Independent TDs call for No vote


Six members of the Dáil technical group called for a No vote in the fiscal treaty referendum at a joint press conference in Dublin this morning.

Wexford Independent TD Mick Wallace said that, unlike the French, the Irish Government "seem to be terrified" of deviating from the standard EU position. He said the crisis was brought about because of lack of regulation, "mainly in the banking industry".

Asked if he was in any position to make that argument because of his own business difficulties, he said: "This fiscal treaty wouldn't have stopped me getting into trouble."

He said he owed €40 million. However, the value of his assets had collapsed from about €80 million and were "probably" now worth €10 million.

"You could argue if I had less access to money I would not have got into so much trouble," he said.

Mr Wallace said 11 of the 16 members of the technical group, including the five members of the United Left Alliance, opposed the treaty.

The event was chaired by Donegal Independent TD Thomas Pringle.

Independent TD for Dublin Central, Maureen O'Sullivan said she was never in agreement with Ireland being part of the EEC and regretted the lack of a social dimension to the treaty.

North Kildare TD Catherine Murphy said she had supported the Lisbon Treaty because it gave legal status to the Charter of Fundamental Rights but that "the economics underpinning this treaty go against the charter".

Roscommon TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan said people should vote "No for stability". He believed "power should reside as close as possible to the individual" but the Treaty would hand over power to the unelected members of the European Court of Justice.

Waterford TD John Halligan questioned the Government line that the treaty was needed in case Ireland needed access to emergency funding from the European Social Mechanism. "The Government told us there would not be a second bailout: are the Government not confident of their own policies?"

Commenting on Minister of State Lucinda Creighton’s suggestion earlier that a second bailout might be necessary, Mr Halligan said the Government  "are all over the place".

Asked if they were simply adopting a populist and irresponsible opposition stance, Ms Murphy said: "This is bigger than the Government and Opposition. We are not taking this position lightly."

Mr Flanagan said the Government had been irresponsible in imposing the bank debt on the people, while Mr Wallace said "it would be suicide on the part of Europe not to give us a second bailout".

Calling on Fianna Fail TD Éamon Ó Cuív to break his silence on the treaty,  Mr Flanagan said he "needs to come back out now and do the right thing".