This fair lady is Marian Harkin, Irish MEP and stalwart of the 'Yes' campaign in the Lisbon (2) referendum. Rather delightfully she returns to the ancient shibboleth so beloved of the Yes sifde, that a rejection of the Treaty by the Irish would mean that Ireland woyuld be subservient to the UK. Patent nonsense of course, but plays well amongst the greener of her audience.
Apart from anything else Irish cultural trade and relations are as strong with the US as with the UK. Not only that, even if, which I dispute, there was a risk of Ireland falling into the UK's political penumbra, the risk of that is surely better than the certainty of being subservient to Brussels? After all with independence comes the right to choose your friends. Whereas the abject surrender to Brussels brings along with it the end of those rights.
Anyhow, this anti-Brit, like many on the 'Yes' side is firmly against any intervention from the likes of Farage being in Dublin.
So imagine my surprise and amusement when she sent this round this morning,
This couldn't be soliciting help from abroad could it? And who are these people and where does their finance come from?
Many people have been asking me whether they can help in any way in the Irish referendum campaign, and the answer is, of course, that a national referendum is, by definition, an internal national matter, even where, as in this case, the repercussions have an effect across Europe.
That being said, Irish people resident in Belgium and indeed all over Europe have set up a "Europe for Ireland" group to promote a Yes vote to the Lisbon Treaty and which is helping in whatever way it can within the rules. Anyone interested in contributing should visit their website at:
As they say on their website: "Whether you are Irish or not, we need YOUR
help... You can send us an e-mail of support, sign up for updates, donate, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Linked In , contact your family or friends in Ireland, tell us your ideas/suggestions as to what we should do."
I invite you all to visit their site.
Marian Harkin MEP IRELAND
Well, the Chairman is a former Eurocrat named Kevin Leydon. He now runs a lobby firm in Brussels specialising in clean fuel for vehicles. Before that he worked for DG Energy oddly enough as head of unit working in, surprise "Clean Urban Transport".
Vice Chairman is Malachy Vallely, who has the rather splendid title of Director of The Louvain Institute for Ireland in Europe. (Which to be fair has a rather interesting historical project about the flight of the Earls). Looking at its website it is hard to believe that it is not at least in part funded bythe Commission - but no mention of funding is made. He is a UK citizen, being an Ulsterman.
Treasurer is Benoit Keane. Mr Keane is a high flying lawyer with McDermott Will & Emery/Stanbrook LLP and part of the Brussels (UK) Labour Party -(here trying to set up a Brussels wing of the fabian Societry). Mr Keane to be fair has argued publically in favour of a referendum taking place in published papers.
Press officer is Jim Murray, a well known Brussels presence who for 18 years headed up the pseudo consumer rights organisation BEUC. BEUC, as its website admits is funded by the EU (48% of a budget of 2,703,000 in 2008). Mr Murray is now a commercial lobbyist in Brussels.
Others involved include Linda Barry, a recent intern in Charle McCreevy's cabinet, Ireland's EU Commissioner. Looking at her groups and activities a truer than true believer.
Colm Leydon, who doesn't have much web prescence but who may or may not hold this pos(remunerated we don't know) via the chairman who has a remarkably similar name.
Eoghan Magionn a recent law graduate based in Brussels.
A deeply representative selection of those who support the 'Yes'. Idealistic, or up to their armpits in EU diverted taxpayers cash.