Ireland and the European Citizen’s Initiative

European Movement Ireland
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European Movement Ireland have launched a report on the campaign that they undertook in relation to the European Citizen’s Initiative. As part of this a poll was undertaken in Cork, Galway, Dublin North and Dublin South on May 7th 2010.

The findings are very interesting.

  • 86% of People had not heard of the ECI
  • 70% of people would consider using the ECI

The poll also found that under 18 (5%) and over 65 (4%) were least aware of the ECI. men aged 30-49 were most aware (20%) while not one woman over 65 had heard of it.

Do make sure you read the full report. Some interesting facts there for people who may wish to avail of the European Citizens Initiative procedure.

EMI: Jim Dooge European Research Medal

I got this today from the European Movement Ireland. Students of European Integration and Politics may be interested.

European Movement Ireland, the not-for-profit organisation that campaigns for every Irish person to get involved with the European Union and help shape it, will tonight announce the establishment of the Jim Dooge European Research medal.   This medal, which will be awarded annually to a student dissertation tackling an EU-related subject, is in honour of their late honorary President and major contributor to the formation of the EU, Professor Jim Dooge.

Speaking about this medal, which is set to be announced at their AGM tonight, Executive Director Andrea Pappin said, “Jim Dooge has had a profound effect on the formation of the European Union with his work in the 1980s. With his recent sad passing, the Board of European Movement Ireland want to commemorate our Honorary President and the incredible contribution he made to the development of the EU. We hope that through this medal, we can remember his work and his passion for Europe, with the hope of inspiring a new generation in Ireland.”

The Jim Dooge European Research Medal will be awarded to a student or group of students who undertake a dissertation during their college studies on a European Union-related matter. Other key details are:

§      Awarding of the medal will be judged by a panel of experts including representatives of the Dooge family. The announcement of the winner will be made every year at the AGM of European Movement Ireland, currently in September.

§      Interested students will be provided with access to an extensive archive of primary research materials, dating back to the 1950s. European Movement will also provide assistance to students with gaining access to key individuals for their research, if required.

§      There is an expectation that further prizes will accompany this medal; details regarding these are to be expected in the coming months.

Jim Dooge led a varied career, he was a politician, engineer, climatologist, hydrologist and academic.

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, (being only the second Senator to be appointed to the cabinet), Acting President of Ireland, Chairman of the Seanad, Professor of Engineering in UCC and UCD, Secretary General of the International Council for Science, President of the Royal Irish Academy and Chairman of the Irish Film Board.

It was during the Irish Presidency of the EU in 1984 that as Chairman of a key Committee, he and his team produced the seminal report on EU institutional reform which led to the Single European Act and the Treaty of Maastricht.

Even during this work as an expert consultant to a variety of organisations including UNESCO, UNEP and the United National Food and Agriculture Organisation, he continued his connection to the EU through this consultancy work with DGXII (Research) at the European Commission.

This was all on top of being Honorary President of the European Movement Ireland.

The Research Medal suggest by the European Movement Ireland is a fitting remembrance of this great statesman.

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Explaining the European Union to Students

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Today I had the joy of joining members of the European Movement Ireland in part of their schools roadshow on the European Union. Today we visited Colaiste Mhuire in Crosshaven. Leading the show was Andrea Pappin, the Executive Director, and she was joined with by Billie Sparks, the Education and Advocacy Director. I stood quiet in the coner!

We were dealing with transition year students. Andrea started off the workshop by explaining about the history of the EU and the rights we have as EU citizens. She did all this in ordinary English!

Then the main part got under way. The class were split into four groups:

  • The European Commission
  • The European Parliament
  • Council of Ministers
  • Lobby Groups

The Council of Ministers were split between the French, Irish and Polish Delegations. The Lobby Groups were split into The Nuclear Energy Association, The Irish Gas Company, The Farmers Association of Ireland.

They were then, after watching a short video on Climate Change, tasked with drafting the EU’s Energy Policy. The Commission had to choose between which should compose the majority of the sources of Energy (Fossil, Renewable, Nuclear). Once they decided, it was sent to the Parliament who, after hearing from the Lobby Groups,  decided on the percentages for each type of energy. After that it was sent to the Council of Ministers who worked out any caveats and add ons to the law.

It was interesting to see how EU law was worked out in a simplified way. That is comparison to Conor’s experience at MEU!

The students seemed to have enjoyed it and I hope they learned from it. I know I did!

Well done to the European Movement for organising this. I hope more schools take them on this.

For more information of the European Movement, do check out their website. For more information on the Roadshows check out My Vision For Europe

Many thanks to the European Movement Ireland Team for allowing me to come along and experience this.

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Europe Day: How it went

Canary EMISo today I took part in the European Movement Ireland poll canvass in Cork on the European Citizens Initiative. A canvass also took place in Galway and Dublin. We got a great reaction from the people in Cork and I heard the same from Galway and Dublin. We were out in our T-shirts handing out lollipops and pens and postcards with the poll on it. (The front of the postcards are the images in this post). Expect to see more European Movement events like this in the future!

The results of the three polls will be added together. But, it doesn’t end there! You too can take part. You just need to fill in this survey. Its five questions and really short! Thank you!

Dog EMIFor more information on the European Movement Ireland, check out their website!

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Europe Day – Cork Event – Update

Europe Day
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As posted earlier there will be an event in Cork City for Europe Day. This will take place on May 7th at lunch time. The event will be a canvass and will involve the handing out of pens and lollipops and of course talking about Europe.

So why am I blogging about this? Well we need volunteers! Anyone who volunteers will be fully briefed and supplied with t-shirt, bag, pens etc. They will also be fed!

You do not need to be an expert on Europe and you will be given all the information you need. If you do get a difficult question then there will be someone on hand to answer it for you!

If you want to get involved email me at Stephen[at]stephenspillane[dot]com there is a similar event being planned in Dublin (and maybe Galway) to get involved with these contact Billie in the European Movement Ireland on 01 662 5815 or  email billie(at)europeanmovement(dot)ie for more details.

PS: Don’t forget to check out My Europe Week if you want to take part in an online celebration of Europe Day

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Europe Day – Cork Event

Palmeira School in Palmeira, Braga, Portugal, ...
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Just a quick update. I have a meeting later today with the European Movement Ireland about an event in Cork for Europe Day. It will be held on Friday May 7th. There will be other events in other cities across the country.

To give you an idea what is planned this is what the European Movement have on their website:

As part of our Europe Day celebrations this year, EM Ireland staff and members will be canvassing in hubs around the country handing out lollipops, pens and balloons. We will also be distributing Citizens’ Initiative postcards, answering people’s questions, and generally having a chat about Europe. This will take place on Friday 7 May.

On Sunday 9 May, there will be a special screening of the My Vision for Europe videos in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar. The programme was coordinated in conjunction with the European Parliament in Dublin and the Temple Bar Cultural Trust. The standard of submissions was extremely high and we are delighted that the finalists’ videos from the schools project will be publicly broadcast on Europe Day itself.

If anyone would like to join in on the canvassing or come along to see the open air broadcast, we would love to see you there. Drop us a line on 01 662 5815 or send Billie an email at billie(at) for more details.

More details later!

Dont forget about My Europe Week which will be celebrating Europe Day online!

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The Lisbon Debate gets going – A bit of a round-up

Treaty of Lisbon
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You mightened have noticed it but the Referendum Commission was set up yesterday and Mr Justice Frank Clarke has been appointed as its Chair. According to the website

The new Commission is currently planning its information campaign for this impending referendum.

I am sure we are all looking forward to that campaign.

So today I got another email from the European Movement Ireland, this time they were point out an opinion article in todays Irish Times by Richard Greene, who claims

If you are against abortion, you should reject the treaty

Read the full article for the rest of the argument. The EMI of course point out the following:

The Lisbon Treaty will not bring abortion into this country.

  • Since 1991 we have had a protocol in EU Treaty law clarifying our position on abortion. That’s eighteen years now. And still no piece of EU legislation that has questioned or affected this Protocol. In fact, since 1973 there has not been a piece of EU law that has sought to change our position on abortion.
  • The Catholic Church has confirmed that our position on abortion is not affected by the Lisbon Treaty. During the first Lisbon Referendum, Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin said that ‘Catholics could vote for the Treaty in good conscience’.
  • We are not alone. There are in fact five countries that have clear restrictive measures on abortion – Malta, Spain, Poland, Portugal and us. In fact, Malta has even stricter rules than we have.
  • Just to make sure, we got an extra guarantee a couple of weeks ago from our European partners reassuring us that reasserts that our original 1991 protocol cannot be touched.

Moving on from the abortion issue which has raised its head early in the debate, Suzy has picked up on a Press Release by Lucinda Creighton TD (FG) who could have titled her PR a little better or of course maybe been a bit clearer to what she was on about in the PR. This is how the Yes campaign lost first time round folks!

Jim Murray over on blogactiv looks at another bad argument for the Yes side. It seems the problem on the Yes side is we can’t get the right thing across. Jim does raise the point though, that gratitude is not a good reason.

Of course the past is not irrelevant, and there are good reasons for voting for Lisbon on the basis of past experience – but gratitude is not one of them

You can’t fault that!

Also the first online poll is up and running on the Munster-Express site. The Generation Yes folk kindly notified me of this one on Twitter. Its about half-way down the front page, do give it a vote!

I will be doing this round up every so often, so if you see anything let me know on twitter or drop an email off to stephen[at]stephenspillane[dot]com and I will have a sconce.

UPDATE: Don’t forget about the Generation Yes meeting on Thursday in Cork! See the Generation Yes website for details of the other meetings

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Referendum Commission to be set up Today: Lisbon 2 gets underway

Leinster House, home of the Ireland's parliame...
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I got an email today from the lovely people at European Movement Ireland which a good bit of information on the run up to Lisbon 2 Referendum. The bill setting up the Referedendum is published today, meaning that the Referendum Commission can be set up.

Commission will aim to inform voters of the issue as well as encourage people to vote. The Commission will be made up of the following:

  • A former judge of the Supreme Court or High Court or a Judge of the High Court
  • The Ombudsman
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General
  • The Clerk of the Dáil
  • The Clerk of the Seanad

The time line will look like this:

  • Monday July 6th: Bill Published and Referendum Commission set up
  • Wednesday July 8th: Bill debated in Dáil
  • Thursday July 9th: Bill debated in Seanad

The referendum must take place with 90 days of the bill passing both houses of the Oireachtas so October 2nd is looking like the date.

I am informed by sources that an Taoiseach will be speaked in the Seanad on the Bill. The fact he is speaking in Seanad is a rarity and might be worth a listen.

According to the EMI there might be a second question when we enter the polling booth in October

Interestingly, as part of the referendum language we will be deciding in the polling booth come October, we may also be asked if we would like to put a positive statement about Europe into our Constitution. We at European Movement Ireland would be very much welcome this move

That would be an interesting development and could help steer the debate towards Europe and the positives of Europe rather then just focusing on the Treaty of Lisbon.

So we can expect campaigning to really get going over the summer months.

UPDATE: European Voice states that the Referendum Commission will be set up next Monday July 13th not today as suggested by me.

Gormley is expected to set up a referendum commission next Monday (13 July), which will provide impartial information on the Lisbon treaty

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