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Adams challenges Taoiseach on Euro Summit outcome

14 December, 2011 - by Gerry Adams

Speaking during European Council Statements in the Dáil today Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD challenged the Taoiseach over his failure to defend the interests of this state during the negotiations in Brussels last weekend.

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“If the content of the summit statement released last Friday is anything to go by, it is clear, as it is in the Taoiseach's statement today, that the issue of Ireland’s debt burden and the crippling austerity being imposed on Irish people to service this burden was not raised properly by him nor were any commitments secured.

“The deal struck by 26 EU leaders on Friday, 9 December, in Brussels will not solve the eurozone crisis. In my opinion it will make matters worse. The agreement is not a fiscal compact. It is an austerity compact. It seeks to impose right-wing austerity policies in perpetuity.

“The difficulty for all of us is that the Taoiseach agrees with this. The agreement was not imposed on him and he was not coerced or cajoled into it. It reflects his policies and political stance as leader of the Fine Gael Party and vice president of the EPP. It also reflects the position of the Labour Party.”

Mr Adams warned that “the agreement last Friday also seeks to undermine member states' democracy. Additional powers are to be given to the European Court of Justice and the European Commission to police the new 0.5% deficit ceiling and the existing provisions of the Stability and Growth Pact.”

The Sinn Féin President also challenged the Taoiseach on the issue of a referendum. Mr. Adams said: “Clause 4 which deals with the new austerity rule states: ‘Such a rule will be introduced in member states' national legal systems at constitutional or equivalent level.’

“The Taoiseach has agreed that the new austerity rule will be introduced into our Constitution and national legal system. For the information of the Taoiseach, there is no equivalent level with our Constitution. We are a State with a written constitution, which happens to be a good thing. Other states do not have written constitutions and the rule will be introduced at equivalent level to our constitutional position.

“In his statement today, the Taoiseach said he is examining how this requirement dovetails with the Fiscal Responsibility Bill which is now being prepared. That baffles me. I asked the question yesterday and the Taoiseach responded in the same way.

“Did he not figure this out before he agreed to the deal? Did he not know what it involved? Is he now saying that primary legislation may have equivalent status to constitutional law?

“As I understand it, the difference is very straightforward; this Parliament can change law, but only the citizens can change the Constitution. As such, the position the Taoiseach has put forward is absolutely wrong.”

The Louth TD said: “The Taoiseach has railed against the Fianna Fáil Party and the Green Party for giving away our sovereignty, yet he now proposes to cede a large portion of that sovereignty in perpetuity.

“Moreover, he proposes to do so through the backdoor, by way of legislation. The transferring of powers from democratically elected politicians and member states to unelected judges and civil servants in Luxembourg and Brussels takes real power away from citizens. It is anti-republican and anti-democratic.”

Concluding Mr Adams made clear Sinn Féin’s position: “My party cannot and will not support the transfer of more powers from the Oireachtas to Brussels. Nor will we support the imposition of a draconian 0.5% deficit ceiling by way of either primary legislation or a constitutional amendment.” ENDS

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