Burton avoids backing of second referendum

Wed, May 30, 2012, 01:00

TV DEBATE:MINISTER FOR Social Protection Joan Burton has declined to say whether Labour would agree to a second referendum should the No side prevail in tomorrow’s vote on the fiscal treaty.

In the final major televised debate on RTÉs Prime Time last night, Ms Burton did not accept the premise of the question - repeatedly put by presenter Richard Crowley. She said that the Yes vote would prevail and that the need for a second referendum would not arise.

Ms Burton was accused of evasiveness by the Socialist Partys Clare Daly. Ms Burton responded by saying Ms Daly’s party had no plans for jobs or for growth.

The 45-minute debate, which was strictly marshalled by Mr Crowley, did not descend into the heated exchanges and interruptions that characterised last weeks Frontline debate. The other participants were Fianna Fáils director of elections Timmy Dooley and Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Ms McDonald argued that funding would be available from the ESM, even in the event of a No vote. “It is unthinkable that European system would let Ireland go down the swannee,” she said.

Ms Burton countered that Sinn Féin was asking people to go on a high wire without a safety net.

Mr Dooley said Sinn Féin had quoted selectively from the ESM treaty and had not referred to the strict conditionality in it that required the fiscal treaty to be ratified.