There’s this free and independent country, with it’s own government running it’s own affairs, which gives it all up in a moment of madness. It’s a story every addict knows well. Befriended by a pusher who gives them a few free samples, they experience the thrill of drug-fuelled highs. Life has never seemed more exciting and they’re hooked. Now the pusher makes demands on them and they must pay the price of continued supply. Ireland is owned.
The Irish try to break free. They have a referendum on implementing a new treaty giving more power to the EU, and they vote it down. The EU is furious at this act of defiance, they order Ireland to vote again – and keep voting until they get it right. Then as the global economic crisis begins to bite, the EU offers Ireland a loan it doesn’t want on terms it can’t afford. But the EU are loan sharks as well and the Irish will not be allowed to refuse the offer.
Broken in spirit, the dream long dead, Ireland tries to patch up a ruined country. They adopt painful and unpopular economic measures, but it’s not enough, the EU wants more pain. The government is close to collapse and wants fresh elections for a new mandate to tackle the crisis. But their EU masters won’t permit it, they make it very clear that elections at this time would be “very irresponsible”. Ireland learns the price of disobedience.
No longer a free and independent country, no longer with a government of it own in any meaningful sense, unable to run it’s own affairs, Ireland is what every drug addict becomes. The exodus of Ireland’s young talent to seek new opportunities abroad compounds the impression of a drained and depleted body, aged before its time, its life ebbing away. Ireland’s only use now is as an awful poster child to warn others of the perils of further EU integration.