Ganley yet to decide on treaty vote

Fri, Mar 2, 2012, 00:00

BUSINESSMAN DECLAN Ganley has said he has not yet decided how he will vote in the fiscal treaty referendum.

Speaking at a conference at NUI Maynooth yesterday, Mr Ganley said there was an opportunity for the European partners to sit down with the Irish political leadership and come up with a formula to make this treaty “sellable to the Irish people”.

Also speaking at the conference, German ambassador to Ireland Eckhard Lubkemier said the referendum wouldn’t only be about Irish people’s view of the treaty, “but of Ireland being a member of the European Union as such”.

The symposium, Europe in Crisis: present challenges, future trajectories, was hosted by the department of sociology at NUI Maynooth and the Centre for the Study of Wider Europe.

Mr Ganley said it was not necessary to jump up and say which way he was voting. “We can consider this intelligently and make an intelligent decision informed by the road map we are shown, the commitments that are made to us and the solutions that are proposed to us in terms of addressing this debt,” he said.

He said if the treaty had been in place in 2008, the bank bailout would have meant Ireland would have breached its targets. “There is something irreconcilable there.”

He said he would have liked to see the European Stability Mechanism treaty, which will replace the temporary European Financial Stability Mechanism, included “in the question”. The upcoming French presidential elections would also “change things”, he said.

“I would reserve final judgment until we see what the outcome is there and what ideas are proposed.” Mr Ganley described Taoiseach Enda Kenny as “sincere” but “wrong”. The path he was following would not purge insolvency from the system and would not work for Europe.

“The consequences of a No vote with this management team are going to be challenging,” he said.

He said he hoped he ended up deciding to vote Yes, but “the world is not going to end” if there was a No vote. We would not have to leave the euro, but there would be consequences. Dr Lubkemier said if Europe failed to do what is necessary to safeguard the euro “we will suffer tremendously”.

The euro was an economic and political project that must not be allowed to fail. “If there is an institution too big to fail, it is the euro. You can count on Germany that it will not happen,” he said.

He said Germany did not think that all it took was for others to become like them. But diversity could thrive only if everyone “played by agreed rules” and “contributed their fair share”.

John O’Brennan, director of European studies at the college, said the poll offered a stark choice: approve the treaty or lose access to bailout funds.