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EU law boosts Irish citizens’ rights

AS someone who lectures on EU law, I believe it is vital that people understand the importance of voting yes.

Many campaigners who oppose the treaty argue that it gives EU law primacy over Irish law. However, this has been the case since Ireland became a member state in 1973.

The history of the past 35 years of membership has taught us that the primacy of EU law over Irish law in areas of EU competence has been hugely beneficial to Irish citizens.

Without EU law, tens of thousands of married Irish women would not have gained the right to equal treatment.

Without EU law, Irish environmental standards would remain in the dark ages and without EU law, cartels and other anti-competitive practices would not be investigated and outlawed.

Virtually every piece of progressive legislation in Ireland in recent years has had its origin in the EU.

Some suggest our Government will have less power at EU level after ratification of the treaty. We would do well to remember that successive Irish governments have often failed to implement existing EU law in favour of Irish citizens and that it has been the European Commission and the European Court of Justice which has vindicated our rights as citizens

EU law has brought our country from being an insular, peripheral nation to being a confident, vibrant one with new-found rights and freedoms. Most of the rights we take for granted today as workers, parents and citizens have come about thanks to effective EU law.

The Lisbon Treaty is primarily about allowing the EU to function more efficiently. It enhances the democratic nature of decision-making in the union. It has served us well in the past and positive changes can only have a positive outcome for Ireland.

A yes vote is a vote for a positive change.

Declan J Walsh

Faculty of Law

UCC


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