The UK Independence Party is currently involved with rallying No votes in the forthcoming rerun of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. According to the Irish Times the party will be sending leaflets to every Irish home urging people to vote down ratification for a second time. I won’t dwell on the rights and wrongs of the treaty.
According to the Observer outgoing Ukip leader Nigel Farage seems to have angered at least one former Fianna Fail MEP and minister by claiming that the men and women who took part in the Easter rebellion would have been against the treaty.
Eoin Ryan called the claims that the founding fathers of the Republic would have opposed Lisbon were "outrageous". Writing on the Fianna Fail website he said.
"it is not only offensive for an extreme British nationalist to try to co-opt our heroes to his agenda, but it also shows that he knows nothing about Irish history.... My grandfather, James Ryan (also a long serving Fianna Fail minister), was the medical attendant in the GPO in 1916 and when I was young I heard him and other survivors from Easter Week talk about creation of what is now the EU... Sean Lemass (Taoiseach and 1916 veteran, he was leader who did much to lift De Valera’s cold undead hand from Irish society) believed in the need for Ireland to enter into the EEC to help break the UK's economic hold on our country. So it is very rich for a UK nationalist to be telling Ireland what is in our interests."
I suppose it could have been an offhand comment but Farage is treading on dangerous ground if he tries to make assumptions about the views of people who are regarded as heroes in Ireland. It’s guaranteed to put people’s backs up, doubly so coming from a “Brit”... Whether Ukip’s intervention and support affects the outcome of the referendum is a different matter. I suspect that the 2 October vote will probably be a referendum on BIFFO* rather than the Lisbon Treaty.
Any such assumptions are stupid. Farage’s comment holds about as much water as saying the Cnut would have supported water conservation policies or that Edward I would have supported the BNP (hold on a vicious anti-Semitic thug... but what’s one more of those to vermin like the BNP)
* BIFFO stands for the Big Ignorant Fucker From Offaly, am ahem friendly nickname for Brian Cowan the current Taoiseach