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For the good of Europe, Ireland must vote NO – Mac Lochlainn

19 April, 2012 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has said that Ireland is not alone in Europe in criticising or rejecting the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, a treaty that aims to permanently enshrine a particular set of draconian economic policies across the Eurozone.

Speaking on the debate on the 30th Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012, MacLochlainn said that "the policies set out in the treaty are regressive and will deepen and lengthen recession. This is a view that is rapidly growing across the whole Eurozone."

He said:

“Sinn Féin is at the centre of an expanding pan-European discussion about a social Europe. During this campaign we want to let the people know that that there is an alternative to the right wing Thatcherite treaty before us.

“It is important that the public understand we are far from alone in rejecting what is being forced on us. Voices all across Europe and beyond, and from all across the political spectrum, are opposed to it. Political parties and trade unions throughout Europe are urging the Irish people to reject this treaty. They also want us to know that given the chance, they would be campaigning for its rejection by referendum in their own countries.

“Although the European Trade Union Confederation supported every previous EU treaty, it is vigorously opposing this one. It states ‘the new Treaty is only stipulating more of the same: austerity and budgetary discipline. It will force member states to pursue damaging pro-cyclical fiscal policies, giving absolute priority to rigid economic rules at a time when most economies are still weak and unemployment intolerably high.’

“Francois Hollande, the frontrunner in the race for the French presidency, has stated that he will renegotiate the treaty if he is elected president of France.

“The Irish government, on the other hand, is saying that if we reject the Austerity Treaty we will be denied European Stability Mechanism (ESM) funding in the future. This is simply not true.

“The blackmail clause is an empty threat. It has little if any legal force and conflicts with the primary mandate of the ESM to safeguard the stability of the Eurozone as a whole as written into the EU Treaties. It is also not the only source of emergency funding available to EU member states who find themselves frozen out of the sovereign markets.

“The ESM has not yet been ratified by this State. The Government continues to have a veto on the ESM.

“If it wanted the Government could seek the removal of this blackmail clause. Unfortunately they know that without this, the prospect of winning the referendum on the Austerity Treaty is next to impossible.
“In our private member motion last month, Sinn Féin called on the government to delay the ratification of the ESM until after the Austerity Treaty referendum. This would allow a free and fair debate on the merits of the Austerity Treaty free from bullying or blackmail.

“The Government has since taken the first step in the right direction by delaying the ratification of the ESM until after the Austerity Treaty referendum. They now need to remove this threat to the Irish people. They need to make it clear that if the Irish people reject this Austerity Treaty, they will go to the European Council and secure the removal of the blackmail clause, using their veto if required.

“Ireland is now in the driving seat as the only country with a referendum, there is great support behind us.

“For the good of Europe, we need to vote No.”

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