Of course, there is much to criticise in the European Union — building a united Europe was never going to be easy but this Europe was born in a part of the world that gave birth to ancient Greek philosophy, Roman legal structures, Jewish-Christian thinking and, of course, French philosophy which gave us the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
As the French president, Emmanuel Macron has said: The need for a strong Europe to defend individual freedom, human dignity and equal rights has never been greater. It is only in the past few decades that those relationships have finally stabilised and matured as Britain and Ireland found numerous areas of common interest and agreement within the overall community of the European Union.
Even the seemingly intractable problem of Northern Ireland appeared to enter a new phase of peace and cooperation with the hammering out, after years of painstaking negotiations under the aegis of the EU and the US, the Good Friday Agreement.
A new era of peaceful, mutually beneficial relationships among political parties in Northern Ireland, between Northern Ireland and the Republic and, of course, between Britain and Ireland.
Then, in Junethe people of the UK, with the exception of Northern Ireland and Scotland, voted to leave the European Union and this, allied to the collapse of the power-sharing Executive in Belfast has created a serious destabilising of the political situation in the North. The threat to the Good Friday Agreement in particular, has also resulted in a serious deterioration of the relationships between London and Dublin.
In this uncertain environment new thinking is needed to offset the risks involved. Many words have been spoken and written since the full implications of the result of the British referendum on future relations between the UK and this country became clear two years ago.
One thing has become clear regarding the reinstallation of a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic: On the other hand, as the Irish government has argued throughout, supported by the other members of the EU, the reintroduction of any border would be equally unacceptable and would mean, among other things, the scrapping of an international treaty which is the Good Friday Agreement and perhaps the emergence of problems which we thought had been consigned to history.
Negotiations continue but avoiding a border on the island of Ireland will call for the most astute political leadership on all sides. Several members have suffered horrific attacks on their citizens — France, Spain, Belgium, Germany, the UK — and appear to be particularly vulnerable to terrorist activities.
However, the nature of this modern-day war means that no country or its citizens can feel secure and such is the mobile and adaptable nature of this terrorism that close co-operation between the security forces of member states is essential. This cyber war, which can disrupt the total functioning of an organisation or even stop the whole apparatus of an entire country or even pervert its democratic institutions, has frightening implications for societies everywhere.
Ireland has been able to avoid much of the commitment being requested to play its part in the defence of Europe on the basis of its declared neutrality.
As full members of the EU, is it time that we place this question higher on our national agenda and in a modern day context? Ruth Deasy, former head of press and media for the European Commission in Ireland 2. Even before, during his extraordinary election campaign, he set out to show the French electorate that, far from being reluctant to be too much associated with an ailing and stagnant Europe which the UK had voted to leave, he was proud of the European project and would fight for its future, thereby rejecting totally the strident anti-Europe campaign of the National Front.
He argues that, in its present state, Europe is too fragmented, too weak, too inefficient to be the power it could be in the world and that, if it continues as it is, it will fail and all the member states will fail.
Macron is a new vibrant optimistic voice in Europe. For the President, the peoples of mainland Europe will have a European sovereignty or they will have no sovereignty. Macron has challenged the members of the European Union as never before.
Much of the revenue that ends up being virtually tax-free by being channelled through Ireland is earned in other countries around the world. Poorer countries in particular suffer from the loss of tax revenue on sales in their territories but, whether rich or poor, the accumulation of massive corporate wealth deprives sovereign states of income they need to fund their public services.
There are those who point out that interfering with tax receipts from multinational companies at a time when we also have Brexit and its fallout to deal with is hazardous to our economy.
The Cervical Check debacle began when a courageous Vicky Phelan refused a demand by Clinical Pathology Laboratories to sign a confidentiality agreement as part of a settlement of her claim against this company for misreading her cervical smear test.
It was due to her integrity and bravery that the country, and others directly affected, learned that women diagnosed with cervical cancer had previously received false negative test results from Cervical Check. Of these, were not told of the review findings, despite the HSE having a policy of open disclosure.
Those affected have since struggled to get access to their own medical files. Speaking to an Oireachtas committee, Vicky Phelan stated: This simple but relevant statement goes to the heart of one of the great failings of public life in this country which has been commented upon so often in this MacGill forum: We have had over the decades, reports, enquiries and tribunals which have lasted for years and cost a fortune — with recommendations for reform that never got implemented.Paying for school items just got easier!
Sign up to get started today. Account login and registration. Edline, the company, is now a division of Blackboard. The new name for the division is Blackboard Engage.
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