Ireland. Two tribunals appointed in 1997 to investigate
corruption and tax evasion among leading politicians
continued their work. In January, Independent MP Liam
Lawlor, a former member of the Fianna Fáil government, was
sentenced to three months in prison and fined for refusing
to cooperate with the Flood Tribunal. In May, former Prime
Minister Charles Haughey was heard behind closed doors about
the corruption charges against him.
Countryaah, the Irish government was reprimanded in February by the EU for its budget, which, according to the Union, risked
further overheating in an already overheated economy.
After a case of foot-and-mouth disease was discovered in
Northern Ireland, I. sharpened border controls. In order to
prevent the spread of the disease, the traditional
celebration of Saint Patrick's Day, as well as several
different sporting events, were also canceled. A case of the
disease was discovered in I. in June.
Almost a majority of Irish people voted against the Nice
Treaty, the EU's new basic treaty of 2000, in a referendum
in June. The turnout was 35%. The result was unexpected as
all major parties advocated a yes and the Irish were among
the Union's warmest advocates. There were several reasons
why the no-side won, including the fear that small countries
would lose influence in an EU enlargement and concern that
I. would be forced to give up its neutrality in developing a
common defense. A new referendum could possibly be held the
following year at the same time as the parliamentary
elections. Probably another referendum on the tightening of
abortion laws would be held at the same time. According to
the government's proposal, the risk of suicide could not be
a legal basis for an abortion.
During the autumn, a significant slowdown occurred in the
Irish economy after ten years of high growth. It was largely
due to a general decline in the outside world, but I. was
hit extra hard due to the crisis in the communications
technology industry and reduced tourism due to
In December, a UN court rejected the Irish government's
attempt to halt the expansion of the British nuclear power
plant Sellafield on the Irish Sea due to concerns about the
safety and risk of hazardous emissions.
Later that month, eight refugees, including three
children, were found dead in a Wexford container. They had
probably suffocated or frozen to death. Five survivors were
also found. The refugees probably came from Turkey.