I was interested in the comments and remarks made on the last amendment, particulary those by Deputy Sherwin, Deputy Brennan and the Minister. I am in the rather unusual position of having listened not only to these people but to their fathers before them in the Fianna Fáil benches, and I am afraid that I am not being completely complimentary when I say that I believe the authentic voice of Fianna Fáil which I at any rate knew on those benches is the voice of Deputy Brennan and the voice of Deputy Sherwin. Knowing the record of the Fianna Fáil Party over the years, knowing the peculiar mystique which that party created about itself since 1932 and the extraordinary cult of republicanism, nationalism, freedom and independence—all of which words to which most of us have listened to over the years, had powerfully emotive overtones, particularly republicanism, nationalism and independence—I believe it is an extraordinary development that we should see the Fianna Fáil Party introducing a Bill of this kind, a Bill which is completely and totally destructive of the wonderful—castles in the air, some people would call them—institutions, as they would like to call them, which they created here since 1932 under the mystical words of independence and republicanism.
As Deputy Keating said, the danger to Article 5 is derogation from what is implicit in Article 5, a "sovereign, independent and democratic State". To accept this derogation from all that is implicit in Article 5 appears to me to be the most monumental betrayal by the present controllers of Fianna Fáil policy of what was for many years in the mouths of people like Deputy Brennan's father, and the Minister's, Deputy Colley's father, and most of the other people I have heard talking here, a complete betrayal of everything they stated and re-stated, emphasised and thought about and defended time and again here and outside, at chapel gates and street corners, wherever and whenever they were called on to talk about their ambitions for Ireland and the kind of Ireland they wanted.
Now this is all being effectively set aside in this Bill, in that last very important sentence "...acts done or measures adopted by the Communities, or institutions thereof, from having the force of law in the State". We a sovereign State now accept that there are people outside this State who may determine in relation to all the very important aspects of the life of a living democracy and the institutions the State established that the powers we have up to now held here and which were established under our two Constitutions are to be handed over to people outside the State.
I happen to be an international socialist and, therefore, have very mixed views about nationalism. To me it seems very much akin to racism. I do not think any race or group, any colour, creed or nationality is superior to any other. We are all exactly the same but this is not a view subscribed to at any time to my knowledge by the Fianna Fáil Party which has always been what could be called a bigotedly nationalist, chauvinist political organisation avidly grasping every vestige of right they possibly could gain to this State to the extent, in fact, of a form of racialism: we are the ancient and historical Irish people with our rights, dignities and responsibilities and the contributions we have made to Europe and all this sort of thing which I suppose is essentially a measure of national insecurity. But it was manifest in practically all the institutions we created, particularly during the 40 years since 1932.
I should be fascinated to watch the reaction of the Fianna Fáil Party I knew of old or even of the present leadership of Fianna Fáil if they were on this side of the House and the Blue-shirts—as they would no doubt call them—were in control and the Blue-shirts, Cumann na nGaedheal or Fine Gael, whatever you wish to call them, had brought in all these proposals about the right of this Dáil to enact any legislation it wished without any outside interference, about deciding how the judiciary should be appointed, deciding whether we will or will not go to war, how we will organise our Defence Forces, whether or not we will have conscription here, and this very important Article 5—"sovereign, independent, democratic State", the one Deputy Sherwin was worried about, the territory, the whole nation,de jure control and all the other very important Articles of our Constitution. If a blanket Bill, a one line Bill of this kind were brought in by the Fine Gael Party, who all through the years have been condemned by the Fianna Fáil Party as the betrayers of the national freedom movement, as people unsound on the national issue, people not really as republican as they were, people who sold out in 1922, I wonder what the reaction of those benches would be. Would we have got that eloquent speech from Deputy Tunney tonight about the defence of the traditional attitudes and beliefs of the Irish people if the Labour Party or the Fine Gael Party had brought in this Bill?
Curiously enough Deputy Crowley put his finger on it in one remark he made: suppose we do not go in and Britain does. Here you have the whimper of the lost child: nurse has gone out; what shall we do? Britain has gone in; how can we stay out? This is the party I have heard saying: "Let us whip John Bull." Do they recollect that expression from one of the Fianna Fáil leaders, the late Seán T. O'Kelly? This is the party that withheld the annuities and fought the economic war against Britain. This is the party which is now so frightened that they are all the time looking over their shoulders to find out what Britain is doing because whatever Britain does, we do. I am not manufacturing that. We know it is on the record here that when Britain was rejected and had to withdraw her application we did precisely the same thing. Talk about independence! Talk about freedom! Talk about autonomy or about the sovereign rights of an independent, democratic State!
I have said in more than one way that this is a puppet Parliament, puppet to forces within the State, quite obviously. After 50 years of predominantly Fianna Fáil rule, Deputy Crowley is right. There is no such thing as independent action in this situation. Because of our economic dependence on Great Britain, our freedom is gone and our autonomy is non-existent. Independence has been part of the mythology of the Fianna Fáil Party during their long period in office and never was that more clearly demonstrated than by the introduction of this Bill. It is the price we pay to go into the Common Market, the price we pay to be permitted to remain tied to Britain's coat-tails in doing whatever they decide to do.
This Bill is a blank cheque. We will do anything to remain a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, which we have never left from the economic point of view. To talk about freedom and exercising sovereignty is part of that old fraudulent mythology manufactured by Fianna Fáil, and now completely and utterly exposed. I imagine they regarded it as a hateful and distasteful decision to be forced to give up the wonderful fantasy world in which they have lived since 1932. That is why I am not greatly impressed by the claims of the Constitution. The right of private enterprise has been primarily responsible for the fact that we are completely dependent on the British and that we have the defective services of which I have spoken so frequently. Fianna Fáil are now attempting to bulldoze through this House this very dangerous piece of legislation. Whatever little power we have—I have never believed that this Parliament had any great independence because of our economic subservience to Britain—we are now agreeing to give it over to a new group in Europe.
We have been told we will have a representative in Europe. Does anyone seriously believe that whoever we have in Europe will make the slightest difference if major changes are proposed which the Community believe are important for them? Does anyone believe that the Minister for Foreign Affairs will be any more effective in winning for Ireland major concessions which we consider to be in the national interest—whatever that might mean—than he has been in relation to the negotiations on the sugar issue and the fisheries question? Will he be any more successful in stopping developments contrary to what we would like?
The Labour Party, and I personally, know what it is like to be in a minority. I have been in a minority all my political life. One of the important things about being in a minority in a democracy is that one has no power to make significant changes if the majority vote against it. This flows from the simple belief in the right of the majority to make decisions for the minority. It is implicit in our position in the Common Market that we will not be able to oppose effectively anything we may not like.
I was astonished at the false sense of security of the Minister for Finance. He appeared to believe that it was unthinkable that the EEC would agree to make fundamental changes in the structure of their society at any future time. This false sense of security is made obvious by the fact that he is now in the process of involving himself in a treaty within a group all of whom are making, and will continue to make, the most far-reaching and fundamental changes in all their institutions of government, in the methods under which they will operate their industry, agriculture, fisheries and every aspect of their lives.
This is not the last treaty that is likely to be made. It is not the last treaty in which people will agree to make fundamental changes. Once we are in we lose the powers we have now that we are outside. The Minister for Finance professes to be puzzled by our belief that once we are in we will become enmeshed in the Community and be unable to extricate ourselves. Is our case not proved to the hilt by the reality of our present position, expressed so succinctly by Deputy Crowley when he asked: "Suppose we do not go in and Britain does?" Deputy Crowley expressed precisely what we are frightened about. At present we are members of one economic bloc; we are prisoners within that bloc because we are economically subservient to the greater partner. That is what we meant by our fear of being enmeshed in a situation from which we could not extricate ourselves, even if we were given an opportunity to have a referendum. We want to make it a meaningful referendum, so that, as Deputy Keating said, if we say "no" we can get out.
We are trapped. We are prisoners. We know we are. We can prove we are, the proof being that we are already going through that precise experience, the experience of being linked economically to a powerful partner who does something and, because of the years in which we built up this web, this intricate web, this economic web which has bound us to Britain, finding ourselves trapped in that web and unable to do anything other than what Britain is doing. That is the position as the Government see it. We believe that there are alternatives. There is the alternative of an independent trading agreement. There is the alternative of some form of association. There is the alternative of looking for other markets elsewhere.