Irish Republican News · December 16, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: SF condemns euro deal “madness”
SF condemns euro deal “madness”
eoinobroin.jpg

Sinn Fein has described the deal done by European leaders last week as “madness” which could condemn the 26-County state to a draconian austerity program from which it can never escape.

The party’s economic adviser Eoin O Broin said the agreement reached between 26 of the 27 member states does not address the fundamental need for economic growth.

Mr O Broin said that if the deal, as currently constituted, is put before the Irish people, Sinn Fein will campaign for a ‘No’ vote.

A proposal to include a 0.5 per cent limit on budget deficits and a ban on restructuring debts would make it very difficult for Ireland to return to growth, he said, and was against the principle which allowed countries to borrow during a recession to stimulate the economy.

“This 0.5 per cent level is extremely draconian. To have it written into member states’ constitution and laws means that essentially you are tying the hands of this Government and future governments to impose austerity budgets into perpetuity,” he said.

The fallout from the plan to accelerate the pace of eurozone fiscal integration has continued this week. French president Nicolas Sarkozy has promoted the creation of “two Europes”, with an inner core of eurozone states (including the 26 Counties) and Britain, including the North of Ireland, firmly on the outside.

Meanwhile, the popularity of British Prime Minister David Cameron has soared in political polls following his tough stance against new European controls over the City of London financial district.

Britain’s opposition to the ‘fiscal compact’ agreed in Brussels, is the subject of ongoing negotiations. Among the issues being discussed are Britain’s opposition to plans to use the European Courts of Justice and the European Commission as the framework for eurozone fiscal integration.

Other non-eurozone states, such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, are also seeking to limit the expansive plans by France and Germany to raise taxes and limit spending across the EU.

REACTION

In Ireland, the Dublin government has been strongly criticised for approving the plans for a new European treaty while playing little or no role in the negotiations.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the rift opened with Britain at the summit last week could seriously threaten the survival of the European Union itself.

Mr Martin also said that the outcome of negotiations on Thursday night and Friday represented almost the “worst-case scenario” for Ireland. If the euro is to be saved, he added, it was not on the basis of anything agreed last Friday.

He said leaders had “steamrolled” through a solution for up to 26 member states but without thinking how issues would be handled in the absence of Britain at the table.

“Even in the unlikely event that the other 26 states all sign up to the new fiscal pact, the union’s fundamental workings will be in question for the first time in its history.

“The institutions of the union have a legal obligation to work in the interests of all citizens. How can that happen when some are in and some are out of an agreement which is central to everything the union does?”

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said the government had completely failed to raise the issue of Ireland’s bank debt burden, despite vows it would do so.

Mr Adams said Mr Kenny had shared, at a briefing with opposition leaders, a letter he had written to European Council president Herman Van Rompuy.

He told the Dublin parliament it was “a fine letter”, which said the issue would be raised at the summit.

“Then, this morning, at our briefing, you told us you did not do this, you did not raise it,” Mr Adams said.

“I was wondering: did you forget? Did you leave the letter behind you? Were your tired?”

However, the government appears to be moving reluctantly in the direction of allowing a referendum on any new treaty that may emerge in the next few months.

CAMPAIGN

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said this week that such a referendum would come down to whether Ireland wanted to continue in the euro or not.

Sinn Fein’s Padraig MacLochlainn said the government was “scaremongering” on euro membership in the “opening salvo” of its referendum campaign, and that Mr Noonan was already “instilling fear in people”.

“The Irish people are smarter than that and they have already had their fingers burned by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail in previous referendums.

“In Lisbon they were told, ‘vote yes to Lisbon, vote yes to jobs’. This Government, like the last, believes that it can lie, bribe, and blackmail its way to a referendum win. It is an insult to the public.

“Last week’s deal was an abject failure by all EU leaders, but particularly our own government, which would not even put the issue of Ireland’s debt on the table.

“The EU does not need deeper fiscal union - it needs a growth strategy, a write-down of toxic debt, and for the ECB to recapitalise the banks.

He said the euro should be stabilised.

“A referendum on last week’s deal will be about whether people think that deal will fix the euro, not whether Ireland wants to remain a member of the euro. To present it as the latter that is scaremongering in the extreme and I hope the Irish people see through it.”

© 2011 Irish Republican News