Kevin Myers: Irish sovereignty? A jolly little pretence and a sham
Published 18/11/2010 | 05:00
'It has been a very hard-won sovereignty for this country and the Government is not going to give over that sovereignty to anyone," said Batt O'Keeffe this week.
He was subscribing -- yet again -- to the pretence that independence has meant sovereignty. It's a jolly little pretence, and it tickles our vanity, but at bottom it is, nonetheless, a hollow sham.
Sovereignty means that you at least try to be sovereign over your seas: and the first item in the Treaty debates concerned the surrender of Irish control over Ireland's own waters. There was never a day from 1922 to this week when the 26 counties could command a bucket of Hibernian brine washing on its own beaches, never mind attempt to assert its will over that strange oxymoron, "territorial waters". To be sure, we can arrest the odd Spanish fishing vessel, but preferably without asking the question, why are there so many Spanish trawlers in our waters?