Tuesday 13 November 2018

Haughey allayed worries over delay to Single European Act

Taoiseach Charles Haughey. Stock picture
Taoiseach Charles Haughey. Stock picture
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Taoiseach Charles Haughey personally contacted France's François Mitterand and Germany's Helmut Kohl to explain Ireland's ratification of the Single European Act (SEA) would be delayed because of a landmark legal ruling.

Papers released under the 30-year rule revealed the Fianna Fáil government was desperate to allay the concerns of Ireland's key European allies over a Supreme Court ruling that meant that Ireland could not ratify the SEA without a referendum.

Farmer and lecturer Raymond Crotty had taken first High Court and then Supreme Court actions over the SEA - and the courts backed his contention that the Constitution required a referendum to be staged over an act which involved such sweeping powers.

Mr Crotty was a staunch campaigner against Ireland's membership of the EU.

Mr Haughey personally contacted Mr Mitterand and Mr Kohl within hours of the Supreme Court judgment being known - and also authorised the Department of Foreign Affairs to cover whatever advertising and information costs were involved in the required referendum campaign.

"The Taoiseach has directed that these payments are proper to the vote for the Department of Foreign Affairs," a Department of the Taoiseach official wrote on October 1, 1987.

"They should be paid out of savings that have now been identified in that vote."

In a letter of October 7, 1987, a Department of Foreign Affairs official wrote to the Department of Finance in respect of the costs of the SEA referendum campaign.

"At present we anticipate end-of-year savings of about £200,000 in Subhead 1 of the Foreign Affairs vote," an official wrote.

A subsequent note revealed that the total advertising costs in relation to the SEA was £206,417.

Irish Independent

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