Tag Archives: ireland

The abortion debate is more complicated than arguing the rights of mums versus babies

It’s easy to assume the upcoming vote on abortion in Ireland is a black and white issue. A straight decision between the rights of an unwanted, unborn child versus the rights of a woman who doesn’t want to be pregnant.

Actually, it’s much more complicated than that. Let me tell you my story, as the nearly mum of a much wanted baby.

I’ve never had morning sickness so it’s really only if I’m overdue, very short tempered, very hungry and along with that little blue line that I know I’m pregnant. At 12 weeks, I went to the hospital for my booking …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 21 Comments

The Government does not have a clue on a solution to the Irish border problem

Being an earnest seeker after truth I downloaded the full Joint Report of 8 December in order to discover just how the Prime Minister proposed to accomplish the trick of leaving the single market and the customs union whilst still having no physical border between the European Union, ie the Republic of Ireland, and the UK, ie Northern Ireland.

I searched in vain. There are no practical plans whatsoever in the Report. All there is are statements of intent on “the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland,” relying “to a significant extent on a common European Union legal and policy framework,” on being “committed …. to its guarantee of avoiding a hard border,” and “will propose specific solutions,” “will maintain full alignment,” with the necessary EU rules and “will establish mechanisms to ensure the implementation and oversight of any specific arrangement to safeguard the integrity of the EU Internal Market and the Customs Union.” It has the worthy aims of “what” they want, but nothing of “how”.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 42 Comments

Vince to argue for single market and customs union on visit to Ireland

Our Vince is off to Ireland tomorrow, where he’ll meet leading Irish politicians to discuss Brexit.
Vince will be discussing the implications of the end of the first phase of Brexit negotiations, set to be approved by EU leaders, which failed to find a long-term solution to the Irish border issue.

He said:

The Conservative government has so far botched Brexit, and amongst the people who stand to be most affected are those living on the island of Ireland.

Even after the ‘divorce settlement’ and the agreement to proceed with trade talks, it isstill unclear how a hard border will be averted.

Audiences in Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland are being told different things. Many of the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement have been put at risk as a result.

The unnecessary decision by the Conservatives to leave the Single Market and Customs Union was not mandated by the EU referendum. It is a miscalculation that will harm commerce between our countries.

Those economic ties are much stronger than is generally realised, given the Republic is the fifth biggest customer for UK exports and we are the second biggest market for Irish exports. 6,000 vehicles cross the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland every day.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

ALDE Party Congress – the Brexit resolution…

At the end of the week, liberals from across Europe come to Amsterdam to meet, debate policies, attend fringe meetings and elect new members of the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) Party’s Bureau. There’ll be approximately one hundred Liberal Democrats present, and Liberal Democrat Voice will be covering events as usual.

Our coverage this year starts with a review of the resolutions to be considered, and it will come as no surprise that one of the subjects for debate is Brexit, and that’s where we’ll start.

It might surprise readers to …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Two sides of Irish history reflected in celebrity family tree


This is about some holiday season viewing which may be of interest to readers – rather than an article trying to make a political point.

“Who do you think you are” covers television presenter Emma Willis’ family history in an episode available on BBC iPlayer for the next 29 days. It is worth a watch.

Posted in The Arts | 7 Comments

Irish Liberal Democrats and LDV St Patrick’s Day fringe at York

Theresa May dealt a blow to Ireland in her Brexit white paper when she said she wanted in effect to leave the EU customs union, confirming Brexit poses a huge threat to frictionless cross-border trade on the island of Ireland, the mainstay of the Irish economy.

The Irish Ambassador to the UK, Daniel Mulhall said last month that comprehensive customs and border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland are not remotely possible

Northern Ireland polled more europhilic than other regions in the UK before the election. Its Remain vote of 55.7 per cent was the third strongest in the country. Nationalists wanted the UK to remain in the EU, but unionists generally wanted to leave. Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Ulster Unionists, Alliance and the Green Party wanted to stay. The Irish government also wanted a remain vote. The DUP, the TUV and the left-wing People before Profit party backed Brexit.

As Sinn Fein and the DUP jostle for position in a new power sharing agreement at Stormont the Brexit divide has come to the fore. If the parties are unable to agree an accommodation, we may yet see a return to direct rule of the province from Westminster.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

LibLInk: Nick Clegg: UK not taking seriously Brexit impact on Ireland

Nick Clegg has written an article in the Irish Times accusing the British government of not taking  the impact of Brexit on Ireland seriously enough. David Davis didn’t even mention maintaining the “soft border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic:

Instead, the government made a fleeting reference to the fact they will aim to “minimise frictions and administrative burdens”. This suggests that in one shape or form there will be an unwelcome return to checks at the Border.

There is a pattern here – the government doesn’t appear to be taking seriously the negative impact Brexit will have

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

UK-Irish post Brexit relations

Malta assumes the presidency of the EU at the start of 2017. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, in setting out his priorities, has said the ‘Irish Border’ Issue must be settled before Brexit talks can begin in earnest, injecting some urgency given that talks are expected  to get underway in April next year.

Helpfully, the House of Lords EU select committee published a report this week titled Brexit: UK-Irish Relations. The report notes the special ties between the UK and Ireland and the friendship that has developed as the Northern Ireland peace process has advanced. Also noting that Ireland’s common membership of the EU has been one of the foundations of this close relationship.

The report draws attention to: the serious economic implications of Brexit for Ireland, North and South; the consequences for the Irish land border of potential restrictions to the free movement of goods and people; the
implications for the Common Travel Area (CTA) and for the special status of UK and Irish citizens in each other’s countries, including the right of people born in Northern Ireland to Irish (and therefore EU) citizenship; the potential impact on political stability in Northern Ireland; and the challenge to the
institutional structure for North-South cooperation on the island of Ireland, and East-West relations between the UK and Ireland, established under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

Opinion: What the Liberal Democrats can learn about democracy from the people of Ireland

I cannot be alone amongst Liberal Democrats, after the general election result we have just been through, in questioning the collected wisdom of the UK electorate.

Fortunately, as an Irishman, my faith in the collective wisdom of the people has been dramatically restored by the result of the equal marriage referendum in Ireland, as my people lustily endorsed equality, and cast off the comfort of bigotry to which it is easy to resort in times of economic strife.

But, just as Ireland becoming the first country on earth to enshrine this type of equality into the law by popular vote will, I hope, act as a beacon for other states around Europe and the world to follow a similar path, I hope that the Liberal Democrats also manage to learn the lessons from Ireland’s result.

Of course, the Liberal Democrats have much of which to be proud in these matters, being the driving force behind the introduction of marriage equality in the UK.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 27 Comments

LoveProudly: An interview with Stephen Donnan about the fight for Marriage Equality in Ireland (North and South)

Tomorrow Ireland votes on whether to allow equal marriage. I recently interviewed Stephen Donnan who is one of the founders of LoveProudly , a grassroots group dedicated to marriage equality across all of Ireland. He is also a former Chair of the LGBT group in the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.

Mathew: Stephen, tell us a bit about this new initiative.

Stephen: Well, basically, Mathew loveproudly was set up by myself and a number of other activists from Belfast, Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland to facilitate and support the calls for Equal Marriage in both Northern Ireland and in the Republic.

We want to promote and campaign for Marriage Equality and highlight the existing inequalities in the law in both jurisdictions, but in a positive and constructive way.

We don’t want to indulge in the campaign of fear and division; that isn’t what loveproudly is about and we want to follow in the example set by MarriageEquality and Equal Marriage NI.

MH: It sounds great, Stephen, so is this a cross-party campaign?

SD: It’s strictly independent of endorsing or being endorsed by any one political party.

I am not doing this within the confines of a political party, however we have had input and support from various political representatives across the spectrum and across the border.

MH: So what campaigning have you done and will you be doing?

SD: Our first aim was to get the message out about who we are and what we are aiming to achieve and I think we did that successfully when we launched on Valentine’s Day.

Our next step is formulating a plan with the two campaigns.

There is a Marriage Equality referendum in the Republic of Ireland on May 22nd and while we are optimistic we are still very far from an assured Yes vote.

We will be canvassing with the YesEquality campaign in the south and getting the word out on why a Yes vote is so crucial.

MH: How’s it looking in the Republic…and what influence has Equal Marriage having become law in England, Scotland and Wales had on people there?

SD: It is clear that we are living in changed times.

The recognition of same sex marriage in the rest of the UK, and in places as unimaginable as Slovenia and North Carolina, has had a massive impact on the debate here.

If Ireland and NI want to be seen as part of Europe, part of a diverse future where same-sex couples can celebrate their relationships freely and safely, then there’s nothing to lose from a Yes vote in the referendum.

Polls are showing that it will pass but that could lead to complacency and that would be fatal for us.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGlenn 26th Sep - 8:21am
    Frankie' The problem a lot post-cold war end of history centrists thinking is that like Marxism it's based on the idea of the inevitability and...
  • User AvatarOld Liberal 26th Sep - 3:49am
    No Michael1, it really is much more than just a very clear message and massive massive hard work as Kingston shows. It is having a...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 25th Sep - 11:58pm
    @OnceALibDem Um.... I appreciate the point. We did do well in Haringey – up from 9 to 15 - and held our ground in Ealing...
  • User AvatarDan Falchikov 25th Sep - 11:19pm
    Possibly the least accurate account of any campaign I've ever been involved. No reference to the appalling arrogant previous Tory administration that switched voters off...
  • User Avatarfrankie 25th Sep - 11:06pm
    They must be improvers Glenn they wish to improve things. Unlike most Brexiteers who wish things to return to a by gone age. One set...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 25th Sep - 8:32pm
    Yes, take away the areas we gained and we made no gains at all. Funny that.