Government must spell out cost of a Yes vote – Doherty
Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has today challenged the Government to “spell out where it will get the €6 billion that will be required to meet the 0.5% structural deficit target if the Austerity Treaty is passed”. Under the terms of the Austerity Treaty Ireland will have to meet a structural deficit rule of 0.5% after we exit the current Troika funding programme in 2015.
Deputy Doherty said:
“The first week of this campaign has been dominated by negative campaigning by the Yes side. The Government are hoping that bully boy threats and scare tactics will frighten people into supporting a bad Treaty.
“Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour are arguing that a no vote will result in the state being denied access to emergency funding in the future. Sinn Féin has shown that this argument is false. Nobody should be in any doubt; if Ireland needs further emergency funding the European Union will provide that finance.
“The Government has claimed that a no vote will make this year’s budget ‘dramatically more difficult’. This is untrue. The targets for the next three budgets have already been agreed by the Government and the troika. The Government is committed to €8.6 billion in adjustments between 2012 and 2015. The outcome of the referendum will not affect any of this.
“The Government needs to stop the scaremongering. The electorate deserve a sensible debate on the economics and the politics of this Treaty.
“The most important question that the Government must answer is how they will pay for the cost of a Yes vote.
“At the centre of this Treaty is the so called ‘balanced budget rule’. If passed we will have to reach a structural deficit of 0.5% after we exit the current Troika austerity programme in 2015.
“According to the Department of Finance’s own Spring Forecast published last week the structural deficit in 2015 will be 3.5%. The gap between this figure and the new 0.5% rule is equivalent to approximately €6 billion.
“The Government has a responsibility to explain to the voters where they will get this money from. Is it their intention to further increase the tax burden on low and middle income families? Is it their intention to cut even more funding from front line education, health and community services?
“Sinn Féin agrees with deficit reduction. We have repeatedly set out proposals that would reduce the deficit in a fair way without further damaging the domestic economy. The Government’s policies of austerity are not working. The Austerity Treaty will further hamper economic and financial recovery. The sensible thing to do on May 31st is to vote no.”