Coalition played on fears of electorate, Adams claims

Sat, Jun 2, 2012, 01:00

NO CAMPAIGN:PEOPLE VOTED Yes to the fiscal treaty out of fear and “through gritted teeth”, according to the No side in the fiscal treaty.

After a 50.6 per cent turnout, with 60.3 per cent in favour and 39.7 per cent against, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said his party respected the electorate’s decision. However, he accused the Government of playing on people’s fears and said many people had voted Yes “through gritted teeth”, but hundreds of thousands also voted No.

“The problems that confronted the Irish people yesterday are still there today,” he said.

Asked if Sinn Féin would now support the Government on the European Stability Fund, Mr Adams said “we will look at the terms of reference and the conditions”.

The party’s deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, said there was now an onus on the Government to deliver on the “specific and clear promises” they made during the campaign on jobs, investment and banking debt. “They need to deliver on this.”

She added: “Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said a Yes vote would mean an easier budget.” The Dublin Central TD said there needed to be a “real shift in gear in the budget because the burden of cuts has been disproportionately borne by those on middle and low incomes”.

Declan Ganley of Libertas said the result should not be interpreted in Europe as satisfaction here with the status quo. That was not the electorate’s view and the EU needed to “do the right thing by Ireland”, particularly on bank debt.

He also said that the Government had for the first time acknowledged that Ireland would probably need a second bailout.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said he believed fear had won the day. People most affected by austerity “voted very strongly No and others voted Yes out of fear and the hope that things wouldn’t get worse”.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said fear had an effect in the campaign but “the phoney war is over and the political and economic war will return to the ground and trenches”.

Government would now “target the 50 per cent of people who haven’t paid the house tax”.

Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy said he respected the result but believed it would be a “Pyrrhic victory” for the Government because the euro crisis would continue and there would not be stability.

During the campaign he said a lot of people spoke of the second Lisbon campaign in 2009, when Fianna Fáil won the referendum “on the promise of jobs, but there were no jobs”.

He said the Socialist Party spent €54,000-€55,000 on their campaign, with funding from the Left group in the European parliament, who were part of the campaign against austerity.

Mr Murphy, who succeeded Mr Higgins as MEP when he won a Dáil seat, acknowledged that the referendum campaign had raised his profile ahead of the European elections in two years’ time.

People Before Profit TD Joan Collins congratulated voters in her Dublin South Central constituency, one of five where a majority voted No.

She said the No vote was “no surprise as the people in South Central have been at the brunt of the austerity policies of this Government”.

The Communist Party of Ireland said in a statement: “What the result shows is not the will of the people but the fear of the people.”