Friday, 27 June 2008

VRT, McCreevy, and the Lisbon No Vote

The Lisbon Treaty was rejected by the "newly confident" Irish. "No" voters predominated amongst the young - the most spoiled generation in our history. But then again, Ireland has an unhappy history of referendums... the right to divorce was voted down two-to-one in the grim 80s, for instance. The right of women to choose has also been denied when put to the vote.

Now, it looks like we might be back to the 80s - in economic terms at least - which will make the selling of any Lisbon Two even more difficult.

So how can the EU demonstrate the benefits of membership to Europe's newest sceptics? The simple answer is for it to enforce existing legislation that will directly benefit the Irish public. Gombeen Man has three examples.

1) The Irish Government must be made scrap Vehicle Registration Tax, which sees us paying up to 40% more for our cars as those in other EU states. Gombeen commissioner Charlie McCreevy steadfastly refuses to allow this, despite being in direct contravention of the Treaty of Rome. The EU should face him down now, and at the same time give a practical demonstration that tax harmonisation can be a good thing.

2) Irish people are currently barred from investing in the Prize Bond schemes of other EU countries. The Irish Government denies us the right to invest our savings in this way under gambling and lottery legislation - despite the fact that money invested in the British Premium Bonds, for instance, is a form of saving and is State-guaranteed.

3) Currently, large-scale supermarkets such as Carrefour are not allowed to set up in Ireland - due to lobbying from vested interests who don't want competition that will result in lower prices for the consumer. The EU should insist that this uncompetitive practice stops right now.

Brussels has allowed the Irish Government to wriggle out of its obligations to pass on the full benefits of EU membership to its citizens. This must stop, and the Irish Government must be made comply.

It also happens to be the best way to ensure a decisive "yes" vote in any future referendum.

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Anonymous said...

How can a car cost nearly twice as much here as other EU countries? How come nobody does anything about it??

Anonymous said...

Now that we know that a new vote on Lisbon is going to take place next year we all should get behind a movement to force the end of VRT.
..........VRT? NO LISBON............
The revenue arguement is a stupid one. How could it possibly benifit the ordinary man in the street by denying him or her access to cheaper cars? All that VRT collecting does is protects a greedy motor sales industry. When us gombeen's pay it it just gives the assholes more money to pay each other with.
..........VRT? NO LISBON............

The Gombeen Man said...

Hi Anon. VRT is a scandal and is contrary to the EU Treaty of Rome. It's our successive Governments that have insisted on ignoring EU recommemdations to abolish VRT. But the Irish Government insists that tax affairs are its business (hence opposition to tax harmonisation, which some in the EU were calling for. I think that would be a good idea, as it would lead to the abolision of VRT)

Sure, people should use the issue to put pressure on our scumbag Government to remove this unfair tax... but in the long term our best chance of getting rid of it is through more, and closer, involvement in the EU - which is why I'm a "yes" voter. If VRT is ever lifted, it will only be done by the EU making the Irish Government get rid of it. They will never do it unprompted.

I am always amazed how about how few people seem to get upset over the issue of VRT. So, good to see I'm not the only one. :-)