Higgins says Government is using 'argument of fear'

Wed, May 2, 2012, 01:00

SOCIALIST PARTY CAMPAIGN:THE GOVERNMENT has been accused of using scare tactics to ensure the fiscal treaty referendum is passed.

Launching its campaign in Dublin yesterday, the Socialist Party criticised Minister for Finance Michael Noonan over his warning that he would have to introduce a tougher budget if a No vote were returned by the electorate.

Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy described Mr Noonan’s comments as an attempt to put a gun to the heads of the public and force them to vote Yes.

Citing the low number of householders who had signed up for the household charge, Mr Murphy said the Socialist Party would unashamedly make the link between the struggle against unfair taxes and the introduction of further austerity measures if the referendum is passed.

Mr Murphy’s colleague Joe Higgins TD accused the Government of using the “argument of fear” to scare voters. He said that instead of offering more stability, the fiscal treaty would bring about more instability, both here and across the euro zone.

Mr Higgins said that many of the “lavish phrases” being used by the Government in the campaign echoed similar comments made during the second Lisbon Treaty referendum.

“Bitter experience has shown that those promises were absolutely worthless and false. Lisbon II did not provide the jobs that were promised and private investment has utterly collapsed. The new promises of stability are equally worthless,” he said.

Cllr Ruth Coppinger rejected claims that Ireland would be isolated if it voted No in the referendum. She said that voting against the treaty would be an act of solidarity with citizens of other countries who did not have the opportunity to vote.

The Socialist Party is to spend €55,000 on the campaign and will deliver a million leaflets to houses.

Mr Murphy said that while the Yes side would massively outspend the No side he was still optimistic that it would do well because of the increasing confidence of people “to fight back against austerity”.

Mr Higgins said the Yes side would be bolstered by the print media, which he claimed were “stridently promoting a Yes vote”.