Ireland’s traditional agricultural and fishing communities have been devastated by EU membership. In a time when food security is becoming increasingly important due to the sharp rise in world population and the looming global energy crisis, the numbers working on Irish farms and at sea are only a small fraction of pre-1973 levels while more and more of our food is imported from countries who let their own people starve, destroy biodiversity and drain off scant water resources so that they can export agricultural produce to Europe and elsewhere. The Common Agricultural Policy has done nothing to develop sustainable agriculture. With its rich grasslands, Ireland could become an international centre for organic agriculture, something never grasped or understood by successive Irish government.
Likewise, the depletion of our fish resources and the livelihoods of our once proud fishing communities were caused by the free rein given by the European Commission to the foreign fleets allowed inside our waters.
These problems are not unique to Ireland though. Other EU countries have suffered similar fates.
I have only recently returned from southern Portugal where many villages lie almost devoid of young people, where the fish-processing industry of Portimao has been obliterated and where farmers are giving away the fruits of their labour in spite of the unprecedented demand from the burgeoning tourist sector of the Algarve. This is because the local hotels and supermarkets chains import food produce from Africa and elsewhere rather than give a living wage to indigenous producers.Portugal is also where I saw many young teenage Eastern European girl prostitutes along the roadsides, the victims of vicious pimps and human traffickers who have become beneficiaries of the easing of border restrictions within Europe over the last decade.
It is obvious that the European Union needs radical reform. But not what is proposed by the anti-democratic Lisbon Treaty, which as our EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, said would be rejected by 95% of European citizens if they were given the right to vote on it.
Click here to see my article written immediately after the Irish electorate last year voted No to the Lisbon Treaty.