Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The sovereignty myth

Walk down any high street in Ireland and you will see the outlets of large companies that have their head offices in the UK, and who regard their Irish shops as nothing more than elements of their domestic chains. Some English Premiership teams have more Irish support than all home soccer clubs put together.

92% of Irish primary schools are under the management of an organisation that has its headquarters, and the formulation of its philosophy, in Vatican City, which is in the middle of another nation’s capital. Not too long ago a senior Irish politician could start a debate about whether, spiritually, Ireland was closer to Boston or Berlin.

It’s not entirely fanciful to believe that if “Coronation Street” were to be abruptly discontinued on Irish TV we would have rioting in the streets. Almost one hundred thousand Irish people receive their salaries from US companies established here, in return for which they happily embrace US corporate culture. This includes the understanding that they are expected to work without Trade Union representation, unlike their compatriots in indigenous industries, many of whom are forced to acquiesce to exactly the opposite condition in return for being vouchsafed a job.

None of the above facts has ever given rise to as much as a murmur about the fear of Ireland’s identity being undermined. Yet, when it looks like we are about to be the recipients of necessary fiscal discipline by certain countries with whom we freely entered into a monetary union, and who now want to save that union in order for it to continue in operation for our mutual benefit, we hear no end of bleating about how our sovereignty, no less, is being attacked and undermined.

As my American friends might say - give me a break.

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