No side making it up, says Creighton

Tue, May 22, 2012, 01:00

TEMPLE BAR DEBATE:MINISTER FOR European Affairs Lucinda Creighton believes those campaigning for a No vote in the referendum on the fiscal treaty are “prepared to just make things up” and are contributing to confusion among the electorate.

Speaking to The Irish Times after the Temple Bar Traders referendum debate yesterday, she said the No side were “prepared to just make things up and to take facts and to deconstruct them”.

During the debate there were calls for both sides to clarify whether Ireland would have access to the European Stability Mechanism, a permanent €500 billion European bailout fund.

Ms Creighton added: “The most crucial issue is the ESM. It’s very, very clear, the Referendum Commission have made it exceptionally clear, that if we don’t vote Yes in the referendum, we will not have access to the ESM. Yet three No side speakers came up and contradicted that, so they’re generating huge uncertainty.”

For the No side, Sinn Féin’s enterprise spokesman Peadar Tóibín said in the event of a No vote, Ireland would still receive funding from the ESM.

Socialist Party TD Clare Daly, also speaking for the No side, added: “It is absolutely factually accurate to say that the ESM has not been ratified yet. It does require an alteration of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union and every single member state including Ireland has to sign up to that.”

Mr Tóibín said the passing of the treaty would result in higher levels of austerity including higher household charges, along with fewer teachers and hospital beds.

Responding to these claims Ms Creighton said: “It is the most cynical, jumping on a band wagon, for absolutely selfish political gain that Sinn Féin is peddling these lies in the Republic of Ireland while doing the absolute opposite in the North.”

The No side also claimed the treaty “undermines democracy”.

Ms Daly said: “It is basically saying that we as citizens can elect any government we like, but they must implement these neoliberal and austerity policies.”

Ms Creighton echoed Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s claim that a No would make it far more likely Ireland would need a second bailout.

Asked whether she thought Ireland would need a second bailout, she said: “It’s impossible to predict at this point but it’s certainly our intention to go back to the markets in 2014. But I think added uncertainty from both Greece and indeed potentially from a No vote here would make that more difficult.”