SF says Kenny 'running scared' from Adams debate

Fri, May 11, 2012, 01:00

SINN FÉIN has accused the Taoiseach of “running scared” from a debate with Gerry Adams and Fianna Fáil has in turn attacked the party for refusing a one-to-one debate with Micheál Martin.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty told a news conference on the fiscal treaty: “I think it’s disappointing that the Taoiseach is running scared from a debate with Sinn Féin on this issue.” He was responding to an earlier comment by Enda Kenny who said he debated with the Sinn Féin leader on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the Dáil was sitting.

“I am very happy to debate with Deputy Adams but I do not do the Vincent Browne programme,” the Taoiseach said.

Mr Doherty commented: “I would say to the Taoiseach directly that he needs to put aside his petty differences with TV3 or any presenter and debate the contents of this treaty.

“If he really believes in the austerity measures that are contained within this treaty, then he has a duty and a responsibility as Taoiseach of this State to debate that with the leader of the No campaign, Gerry Adams.

“Gerry Adams has made it clear that he will debate Enda Kenny on TV3 or any other TV station at any time. This is so important, not just for the future economy of the country but for the future people of this country.

“They require and demand of our Taoiseach to debate in a proper, sensible and logical way.

“There is an onus on him to step up to the mark and meet Gerry Adams at the TV3 studios and have that debate.”

However, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin accused Mr Adams of taking a similar approach and he repeated his invitation to the Sinn Féin leader to take part in a head-to-head debate.

“It is quite clear that Gerry Adams is not serious about debating the real issues in this treaty directly with the Yes side.

“After refusing my invitation for a head-to-head debate last weekend, Deputy Adams issued an invitation to the Taoiseach that he knew was unlikely to be accepted.”

The Fianna Fáil leader added: “Sinn Féin has accused the Taoiseach of ‘running scared’ from a head-to-head debate.

“They have said that the Fine Gael leader has a duty and a responsibility to ‘step up to the mark’ and debate the contents of this treaty. We agree. The same rules must apply to Gerry Adams, and to the leaders of all political parties involved in the campaign,” Mr Martin said.

Mr Doherty said Mr Adams was prepared to take part in a group debate with Mr Martin and other party leaders. He said there were “key questions in this treaty in relation to economic sovereignty and the transfer of powers from this State to the European Commission and the European Court of Justice”.

“What will it mean in relation to the formulation of taxation policy in the future, the ownership of State assets, the delivery of public services, or the household budgets of hundreds of thousands of people? It is shocking that any state would voluntarily cede such economic sovereignty and many people are asking has the Government really understood or thought through the consequences of such actions,” the Sinn Féin finance spokesman said.

The Communist Party of Ireland said in a statement that the suspension of the German government’s ratification of the fiscal treaty and the ESM treaty “must send a strong warning signal to the Irish people. These two treaties pose a serious threat to their livelihood and to what little remains of their democracy and sovereignty. There is growing opposition throughout the EU by working people, who are sick of endless cuts with little if any prospect of relief any time soon . . . ”