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Senator Kathryn Reilly – Austerity Treaty keynote

25 May, 2012

In a few days’ time the people of this state will be asked to vote on a treaty which will bring an extra 8 billion euro in cuts on top of what we have already suffered because of the failure of the previous and current government and the EU itself to rein in casino capitalism.

Only the Irish citizens who happen to live in the 26 counties have the opportunity to express their democratic view on the Austerity Treaty which to quote Chancellor Merkel is “permanent and binding forever”. There are 500 million people in the EU but only the 5 million who happen to be Irish citizens living in this part of Ireland get to have a say! It seems that is democracy EU-style in this day and age.

It is easy to feel powerless as the forces of austerity in this government and across Europe would wish us to feel but there should be hope. The Greek people have said enough is enough and have thrown out the cheerleaders of austerity in their country. The reaction has been predictable- a tidal wave of threats and interference in their democratic procedures. In France, Germany and Italy there has been a swing against austerity-mongers and towards more realistic policies. We can join in this movement and help put a nail in the failed policy of austerity.

What this treaty also does in erode Irish sovereignty in a very real way. It is nearly 100 years ago that the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army took up arms to establish the rights of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland. What they fought for was the right of then Irish people to choose for themselves their own path- the “unfettered control of their own destinies”.

Sinn Fein is committed to fighting to the last day and working with all progressive forces to ensure that this austerity treaty will not damn us to a generation of cuts and a generation of Irish people to forced emigration to keep unemployment figures down.

Fundamentally, and in a very explicit way, this Treaty surrenders Irish sovereignty in return for absolutely nothing. No Irish Republican could support this and nobody who claims to be heirs of James Connolly could accept this.

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