DUBLIN, November 25, 2010 ( – This week the Irish government announced it would accept a multi-billion dollar bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resolve its unprecedented economic crisis. The move is being criticized by some of the Republic of Ireland’s leading pro-life voices, who warn that it will intensify the threat posed by the EU to the country’s sovereignty and therefore its pro-life constitution.

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute, and one of Ireland’s leading voices against the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, said that the so-called “rescue package” means that Ireland has lost her economic sovereignty and has plunged the country into political turmoil.

As part of Monday’s deal, the result of only four days of negotiation, the Irish government agreed to relinquish control of the country’s economic policies. Under the agreement, Ireland’s budgets, including proposed spending cuts, will now be effectively decided by the EU and the IMF.

“Last year, the people were persuaded to accept the Lisbon Treaty because of the threat of economic collapse,” Ui Bhriain said.

“That treaty gave the EU Courts unprecedented power to use the Charter of Fundamental Rights to overrule Ireland’s pro-life laws. Now that the Irish political establishment has effectively handed over the running of the country to the IMF and the EU, we’re concerned that this could signal an opportunity to those waiting in the wings to attack our ban on abortion.”

During the debate on the Lisbon Treaty pro-life groups said that its provisions would allow a case brought forward by the abortion industry to come before the newly empowered European Court of Justice.

“We were repeatedly told that the EU would respect our sovereignty and allow the Irish people to make the final decision on abortion,” said Uí Bhriain. “But we were also repeatedly told that we would retain our sovereignty on our economy yet now the EU with the IMF are running the country.”

Uí Bhriain said that the pro-life movement needs to go on “high alert.”

“Ireland’s opposition to abortion has long been the subject of censure by the European Parliament. We need to ensure that on this crucial issue, the people keep the right to decide.”

Pro-life leaders in the Life Institute, Youth Defence and the anti-Lisbon campaigning group, Cóir, said they will be contacting the government this weekend to set out their position.

Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, commented last week that the bailout is a sure indicator that the No side in last year’s Irish Lisbon Treaty referendum had spoken the truth that ratification would be tantamount to relinquishing Irish sovereignty.  He said that Britain now needs to help Dublin resist the Brussels take-over of the Irish economy.

“What has happened to Ireland is tragic. You fought for hundreds of years to be free of English dominance and now, less than 90 years since the foundation of an independent Irish State, your political leaders have allowed the EU Commission and IMF to take economic control of your country,” Farage said.

The Irish bailout has intensified anti-EU sentiment in both Ireland and the UK. Today, for the first time, a national newspaper has said that Britain needs to withdraw entirely from the European Union. The Daily Express announced the start of a “crusade,” – starting with an online petition –  to get the UK out of the EU.

“From this day forth our energies will be directed to furthering the cause of those who believe Britain is Better Off Out,” the paper said today. “The famous and symbolic Crusader who adorns our masthead will become the figurehead of the struggle to repatriate British sovereignty from a political project that has comprehensively failed.”

Daniel Hannan, a Conservative MEP and a leader of the “Euro-skeptic” group in Brussels, commented, “Since 2001, opinion polls have registered a majority [of the British public] against EU membership.” Hannan wrote on his Daily Telegraph blog today that despite this, none of the parties in the House of Commons is listening.

“Ultimate proof of this blog’s obsessive contention that people are wiser than their leaders,” he commented. He noted that 55 percent of Britons “would vote to leave the EU tomorrow. But their opinion is shared by just 2 per cent of their MPs – less than one per cent if we exclude the Ulster parties.”

Both Hannan and the Daily Express are making the argument purely from an economic standpoint. “For me,” Hannan said, “the clinching statistics are those produced by the European Commission itself. Benefits of the single market: €120 billion a year. Cost of EU regulation: €600 billion a year. Go figure.”