Identity Politics

One in eight who voted No to the Lisbon treaty say they did so to protect Irish identity.

What does that mean?

Is it simply a polite way of saying no to immigration, the reason given by one percent of those asked?

Perhaps. But I think there’s another meaning.

After asking voters why they voted, Eurobarometer then asked what they thought the consequences would be.

The answers are illuminating.

Five in six said it allowed Ireland keep its neutrality, four in five mentioned taxation, and three in four believed we could negotiate a better deal.

Incredibly, three in five No voters seem to think the EU wants to impose euthanasia, gay marriage and abortion.

This is the identity issue for Catholic conservatives. And if the government re-runs Lisbon, it’s the weak link.

Abortion law is is already ringfenced, and euthanasia was never a runner, so an EU declaration on these is easy enough.

Gay marriage is trickier. The Irish government is already considering civil unions.

But with senior ministers Dermot Ahern and Mary Coughlan alreadyon record against civil unions, the bill may be sacrificed.

Is our government so cynical as to sell a Yes vote built on inequality?

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.