With all the 1916 commemorations going on this year and all the talk of the path to sovereignty, or whatever you want to call it, I was reminded of a line from the protest song EEC:
Déanfaimís dearmad ar Pearse agus ConnollyThe song was written by Aodh Ó Domhnaill and sung by Na hUaisle.
In the course of the referendum campaign on Ireland joining the EEC in 1972 it blared from loudspeakers on top of the vans of those campaigning against our joining the Common Market and it opened many a protest meeting around the country.
It is a good song and has worn well through the years. It has a particular resonance in more recent times as the EU has lost its way and the arrogance of its élites becomes more insufferable by the day.
The song opens by pointing out that we really had no choice in the matter as we always follow the Brits. Ag sodar i ndiaidh na nUasal is a familiar version in Irish of this process. And here we are with the Brits supposed now to be pulling out and what are we going to do?
The chorus mentions Sicco Mansholt, who was the Agriculture Commissioner of the day, running the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which was the only actual policy the EEC had been able to cobble together in its 14 year existence up to then. Needless to say this policy appeared very attractive to Irish farmers as a way of escaping from England's Cheap Food Policy which had been limiting the expansion of Irish agriculture and denying a fair return to its producers for decades. In fact the then Irish Foreign Minister, Paddy Hillery, was campaigning for a YES vote on the basis of The CAP and the Long Runs the latter being the expected opportunities for Irish manufacturing in niche corners of the enormous EEC market.
The song goes on to take a poke at our TDs (parliamentarians) who are portrayed as already addicted to dinners of frogs and spaghetti, and who now speak Irish with a French accent. The farmers will be leaving the land for jobs in industry when full employment kicks in, by which time the Germans will have bought up all the land. Let's forget about Pearse and Connolly and all this national sovereignty lark and sell our souls for the thirty pieces of silver on offer. Sure aren't we all Europeans now.
Well I'll leave you to figure out for yourself how prophetic or otherwise the song is proving. You can hear the original below.