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Sinn Féin will fight Austerity Treaty – Adams

29 February, 2012 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil this morning on European Council Statements, said that Sinn Féin will fight the Austerity Treaty and called on the Taoiseach “to give a solemn undertaking to this Dáil and to the citizens of this state that you will abide by whatever outcome is reached.”

Teachta Adams also asked the Taoiseach, who will be in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, “to tell your European counterparts that you will respect the outcome of the referendum and you expect them to do the same.”

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“Yesterday the government reluctantly bowed to the democratic imperative and the right of citizens to vote in a referendum on the austerity treaty.

“This is a referendum that neither Fine Gael nor Labour wanted. Both did their best to avoid it.

“Since the first drafts of this treaty were leaked to the public last December Sinn Féin has consistently argued that there is a democratic imperative for a referendum. There is also a legal and constitutional imperative.

“The referendum will now take place. And Sinn Féin welcomes this.

“Crucially, this means the people will have their say on a matter of profound and long lasting consequence.

“Equally important, the details of this Treaty and of the European Stability Mechanism, and their implications for the people of this state, will be fully discussed and debated before a final decision is made.”

“Teachta Adams called for “a real debate this time, an honest debate. Not like Nice 2 and in particularly Lisbon 2. In that referendum Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour bullied and sought to scare the electorate.

“It was claimed that a vote against Lisbon would weaken our position in the European Union. It was also claimed that a vote for Lisbon was a vote for jobs and growth.

“Where are those jobs now? Where is the growth and prosperity?

“So, let’s not have a replay of Nice 2 and Lisbon 2. Let’s the facts speak and let’s set aside the scare tactics.

“Sinn Féin’s position is crystal clear. We are against this treaty. We’re also against austerity. We don’t think it’s fair. We don’t think it’s right. This treaty will be bad for those on low and middle incomes and disadvantaged communities.

“The Treaty, if ratified, will place an economic straight jacket on this state for decades. Its debt and deficit limits are draconian. It will mean decades of austerity imposed on a people crying out for investment in jobs and growth.

“The impact of the government’s austerity policies are all around us in the cuts to essential public services; the numbers of young people leaving our shores; the cuts to DEIS schools; the slashing of school guidance counsellors; the attack on rural communities; families in mortgage distress; stealth taxes; the crisis in our health service, and now the imposition of cuts to Community Employment schemes which will in effect see the end of many such schemes.

“And the Government has plans to cut a further €8.6 Billion from the economy in the next three years to meet the Troika Deficit target of 3%. The austerity treaty demands that this be reduced to a 0.5% target. This is predicted to mean a further €6 billion in cuts and new taxes.

“We cannot afford this treaty.

“So Sinn Féin will fight this treaty. And I have every confidence in our people’s ability to take the right decision.” ENDS

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