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Media Appearances - Television

European Union treaties, laws and policies

The most impactful way of communicating evidence-based analysis of government policies, new EU Treaties, and the politics of current affairs appears to be live television. Through regular appearances on the “Tonight with Vincent Browne Show” on [then] TV3, I gave on the spot analysis of new drafts of EU legislation and EU treaties, as the documents were released to the public immediately after meetings of the Council of the EU, and explained the potential implications for the people of Ireland in foreign, security and defence policy (Treaty of Lisbon), in economic and monetary union (SEM), in fiscal policy (Fiscal Compact), etc..

I proffered reasons as to why the Irish government was obliged to hold referendums on the Fiscal Compact and the European Stability Mechanism Treaties, why such treaties were in violation of EU law, the legal basis for the Pringle Case, and why the bailout was also breaking a range of EU EMU rules, including the maximum debt-GDP ratio of 60%, and the Treaty on European Union (TEU)’s ‘no-bailout clause’.  


More recently, on RTE1’s PrimeTime, and on BBC television, I explained the real reasons behind the UK Government’s decision to hold a referendum on Brexit, and the referendum result in June 2016, using a range of evidence, such as public opinion polls, the history of EU-UK relations, and the legal and political disputes between the two in the years leading up to Brexit, as well as ideological and cultural differences.  I contributed to the debate by outlining the implications of Brexit, the mechanisms, timelines, and likelihood of success in negotiations.

I was the only voice - amid the orchestrated cacophony of politically-motivated, speculative and scare-mongering propaganda - that called on the government, EU, and media to ‘dial down the drama’ in their discourses on Brexit, pointing out that the status quo would continue, as Brexit was about the UK avoiding *future* legislation and policies that were coming down the track, for example, the Financial Transaction Tax, the Banking Union, the Fiscal Union (including social welfare harmonisation) and the common EU army.  

Opinion leaders welcomed my contributions - "finally, some common sense" - as evidenced in a Sunday Business Post editorial excerpt below.

I outlined the changes in terms of current EU policy programmes, such as Fisheries, CAP, trade, the Single Market, environment, the Common Travel Area, the border with Northern Ireland, and future Ireland-EU-UK relations.

My predictions turned out to be correct, with the UK leaving the EU with Theresa May’s deal in place, maintaining the status quo in terms of legislation, and the Single Market, and the maintenance of an open border with Northern Ireland and the Common Travel Area.  


The Future Relationship negotiations are currently on-going and may extend beyond the 31st December 2020 deadline.

"Don’t sweat Brexit
Sunday Business Post
June 19, 2016

There has been as much fuss about the economic impact of Brexit as the Y2K bug

It always fascinates me just how quickly panic spreads. Only three more days to go and all anyone seems to want to talk about is Brexit and whether or not the British public will leave the European Union and what doom and disaster that could herald for Ireland.

With that in mind, it was refreshing to listen to the thoughts of Dr Karen Devine from UCD’s (sic) School of Law and Government on RTÉ’s Prime Time programme on Thursday evening.

Devine pointed out three things to consider in relation to Britain leaving the union. The first being timing, in that even if the British public did decide to leave the EU, the result of the referendum is not legally binding. It would then become a political decision for the government to make as to whether or not it wanted to listen to the wishes of its people, which would take time.

“It’s going to take at least two years for any negotiations to happen in terms of establishing the terms and conditions of the UK leaving the EU, which is negotiated between the EU and the UK,” she said. “So when people wake up and get the referendum results on Saturday morning, there is no reason to panic. Nothing is going to change overnight. The process will take at least two years and the UK has to agree to withdraw and has to notify the EU.”

Another point she made is that “the EU is a system of law. The fundamental things is does are based around the single market, which are the four freedoms: goods, services, people and capital.

Britain is effectively already a member of an organisation known as the European Economic Area, or EEA, which only has a small number of members such as Norway and Iceland. Because Britain has opted out of so many policy areas already, like EMU and Schengen, they are more or less down to trade plus a few other policies, many of which they don’t agree with, like fisheries or agriculture.”

According to Devine, there’s a lot of hype around Brexit and it’s exaggerated. “The world will not end,” she said. “There is no real economic analysis around it leaving, but rather a suggestion that there will be a small benefit of some £10 to £20 billion, but the impact or benefits will not be too great. It’s a bit like the hype we had about Y2K and echoes the panic in Ireland over Nice II and Lisbon II.” Finally, some common sense."

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Dr. Karen Devine


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