-side for weighing and without the freshness of the fish being compromised in some way. Indeed, just last fortnight in the fishing port of Killybegs, 1,200 tonnes of fish from a trawler was refused transfer from the pier to local fish factories for sorting and packaging, and instead the haul was forced to be turned away to be used elsewhere for generating feed in foreign fish farms. The ramifications of such circumstances (not uncommon) on local Irish business and local working class people cannot be underestimated. The latter of which depends on the availability of work in the fish factories to keep themselves above the poverty line and to put food on the table. Indeed, following the refusal by the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA) to allow the haul to be transferred for local processing some 60+ workers were out of work and 5 fish processing lines empty. It appears the basis of the issue is that the European Commission has lost faith in the monitoring process of the SFPA and can implement such directives on a mere whim. Other trawlers are now hesitant to dock at the port of Killybegs, either implementing a U-turn or landing their haul in Derry and transporting it back to Killybegs by road with additional cost to climate and producer. Current projections estimate a loss of 450 jobs should things be allowed to continue on the current trajectory. A public meeting was recently held on the issue with representatives from major political parties in attendance, but whether or not they were there to protect the ordinary Irish worker remains to be seen. It is clear that a growing thirst for militancy is developing should things be allowed to continue as they are. Workers rights in Ireland continues to remain somewhat limited, and if fish is denied entry into fishing ports then there is simply no work available for ordinary people. The reality of the situation is that in fishing towns across the country, the very livelihoods of the local working class inhabitants depend solely upon their freedom (or lack thereof) to fish Irish waters as they see fit. The people of Ireland should control their own natural resources and decide their own quotas as opposed to the interests of EU-led imperialists. The regulatory bodies of the Free State government such as the SFPA, who employ Irish people, are forcing such EU regulation and compliance onto their own people and communities. It is telling however that the mainstream media and capitalist stake-holders blame current events not solely on the EU but instead on an 'over-interpretation by the SFPA on EU regulation.' Such is the over-reliance on EU financial donations some corporate entities seem to fear EU reprisals should they speak out against EU membership. Yet the reality is the cancer is EU membership itself and the head must be cut-off the snake if the ordinary Irish worker is to have any recourse and protection. In this way, the Irish Free State, and regulatory bodies within like the SFPA, are working solely for an EU-imperialist agenda as opposed to working for and on behalf of the interests, integrity and betterment of the Irish worker and local Irish business.
Perhaps the worst aspect of EU influence in Ireland was the forsaking of the Irish currency. It is the right of every sovereign nation to exercise control over it’s own financial system, institutions and expenditure. Irish currency also incorporated aspects of Irish history, culture and language through its printing in Gaelic and of the images of the nations saints, revolutionary political figureheads and scholars. EU-led fiscal policy strives to slowly airbrush such aspects of Irish history and culture into oblivion. The Irish Free State under EU-supervision has willingly allowed aspects and landmarks of the 1916 Rising in Dublin to fade into imperceptibly, notably Moore-Street (amongst other famous landmarks).
The EU (intentionally or not) seeks to homogenise it’s member states and erode their individual culture, history and heritage. This is done primarily through the erosion of national identity and by promoting an extreme form multiculturalism. It is better to be European than to be Irish or Spanish etc. In this day and age it is taboo to love one’s own country - wherever that may be. Indeed, it is only right that people be free to live and work in any country they wish, but by doing so they must respect the culture and social etiquettes of that country. The Irish diaspora are all over the world and open immigration policies in Ireland are important and diversity should be welcomed. However, that does not mean Ireland should sacrifice its cultural heritage and act in a way that is harmful to Irish workers and business solely to appease watery EU agendas.
People often comment that EU involvement in Ireland has contributed to the development of vastly improved roads and infrastructure. Ireland had the infamous ‘black spot’ signage to warn motorists of dangerous stretches of road that were prone to serious car crashes. Although a primitive safety mechanism, it was nonetheless efficacious. If we continue on the current road of EU membership our country, culture and local business interests are heading for a car crash. People fail to realise that under EU membership our natural resources and seas are slowly being plundered for foreign interest and gain. Furthermore, low-tax rates for multinational corporations has made our country a haven for liberal capitalists and globalists who exploit and wreak havoc in emerging market countries in the third world.
I will conclude with the following apt quote from Irish revolutionary and martyr Liam Mellows.
“If the Irish people do not control Irish industries, transport, money, and the soil of the country, then foreign or domestic capitalists will. And whoever controls the wealth of a country and the processes by which wealth is attained, controls also its government. Ireland, if her industries and banks were controlled by foreign capitalists, would be at the mercy of every breeze that ruffled the surface of the world’s money markets.”~ Liam Mellows
~ Gamhain MacCionaoith
mí Aibreáin, 2022
Na Cealla Beaga, Éire