Monday 26 February 2018

Treaty rejection sparked anti-Irish sentiment in Germany

Shane Phelan Investigative Correspondent

THE rejection of the first Lisbon Treaty referendum gave rise to anti-Irish sentiment in Germany, a leading diplomat's wife told American officials.

Jill O'Donoghue, whose husband David was Ireland's Ambassador to Berlin at the time, made the comments in a meeting with US embassy staff four months after the June 2008 No vote.

According to a leaked US embassy cable, Mrs O'Donoghue, research director at the International Institute of European Affairs, reported "that anti-Irish sentiment seems to be growing in Germany".

"She noted that some people see the Irish as being unappreciative of the great benefit realised from membership of the EU over the years," the cable, written by US deputy chief of mission Robert Faucher, stated.

Mrs O'Donoghue was among a group of politicians, government officials, and academics whose opinions were canvassed by the American embassy in the aftermath of the poll defeat.

Also consulted, according to the cable, was Department of Foreign Affairs political director Rory Montgomery.

In the cable, which was classified 'confidential', he was quoted as saying there was some "bitterness and resentment" against Ireland in Europe.

However, he went on to say that the Irish had not felt marginalised within the EU as a result of the vote.

Mr Montgomery was also said to have been dismissive of efforts by the Attorney General to review possible ways to bring parts of the Treaty into force without a referendum.

"Montgomery characterised such efforts as 'pie in the sky' and said that the only legal and political solution to the dilemma appeared to be a second referendum -- which would likely include 'opt-outs'," the cable said.

The then European Affairs Minister Dick Roche, who was also at the meeting, spoke of his fears that Ireland could end up with some sort of periphery status in a 'two-tier' EU if France and Germany were to drive ahead with reform in spite of the Irish vote.

Irish Independent

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