I have to admit that yesterday was one of those days when I was really proud to be Irish.
Despite the fact that all the establishment parties, main trade unions and big business all supported the Lisbon Treaty/European Constitution the Irish people still had the dignity, self belief and confidence to vote No.
"Brave Irishmen, our cause is common. Like you we hold as indefeasible the right of all nations to liberty." That quote comes from General Humbert's Proclamation on the 22nd August 1798.
That sentiment was shared by the rest of the people of Europe yesterday, the people who won't get the chance to vote on this monstrosity.
Not only have the Irish people acted in the best interests of the Irish nation, they have acted in the best interests of Europe by delivering a hammer blow to the undemocratic Euro elite.
It is in times like these that I thank God for Bunreacht Na hÉireann! When the political class have sold their soul to the European elite this document can be depended upon to stand up for the interest of the Irish nation.
I remember when I was younger we had an Irish test which fell on Friday the 13th. We appealed to the teacher to put it off as the day was unlucky (it's always worth a try) but he told us not to worry. He said, quite bizarrely, that Friday the 13th was only unlucky for Protestants and that the day was actually very lucky for Catholics.
What we do know is that Friday the 13th is a lucky day for the Irish and for Europe but most importantly for democracy.
Not only did the No vote succeed yesterday, it succeeded with a high turnout. The final count saw 862,415 voting No, a 53.4% majority, with 752,451 voting Yes (46.6%).
Under European law the Lisbon treaty is now dead, simple as that! Any changes to existing European treaties needs the express support of all member states.
It needs to be remembered that the only party of the Oireachtas to go against the treaty was Sinn Féin; it was ourselves alone who put the interests of Europe and indeed the Irish people above politics.
It was Sinn Féin who trudged the roads for the last number of months campaigning for a No vote and I would like to congratulate my southern comrades on their sterling work, Maith thú a chairde!
Upon hearing that the Lisbon treaty had been defeated Mary Lou McDonald had this to say
"The people have spoken. They share our concerns about the Lisbon Treaty and believe that a better deal is possible. They also share our view that Ireland's place in Europe is secure. The government now has a clear and strong mandate to renegotiate this Treaty. They need to use the opportunity to get back around the table with our EU partners and secure a better deal."
"Throughout this referendum campaign three key issues came up over and over again - Ireland's loss of power in Europe, neutrality and the lack of information. People were also concerned at the race to the bottom in wages and conditions and the opening of key public services to competition."
"There is now a huge responsibility on the government, and particularly on the Taoiseach to listen to the people, and commit himself to the task of securing a better deal. These are very practical and reasonable demands, which can be delivered. "
Such a deal needs to include:
• The retention of a permanent Commissioner
• The retention of existing voting strength at Council
• Retention and strengthening of key strategic vetoes on tax, public services and international trade
• Maintenance of the absolute right of Irish citizens to have the final say in any significant say in changes to the EU treaties
• Specific article protecting our neutrality
• Specific protocol explicitly exempting vital public services from rules of competition and state aid
• Opt outs from expenditure on nuclear power and military capabilities.
• Inclusion of social progress clause and greater protections for workers rights
• Active promotion of free trade over fair trade
• Strengthening of the role of member state parliaments and of citizens
"This was a David and Goliath contest. Sinn Féin activists took the debate to local communities across the country and with sound and reasoned arguments convinced a majority of the electorate that a better deal was possible."
What also sickened me were the threats coming from the Euro elite, French and German politicians who believed that they could use blackmail against the Irish people. He should have known that the Irish people don't respond to threats, we defy them!
What was also clear yesterday was the pure and utter disdain coming from the Irish media. The Irish working class had defied their "betters" and thought for themselves, I mean, how dare they!
I was minded of that great Irish patriot, James Connolly
"Only the Irish working class remains as the incorruptible inheritors of the fight for freedom in Ireland."
It seems thought that the European elite don't have great hearing. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso still called on other members states to ratify the treaty. "I believe the treaty is alive and we should now try to find a solution,"
How can the treaty be alive when Ireland rejected it? Perhaps this man needs a basic course in European law.
Comrades, we have won the battle but we still need to win the war!