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Austerity Treaty a terrible way to make economic policy – Doherty

23 May, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Speaking today at a press conference Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said: “Enshrining the Austerity Treaty and its harsh fiscal rules in international law and giving it the protection of our constitution will make it almost impossible to change in the future.

Deputy Doherty said: “This is a terrible way to make economic policy” and urged voters “to think very carefully of the long term legal consequences of their decision.”

Deputy Doherty said:

“The harsh fiscal rules and tough enforcement mechanisms in the Austerity Treaty are bad for Ireland and for Europe.

“We are being asked to sign up to an inter-governmental treaty that will place legal obligations on this Government and all future Governments. These obligations will only be able to change with the consent of all the countries that ratify this Treaty

“We are also being asked to give these harsh rules and tough enforcement mechanisms the protection of our constitution.

“In plain English this means that once ratified it will be almost impossible to extract ourselves from the legal obligations arising from the Austerity Treaty. Enshrining the Austerity Treaty and its harsh fiscal rules in international law and giving it the protection of our constitution will make it almost impossible to change in the future.

“While Fine Gael and Labour may be happy with the content of the Treaty they can not speak for future Governments. Yet they are asking the voters to tie the hands of future Governments and limit future Governments ability to take the kinds of economic policy decisions that may well be in the best interests of the country.

“This is a bad way to make law. It is a terrible way to make economic policy. Fiscal policy belongs in Oireachtas legislation not legally binding international agreements and constitutional amendments.

“Governments need to have the flexibility to change laws and make different policy choices. The Austerity Treaty seeks to remove this flexibility and impose a rigid fiscal policy on all future Governments. It also undermines the right of democratically elected Governments to choose other options by giving unelected officials in Brussels and Luxembourg the power to enforce the harsh rules contained in the treaty.

“Sinn Féin believes that future Governments should have as much flexibility as possible and as many policy tools as are available in order to best manage our economy. The only way to ensure this flexibility and this choice is to vote No on May 31st.”

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