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Eoin Ó Broin – Keynote address on the Austerity Treaty

25 May, 2012

The Austerity Treaty is bad for Ireland and bad for the European Union.

Its authors have misdiagnosed the cause of the Eurozone crisis and have prescribed the wrong medicine.

Their proposed remedy – more austerity and less democracy – will make the patient even worse.

On May 31st citizens in this state have a clear choice.

If you are for austerity and against democracy vote Yes.

But if you believe, as I do, that austerity has failed, then you must vote No.

If you believe, as I do, that decisions are best taken by democratically elected politicians, then you must vote No.

Article 3 of the Austerity Treaty seeks to impose a harsh structural deficit target of 0.5%. This will mean at least €6 billion more austerity post 2015 – this will mean more taxes on low and middle income people and more cuts to front line services in health, education and community services.

Article 4 of the Treaty requires us to reduce our debt-to-GDP ratio by 1/20th a year from 2018. If the economy does not perform well this could lead to even deeper cuts and higher tax increases in order to reduce the debt.

Article 5 gives significant new powers to the European Commission to impose fiscal and budgetary prescriptions on member states deemed to be in breach of the rules.

Article 9 gives the European Court of Justice the power to impose fines of up to €160 million on states deemed to be in breach of the rules.

And by giving these harsh rules and tough enforcements the force of international law and the protection of our Constitution we are making it almost impossible to change them.

Austerity is not working. It is hurting people, damaging our society and blocking a return to economic growth.

We need a change of direction. We need investment in jobs. We need to stand up for Ireland. We need to vote no on May 31st.

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