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I WAS interested to hear Judge Frank Clarke refer to the Crotty Supreme Court judgment of 1987 on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland recently.
Raymond Crotty was my father. Judge Clarke was quite right to point out that the case was lost in some areas relating to economics.
As I recall, the Supreme Court found that because we were in the then EEC, which was an economic community, there was no case to be answered in relation to economic issues. Essentially the Supreme Court ruled that when we joined the EEC in 1973 we were part of a developing economic community and that most of the provisions of the Single European Act, which my father challenged, were part of that development and therefore did not need to be ratified by a referendum.
However, the foreign policy provisions in the Single European Act did require a referendum because they were the start of a move towards a political union, then incipient and embryonic, but now culminating in Lisbon and the EU constitution. Having read the treaty I cannot conceive of an area of legislation which is not covered by it. In constitutional terms, Lisbon would turn Ireland into a regional or provincial state within a new federal-style EU, with its constitution and laws having legal primacy over the Irish constitution and laws in any cases of conflict between the two. Ireland would thus formally cease to be a sovereign independent state in its own right in the international community of states and become like a provincial state inside an EU federation. The inevitable implication is that this will be the last time the Government will be obliged to give the people of Ireland a referendum on an EU treaty.
If I am incorrect I would very much appreciate it if someone could let me know in what circumstances an Irish government would be obliged to hold another referendum on Europe?
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