Fiscal Treaty referendum 'not a vote on Govt performance'28/04/2012 - 11:12:28
Both Fine Gael and Labour are insisting the upcoming referendum on the EU Fiscal Treaty will not become a vote on the Government's performance.
The two parties are launching their campaign calling for a 'yes' vote in the referendum in Dublin today.
Much of the discussion so far has focused on the possible need for a second bailout, with the 'yes' campaign saying we will not have access to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) in the event the treaty is rejected.
Fine Gael director of elections, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, said Irish people will understand what they are voting for on May 31.
"This campaign isn't going to be about lecturing people or telling them what to do," he said.
"(We are) trying to have a national conversation around the right thing to do
"What we really want to do is ensure that when people are making this decision… that they are making (it) on the basis of the question being asked, rather than a whole series of other areas that people might like to campaign on."
Labour's Joan Burton meanwhile said she believes Irish people will inform themselves about the referendum.
"I think that people will understand, by May 31," she said.
"I think the Irish people are very clever in terms of going to the polls and making their decisions.
"I think that they will weigh the critical issues in the treaty."
Elsewhere Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams said Irish people should not give away further powers to bureaucrats in Europe, and that passing the 'austerity treaty' will block a return to growth.
“The single biggest challenge facing the economy is getting people off the dole and back to work," Deputy Adams said.
"This is the only way to boost growth and reduce the deficit.
“The decision by the Government to lower its growth projections for this year by nearly half, is an admission that its policies of austerity are not working.
“You cannot cut your way out of a recession. Nor can you create jobs by cutting public spending and imposing taxes on low and middle-income earners. Jobs require real investment.
“The 'austerity treaty', if passed and implemented, will result in a another €6bn being wrenched out of the domestic economy after 2015," he added.
"This on top of the €8bn Fine Gael and Labour plan to cut between now and 2015. Another €6bn of cuts and tax increases will further block a return to growth."
Individual political party campaigns will begin proper on Monday, when the order for the referendum is signed off.
Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil will lobby for a 'yes' vote for the treaty which, if passed, will see stronger budgetary rules imposed from Europe and penalties for member states that disobey them.
Three major unions have already pledged to reject the treaty, saying it will create further austerity in the country, while the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has refused to take any decision on it without a commitment from the Government on implementing a €10m stimulus package.
There is currently a degree of uncertainty in Europe about the future of the treaty.
French presidential candidate Francois Hollande said if he is elected to office, he would not ratify the treaty unless he can secure a deal to include job promotion and growth measures.
The Socialist Party candidate, who led President Nicolas Sarkozy after the first round of voting, also said the result of the Irish referendum should not be taken for granted, given the country’s history in voting European treaties down.
Uncertainty also surrounds the position of The Netherlands since the collapse of its coalition government earlier this week over budget cut rows.
- Referendum Commission website
- Electoral register
- Full text of the Treaty on Stability, Cooperation and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union
- Government information website on EU Stability Treaty
- Govt information video on Stability Treaty
- Sinn Féin campaign video calling for a 'no' vote
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