Adams tells Oireachtas Sub-Committee: Austerity is failing: Vote No to the Treaty
Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams TD, yesterday addressed the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union.
The Sinn Féin leader began by setting out the failure of the government’s austerity policies and their devastating social consequences for citizens.
Teachta Adams said:
“I hear every day from constituents of the hardships and difficulties austerity is causing. Small businesses that can’t get credit from banks that the government claims we – the citizens – now own.
“Women’s centres in Dundalk and Drogheda whose funding to help women victims of domestic violence has been cut – again. Schools across Louth and Meath that are facing difficulties over funding for new school building projects. Children being taught in old not-fit-for-purpose buildings or in prefabs.
“In common with schools across the state they have dedicated teaching staffs, committed parents and local communities 100% behind them. What they don’t have is a Minister for Education who is prepared to demand the resources needed to create a first class teaching environment. This is unacceptable.
“The Health Service is also in crisis. I see it in the stripping away of essential services from Louth County Hospital, in the absence of much needed resources for Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda and in patients on trolleys. Our elderly citizens in public nursing homes like St Joseph’s in Ardee and the Cottage in Drogheda wait apprehensively to see where the axe will fall next.
“This too is unacceptable. And what bemuses me is that other local TDs, decent people in their own right, turn up at meetings with the HSE and other agencies and complain about these injustices and then they return to the Dáil and vote for the policies which are creating the problems.
“And now in this referendum Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour – that cosy consensus for cuts – are asking citizens to vote Yes for these policies as well. They are asking citizens to make the austerity policies and their devastating social consequences part of our constitution and yet none of the Yes camp will argue for austerity on its own merits.
In fact the majority of commentators have highlighted the dire social and economic elements of this treaty.” The Sinn Féin leader criticised Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil efforts to frighten citizens into a Yes vote. Deputy Adams said: “Fine Gael and Labour have now joined with Fianna Fáil in trying to scare citizens into voting Yes. Once again the claim is being made that this vote is about staying in or leaving the European Union or the Eurozone. This is not true.
“Ireland’s position as a member of the Eurozone is secure no matter what position we take on the Austerity Treaty. The government parties and Fianna Fáil are trying to suggest that if we don’t sign up to the Austerity Treaty we will not get access to emergency funding. This is utter nonsense. The simple fact is that this is not a done deal. For the European Stability Mechanism to come into law it has to go into the EU Treaties (Article 136) and all 27 member states including Ireland have to agree to this.
“This decision is in the hands of Fine Gael and Labour. Are Enda Kenny and Éamon Gilmore seriously suggesting that they intend to sign up to something that would jeopardise access to emergency funding, if the state needs it?
“So, the Yes side’s claims on this issue are as bogus as were the claims during the Lisbon Treaty campaign that passing that Treaty would create jobs.Since Lisbon 170,000 jobs have been lost......”
The Louth TD also spoke about funding for the state. Teachta Adams said: “Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil ask Sinn Féin how would we pay for running the state in the event that their bailout scheme fails? The real question is how are the government going to pay for anything.This Treaty would mean an additional €6 billion in cuts and taxes.
“This is on top of the €8 billion in cuts over the next three years for the troika deal and the billions that they want to pay to Anglo and unsecured bondholders. Sinn Fein has argued consistently that there are alternatives to the “Government’s austerity policies and bank bailouts. The Sinn Féin approach is based on fair taxes, investing in jobs, debt restructuring and growing the all-Ireland economy.
Sinn Féin would :
• not pay the promissary note.
• support those on low and middle income
• introduce a third tax rate and a wealth tax,
• bring in savings by for example, capping public sector salaries at €100,000.
• And critically we would invest in jobs and growth.
• And Sinn Féin would not sign up to a Treaty that would drive the country deeper into recession.
Sinn Féin has also called for: •
• Increasing the lending capacity of the European Investment Bank to stimulate activity in the real economy.
• Cleansing the European Banking system of toxic debts.
• Debt-restructuring agreements involving debt-write-downs for heavily indebted states.
• Ending the obligation on the state to pay the Anglo Irish Promissory Note and un-guaranteed senior bondholders in Anglo and other banks.
“Sinn Féin has also set out in budget submission after budget submission exactly how we would close the deficit and fund the state and put public finances back on a sustainable footing. This includes paying the wages of nurses, teachers and Gardaí and providing decent frontline services.
“For all of these reasons and because there is an alternative this Austerity Treaty must be opposed. Vote No on May 31st.