Kenny says SF leader must justify No vote


THE TAOISEACH has said he will challenge the Sinn Féin leader on the fallout from a No vote during the referendum campaign.

Enda Kenny said Gerry Adams and himself would be in close proximity to each other in terms of arguing for and against the treaty. “I will be asking Deputy Adams about the consequences of the vote he is proposing. He has not spelled out for anybody where this country will get its investment from or how public services will be paid for.’’

Mr Kenny said Mr Adams’s proposition would be “a slap in the face for Irish workers’’. Week after week he saw strong lines of investment coming into this country. They were coming to Ireland because they had confidence in the country.

Mr Kenny said that on May 31st the electorate must be fully informed about what the treaty actually did and what it was not about. When people made their decision they would be voting on the country’s future.

It was our decision alone, said Mr Kenny. “It has nothing to do with the Netherlands, nothing to do with France, nothing to do with the regional elections in Germany, nothing to do with the elections in Serbia and Greece.’’

Mr Adams warned that the “austerity treaty’’ would mean handing away more and more sovereignty to unelected officials in Europe.

“As the Taoiseach will know that is the view of more and more opinion-makers in this State and across the EU. There is nothing in the treaty to stimulate growth or job creation.’’

Mr Adams said when the current bailout ended, and if the treaty went through, it would mean a further €6 billion worth of austerity for Irish citizens. “It will mean more cuts to frontline education and community services, as well as more stealth taxes like the household charge, septic tank charges and water charges.’’

Mr Kenny said Mr Adams had not answered the question about where Sinn Féin would get the money to run services and how it proposed to continue that level of confidence for foreign investment. He was unable to do so.

Mr Adams said he got to ask the questions and the Taoiseach got to avoid them. “I would like the Government to defend austerity and argue why it is right for us, because the Government does not do so.’’

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett accused the Taoiseach of living on a different planet from the rest of the country. “People are traumatised. They are blighted by mass unemployment, being forced out of the country . . . brutal cuts being imposed on vulnerable sections of our society.’’

He said the “whole of Europe is rising up against this crazy austerity agenda’’.

Mr Kenny said he lived in the same world as Mr Boyd Barrett but not in the same sphere as him.

“If the deputy cannot acknowledge that Paypal, Eli Lilly, Microsoft, HP, Baxter, Allergan and many other companies are making serious investments in this country, resulting in the creation of a serious number of jobs, then he is living on a different planet.’’