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Government must clarify intention on 0.5% deficit ceiling – McDonald

12 December, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking today Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald called on the government to clarify whether or not it intends to place the proposed 0.5% deficit ceiling into the constitution as required by the agreement reached in Brussels last Friday.

Deputy McDonald said:

“The agreement reached in Brussels last Friday requires member states to introduce a deficit ceiling of 0.5% of GDP into 'national legal systems at constitutional or equivalent level.'

“The Government needs to clarify whether or not it intends to place this draconian proposal into the constitution or if it will seek to avoid the required referendum and introduce this element of the Agreement into primary legislation.

“Attempting to impose such a deficit ceiling would lead to a decade of crippling austerity and economic stagnation. Unemployment and emigration will rise. Poverty and inequality will affect more and more families. National and household debt, already at unsustainable levels, will increase. And crucially the arbitrary and draconian 0.5% deficit target will not be reached.

“It would mean that this Government would have to introduce austerity budgets not only up to 2015 but for its full term of office and beyond.

“To date the Government has avoided dealing with this question. It is time for them to come clean and state clearly what their intention is on this matter.” ENDS

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