Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has urged a NO vote in the referendum on 31 May.
Speaking in the Dáil today in the debate on the 30th Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012, the Sinn Féin leader accused the government and Fianna Fáil of trying to “bully and blackmail citizens into voting Yes.”
Teachta Adams said: “Austerity has failed, in this state and in states across Europe where unemployment is rising and poverty and hardship are the only growth industries.
“The dire social consequences of austerity are to be found in every household struggling to pay mortgages and household bills; on every main street where businesses are shutting down; and in every hospital and school where reduced resources are hurting the sick and the young.
“The pitiable images of an elderly couple evicted from their home in Dublin is another example of the failure of austerity. Some 100,000 households are currently in mortgage distress with 91 more joining that number each day. This is unacceptable. Austerity simply doesn’t work. And this Austerity Treaty will handover significant control of fiscal and budgetary matters to un-elected EU officials. Whatever view a citizen takes of this, or any other Irish government, at least by virtue of universal franchise citizens can change governments and make them democratically accountable come election time. We cannot do this with EU officials who are not elected by Irish citizens and cannot be held accountable by them.
“The Austerity Treaty must be opposed. Its debt and deficit limits are draconian. If passed this Treaty will mean decades of austerity imposed on a people crying out for investment in jobs and growth. It means that citizens will continue to pay for the greed of bankers and the bad policies of the former Fianna Fail/Green government. This is wrong.
“Not that long ago Labour MEPs voted against measures in the European Parliament that are now part of this Treaty. One Labour MEP described austerity as a ‘recipe for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.’ “Another said these measures ‘will kill growth, destroy jobs and derail recovery.’ They are right.
“I would appeal to Labour TDs to vote with their conscience and in solidarity with working people and against this Bill and against this Treaty. In this the centenary of its foundation by Connolly and others, and mindful of next year’s centenary of the Dublin Lockout and that great ideological battle between left and right, Labour today should be standing with the working people and against austerity and against the William Martin Murphy-like conservatism of the 21st century. I would also appeal to the 50% of citizens who refused to pay the Household Charge and the many others who were coerced and bullied into paying it to make a stand against the government’s austerity policies by voting No in the referendum.