Ross comes out in support of No vote

Sun, May 27, 2012, 01:00

Independent Dublin South TD Shane Ross has ended weeks of silence by declaring he will be calling for a No vote in the referendum.

Mr Ross used the pages of his former employer The Sunday Independent to announce his decision today.

In a column, he claimed that he was “passionately pro-European” but said he could not vote yes because “we are being compelled to vote in a twilight zone”.

“The full package is shrouded in uncertainty. Little light will be shed on it until long after the polls close on Thursday,” he said.

The normally outspoken Mr Ross had until today refused to state publicly his voting intentions. He had been one of six parliamentarians who had called for the referendum to be postponed and had unsuccessfully tried to introduce legislation in the Dail that would have the effect of delaying the poll.

He had denied, when asked, that his refusal to publicly state his intention was that there would be strong support for the fiscal treaty in his constituency, among the most prosperous of all 43 constituencies.

Citing French and German reluctance to ratify the treaty, Mr Ross said today that both States knew that their vital national interests are at stake.

He described as an “empty threat” the clause in the treaty that will deny European Stability Mechanism funds to States that don’t ratify. “It is inconceivable that Greece would be saved and Ireland abandoned,” he said.

Mr Ross added that he would refuse to be rushed into voting Yes in a vacuum.

Finian McGrath, another independent TD who had been undecided, declared on Friday that he would be urging his supporters to Vote No. The independent Deputy for Tipperary South Mattie McGrath has still to declare his intentions.

Of the other independent TDs, the majority are against the Treaty. Maureen O’Sullivan; Thomas Pringle; Luke Flanagan; Mick Wallace: and Catherine Murphy have said they will vote No. The independent TD for Wicklow Stephen Donnelly has said that he will vote Yes.

Neither of the independents in the Kerry South constituency have adopted a public stance on the treaty. Neither Tom Fleming nor Michael Healy-Rae are advising their voters on how to vote.

Today Mr Healy-Rae said he was adamant when the referendum was announced that the Government was “making an awful mistake. The whole political landscape at the moment is uncertain. We should not be going to the polls. It’s a blunder in my honest opinion.”

He said he was not recommending to his supporters how to vote as he did not want to be “ramming my opinions down their throats”.