Day 14: The Fiscal Treaty
Fine Gael accuse Sinn Féin of living in Fairytale-land. Minister for European Affairs asks the NO side to "Show ME the money". Mná Na hÉireann are out in force at a Labour Party Conference looking for Votail TÁ. Sinn Féin do not believe in a two track approach. The ULA call for debate on the issues not on the personalities.
Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe accused Gerry Adams of taking a "fairtale" view of the ESM. Saying Sinn Fein want to stop payments to the ESM after a NO vote but also expect to be able to access the fund. Paschal Donohoe believes that Sinn Féin are completely wrong, he asks " why would the Government want to sabotage the establishment of a €700 billion fund that we have been calling for for some time?". He advises that Ireland does not have a veto in relation to the fund and that the only way to "guarantee access to the ESM should we ever need it, is to vote Yes to the Stability Treaty."
Show Me The Money!
Lucinda Creighton, Minster for European Affairs, questions how Sinn Féin would fund Ireland into the future. She was speaking at a public meeting in Athlone, and told supporters that Sinn Féin must "come clean and tell the electorate exactly where they would find the money." She states that the Stability Treaty provides for the balancing of budgets but also back-up funding if necessary. She says "The €700 billion ESM fund is the cheapest, most readily accessible source of emergency funding we will be able to access. By calling for a rejection of the Treaty, Sinn Féin are advocating that we lock ourselves out of the ESM fund. They are quite entitled to that policy but they have a responsibility to tell us exactly where they would access funding. I am calling on Sinn Féin to present the alternative.”
Mná na hÉireann
Labour MEP Phil Prendergast is asking "Mná na hÉireann" to vote YES to the Stability Treaty. She pointed to research carried out by NUI Maynooth student Claire McGing, which shows that women are more likely to vote NO if they are unsure of what they are voting for. Her two main points at the launch of Labour Women's YES vote campaign was the importance of the vote on investment and the ESMs importance to Ireland's future. She advised that their will be no short term job improvements with a yes vote, however she agrees we need a more sufficient jobs and growth pact, she believes YES will allow Ireland to have a greater say in a Growth pact. She concluded by say "I think that the ESM is a vital safety net and I would hope that people give it serious weighting when it comes to their decision on May 31st."
Labour MEP Emer Costello also spoke at the Labour Women Conference, calling for a YES vote she said "Those who crudely try to associate this Treaty with indefinite austerity have to answer the question - is there ever a point at which they think we should stop borrowing? And who will continue to lend to us if we cannot control our own budget? This Treaty is about ensuring that if you want to absorb problems in the bad times, you need to manage them stably in the good times."
Also in attendance was Labour MEP Nessa Childers who said "We must vote Yes to this treaty and get on with the job of rebuilding our economy. This treaty is not the solution to the Eurozone crisis, but a first step. The treaty provides us with an insurance policy for the future, and gives us a basis to start rebuilding."
Bad For Jobs
Mary Lou McDonald, Deputy Sinn Féin Leader, has call the Austerity Treaty bad for jobs and growth. She is asking for a NO vote and the adoption of a significant Irish and EU-wide investment programme. "The Government is telling the voters that you can have austerity and investment in growth at the same time. This is simply not true. On May 31st we have a clear choice – if we want real investment in jobs and growth then we must reject the Austerity Treaty".
Personalities getting in the Way of real discussion
Richard Boyd Barrett, TD (ULA/PBP) has said that the Yes side and the media are failing to focus on the provisions and consequences of ratifying the Austerity Treaty. He says the NO side has been attacked on tax policies, personalities and media performances and that there has been less and less discussion about the actual contents of the Treaty. He believes that avoiding "to seriously scrutinise the contents of the Fiscal treaty suited the YES side". He goes on to say that it is reasonable to question the NO side about the consequences of a NO vote, but that the same questions must be put to the YES side and a YES vote. He concluded by saying "the government should be asked how much is it going to cost from 2014 onwards to meet the treaty targets and who is going to pay for it? The government don’t want to answer these questions because, however you calculate it, the answer is: billions for years to come, with workers, the unemployed and the vulnerable in our society paying the bill."