Speaking in County Laois this morning, where he was launching the party’s pre-budget submission, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said Taoiseach Enda Kenny must oppose any further loss of Irish sovereignty to the EU. He called on the Taoiseach to stand up for Ireland.
“Over the last few days we have seen the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel propose wide ranging changes to the EU treaties aimed at centralizing the control of the budgets of member states.
“Sinn Féin fundamentally rejects the idea that a further loss of fiscal powers is a positive development for the Irish people.
“The events of the last few days are a continuation of what we have seen throughout this crisis with the German and French governments taking upon themselves the role of European leaders. The Taoiseach and the Irish Government so far have acquiesced in this. Enda Kenny now needs to put on the Green Jersey. He needs to act in the Irish national interest.
“In the Dáil this week The Taoiseach said he supported ‘the creation of stronger economic governance throughout Europe, and particularly the Eurozone’. He spoke positively about EU President Van Rompuy’s interim report which ‘will identify possible steps to strengthen economic union, focusing on further strengthening economic convergence within the Euro Area, improving fiscal discipline and deepening economic union including the possibility of limited Treaty changes’.
“This is a mistake. The reality is that what is being proposed goes far beyond limited treaty change and envisages the loss of any remaining fiscal powers.
“Sinn Féin is the only party in the Dáil who have been consistent in our position on successive EU referendums. The latest developments show that much of what we said has indeed come to pass.
“Sinn Féin argued that the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam and Nice Treaties were all steps in the transformation of an economic community of independent states into one big European State. One of our primary objections to this process was the fundamentally undemocratic nature of the union that was evolving.
“The behaviour of the French and German leaders in recent weeks has demonstrated this very clearly. They told the Greek government not to hold a referendum on their bailout. They seem to have played a role in the removal of the previous Italian government. They are now attempting to present the other member states of the EU with a fait accompli and force the centralising of economic powers in Europe.
“Nicolas Sarkozy’s thinly veiled attack on this state’s corporation tax indicates that these states are operating in their own interests.
“During the most recent EU referendum campaign on the Lisbon Treaty Sinn Féin argued that a better deal was possible, that the treaty reduced Ireland’s say in Europe and would allow future changes to EU Treaties to be passed without a referendum.
“Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour sold the electorate a pup by arguing that passing the Lisbon Treaty would lead to more jobs in Ireland. Just this week the number of people on the dole in this state jumped to 448,000. It is clear from the way the Irish Government is approaching this issue that it desperately want to avoid the Irish people having a say on any Treaty change.
“The Taoiseach has thus far refused to commit to hold such a referendum. This is in line with the behaviour of previous governments who ignored the views of the electorate following the rejection of the Nice and Lisbon referenda.
“The Taoiseach needs to start acting in the national interest. For example an illustration of the two-tier European Union which is emerging is the discussion by German parliamentarians of elements of this state’s budget. This was demeaning for our parliamentary system and for Irish citizens. The Taoiseach needs to spell out clearly that the bigger states will not be allowed to encroach any further on what remains of Irish sovereignty. He needs to stand up to them. If, as he claims, the government’s intention is to restore sovereignty then he needs to start now. This means making it clear that he will not agree to further centralization of fiscal powers in Brussels.
“Any further surrender of fiscal powers would be a backward step.
“The only way out of this debt crisis is a combination of sensible fiscal policies and a credible growth strategy.
“It is clear that the austerity policies being implemented across the EU, but particularly in the so-called peripheral states, is failing. A European-wide investment programme accompanied by debt restructuring is needed. The Taoiseach needs to make this clear prior to the EU summit on 8th December.” ENDS