What is the National Platform EU Research and Information Centre?

The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre ( http://www.nationalplatform.org ) is a voluntary research and information body on EU affairs. Its Director is Anthony Coughlan, who is an economist and Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin. 

He acts as coordinator of a loose group of lawyers, economists and politically interested people who come to the fore when their expertise is needed. The group seeks to produce legally accurate documentation on EU matters for the use of organisations and individuals on the centre, left and right of Irish politics who are concerned at the development of the EU in an undemocratic and highly centralised direction. Its members stand for a Europe of independent, democratic and cooperating Nation States.

Project Hope prevails over Project Fear in Brexit referendum

All Hail to those UK democrats who have made “Project Hope” prevail over “Project Fear” and decided that they want to win back Britain’s political independence and national democracy in face of the undemocratic monster that is the European Union.

Let us rejoice at the discomfiture of the Brussels Eurocrats  and their acolytes in every EU country –  in Ireland the likes of such anti-democratic, anti-national  ideologues as Peter Sutherland, Alan Dukes, Brendan Halligan, Brigid Laffan et al, plus the clique of Eurofanatics that decides Irish Times editorial policy on the EU.   

Democrats in the Republic of Ireland should now seek to win back Ireland’s independence by following Britain out of the EU and the Eurozone.  Leaving the EU is the only legal way in which Ireland can disentangle itself from the disastrous Eurozone, joining which was the biggest mistake ever made by the Irish State. 

Ireland does two-thirds of its foreign trade outside the nineteen-member Eurozone: two-thirds of its exports and three quarters of its imports. It is essential that Ireland has a special deal governing its UK trade, but while it stays in the EU it is Brussels Commission, not an independent Irish Government,  that decides the Republic’s trade arrangements.   In any case those running the present and all foreseeable Irish Governments share the anti-national and anti-democratic mind-set of the Eurocrats.

British Labour paid the penalty in yesterday’s referendum for failing to stand for British national independence and democracy. If the political Left does not stand for national independence, it is inevitable that the political Right will.  This is a lesson that is universally applicable. It is what Ireland’s James Connolly taught in his writings and by example – the Labour leader who was one of the signatories of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising proclamation.

Ireland’s democrats who understand the EU issue will look today with contempt on those politicians in the Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour and Sinn Fein parties who shamefully lent themselves to the campaign of bullying, lies and fear-mongering against ordinary UK citizens that characterized the “Remain” side in the Brexit referendum.

This world-historical act of rejection of the EU by the British people will encourage democrats in every EU country, whether on the political Right, Left or Centre, to push ahead with their struggle against the anti-democratic and reactionary EU/Eurzone and to seek to replace it with a Europe of independent, democratic and cooperating Nation States. 

The EU is an out-of-date construct left over from the Cold War.  It is inevitable that it will disappear in time, and the sooner that happens the better for national democracy, the true welfare of Europe’s peoples and peace and good international relations on our continent.

Best wishes from Ireland to all UK democrats as you seek to implement yesterday’s admirable decision in the period ahead.

Anthony Coughlan

Director

NB. Scottish talk of “independence in Europe” is a contradiction in terms. Scotland’s independence referendum last year was premised on a supposedly “independent” Scotland retaining the pound sterling as its currency. Do those who talk of Scotland remaining in the EU while the rest of the United Kingdom leaves, not realise that in order to do that Scotland would have to adopt the disastrous euro-currency and all the reactionary apparatus that goes with it?

Source: https://nationalplatform.wordpress.com/


Irish Water Commission hobbled by EU before it even gets off the ground

Foreword


Below is an mind-boggling RTE News item which was aired tonight.  It is a statement from Minister Simon Coveney which he gave after returning from a meeting in Brussels with the EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella. 

The reason for Mr Coveney's journey to the admin capital of the European Union was to inform the EU Commissioner that Dáil Éireann agreed to suspend water charges for at least nine months and in the meantime the Government, as part of the programme for government agreed with Fianna Fail, was setting up an 'Independent'  Water Commission in Ireland to look into the controversial water issue.

Although we in Buncrana Together see the aforementioned water commission as a delaying tactic by Fine Gael, kicking the issue down the roadhoping that opposition will evaporate, it is unbelievable the hard neck, the shameless audacity that Mr Coveney demonstrates by bringing back home these Brussels threats. 

Talk about hobbling a horse, he more or less is telling the so called independent commission of experts that they have to come up with an answer that Brussels wants.  Nearly every line in this statement is incredible.


 

RTE News Friday 08 July 2016 22.59

Expert Commission on Water Charges can not ignore EU rules, says Coveney

Simon Coveney held a meeting with the EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels today

Simon Coveney held a meeting with the EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels today

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney has said the Expert Commission on Water Charges will "not be able to ignore" the European Commission's insistence that Ireland will be in breach of a key EU directive if it abolishes water charges.

However, he said that after its deliberations the Expert Commission will have to make its own "independent" conclusions.

Speaking following a meeting with the EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels, Mr Coveney said the expert group was "about reasurring the public that this isn't a political decision" when it makes its final recommendations in four or five months' time.

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney has said the Expert Commission on Water Charges will "not be able to ignore" the European Commission's insistence that Ireland will be in breach of a key EU directive if it abolishes water charges.

However, he said that after its deliberations the Expert Commission will have to make its own "independent" conclusions.

Speaking following a meeting with the EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels, Mr Coveney said the expert group was "about reassuring the public that this isn't a political decision" when it makes its final recommendations in four or five months' time.

However, he added: "The Commission did outline, in very clear terms, what their position is, in relation to whether or not Ireland can apply for a derogation to charging for domestic water supplies under the Water Framework Directive and it's very consistent with what they've been saying to MEPs when they've asked questions on this issue," said Mr Coveney.

He said it was a "good and frank discussion".

He said that Brussels would follow the Expert Commission process "with real interest and look at the outcomes when they come out".

He added: "The Expert Commission is about reassuring the public that this isn't a political decision. This is about Ireland fulfilling it's obligations under the Water Framework Directive and, what I would like is the independence of the [Expert] Commission to come with solutions and the reasons why they need to make them."

However, Mr Coveney acknowledged that the "[European] Commission's view is that water charges in some form are required for Ireland to fulfill its obligations under the Water Framework Directive."

He said he hoped that the Expert Commission process would come to its conclusions "without the heated political input and debate that we've seen around water debates for the past two years".

RTE News Friday 08 July 2016 22.59


 

 

9.4 Water Exemption (Water Framework Directive) - Use It or Lose it

 

Use It Or Lose It

An all out effort is needed  immediately from political parties who oppose water charges and from  anti water charge groups throughout the country to guarantee that Section 9.4 of the Water Framework Directive is retained. 

This 9.4 section includes the Irish Exemption or derogation which was negotiated by Ireland in 2000 and transposed into Irish law in 2003.  The section exempts Ireland from billing domestic consumers for water, allowing us to fund our water infrastructure through general taxation.  It is now imperative that provision for this derogation be included in the ongoing revision of Ireland's next phase of the River Basin Management Plan. 

Marian Harkin, MEP, in her article 'Use It or Lose It' said  “Furthermore, and most importantly, Ireland still has to submit its second River Basin Plan in which it can activate the derogation for water charges.”

The Irish Exemption is now under threat. 

Recent political maneuvers, misinformation and threats from Fine Gael,  the Eu Commission and Irish Water Ltd, telling us that our exemption no longer exists and that Ireland is going to be penalised if we do not adhere to the WDF Directive and impose Water Charges,  is partly a smokescreen and partly bully boy tactics.  We believe that the threats and misinformation are not true, that they are designed to deflect our attention away from the fact that the Government is now in the process of revising the River Basin Management Plan for the period 2015-2021 - see full details at www.environ.ie.   This revision had been delayed due to significant reform in the water sector in recent years and the new plans would be delivered by the end of 2017.  

We believe that former Minister of the Environment,  Alan Kelly,  did not include a continuation request for our derogation in the draft plans  but more sinisterly, he included the provision for billing domestic consumers (Water Charges) and also for the Irish Water Ltd infrastructure.  If this is the case and the RBMP is submitted to Brussels unchanged, it could possibly do away with the Irish Exemption thus making water charges legally binding under European law.

It is imperative now before the new RBMP is finalised that this is investigated.  Pressure must to be put on Minister Coveney to come clean about the contents of any revised plan especially in relation to the Irish Exemption, the method of funding and the model of water infrastructure.   It would seem obvious that any revised plan can not be finalised or submitted until an agreed water management structure is in place.   We must not allow our derogation to be surreptitiously given away.

Fianna Fáil must support this call
Fianna Fáil has a major responsibility in this process to ensure that our derogation remains in tact and that the Government is not doing anything to jeopardise it.   Fianna Fáil's 'Core Principle' on Water Charges,  their commitment to the electorate, their position and legal advise on the Water Framework Directive and their responsibility in agreeing the setting up of a minority Fine Gael Government, should make it incumbent on them to ensure that the derogation remains and that the process is clear, open and transparent.

Sean Flemming

Sean Flemming

Sean Fleming, on Fianna Fáil website 'EU Water Directive does not force imposition of water charges – FF',   insisted that the Water Framework Directive does not bind Ireland to the imposition of domestic water charges and that Fianna Fáil absolutely contests the advice being put forward.   He says "It’s important to recognise that this legal advice was commissioned by Irish Water, and it should be examined with caution in light of this.  However Member States have a clear opt-out clause (Article 9.4) from domestic water user charges, which allows that Member States may “take account of the social, environmental and economic effects of water usage in recovering the costs of water services.  Fianna Fáil position on water charges has not changed. We do not support the continued imposition of water charges on households."


It is also incumbent on all other TDs who support the Anti Water Charge campaign to scrutinise the 9.4 Water Framework Directive and the RBMP, to support this call and demand that Ireland includes the provisions for the derogation to remain in it's second River Basin Management Plan.   
 

Ireland has to make sure it uses our hard won exemption or it will lose it.

 

References:
Water Charges required under EU Law is a lie Kathy Sinnot, Nessa Childers, Fliuch
Irish Politician trying to blame Brussels on Water Charges no legal basis Marian Harkin
Use It Or Lose It says Marian Harkin
To Pay Or Not To Pay Marian Harkin
Ireland Has No Exemption European Commission
Expert on Water Framework Directive Contradicts EU RTE This Week Ray Earle
Ireland's Water Charges Exemption Is Safe Unless Alan Kelly Gives it Away Pensive Quill
"Bullying the populace into submission" - TDs aren't happy about Enda's comments on water charges Journal.ie
Dept of Environment Water Framework Directive http://www.environ.ie