Taoiseach may debate fiscal treaty with Adams

Sat, May 12, 2012, 01:00

THE TAOISEACH has indicated he will “consider” holding a one-to-one referendum debate with Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams, who he described as “the leader of the No campaign”.

Up to now, Mr Kenny has rejected an offer to take part in such a debate on TV3 because he objected to the chairmanship of presenter Vincent Browne.

However, Mr Browne has offered to stand down as moderator in favour of the station’s political editor Ursula Halligan.

TV3 has issued another formal written invitation to the Taoiseach to participate in the debate on Tuesday May 29th at 8pm, two days before the referendum.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr Kenny said: “There’s a very long way to go in this campaign.

“I have debates every week with Deputy Adams and I might remind you that, during the general election, he said that the EU and the IMF should leave here and take their money with them.

“There will be plenty of opportunity for me to consider debates with deputy Adams as the leader of the No campaign,” he added.

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin commented later: “I believe that such a debate should take place. Gerry Adams is most certainly available to engage with the Taoiseach and the Taoiseach should accept it.”

When the Taoiseach was asked if there was any point in having the fiscal treaty referendum in view of developments in Germany and France, he replied: “As we are in a programme, investors and potential investors outside this country are looking at Ireland now as part of Europe.

“They want certainty, they want decisiveness, they want a clear horizon. I don’t want to damage that in any way.”

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said the outcome of the referendum was “quite open” and political developments in France and Greece were helping the No side.

Newly elected French president François Hollande was “being forced to reflect the growing anger among the French working class” by seeking treaty changes, he said.

Even in Germany, the Social Democratic Party was “beginning now also to join the clamour for a change from austerity”.

His Socialist Party colleague, Paul Murphy MEP, said: “This treaty represents a very serious attack on people’s democratic rights.” They were speaking in Dublin at the launch of the website austeritytreaty.ieand a pamphlet by Mr Murphy entitled Austerity Treaty explained: how it undermines democracy and institutionalises austerity.

Criticising the Government’s publicly funded website, stability-treaty.ie, Mr Murphy said it was “inaccurate” and that it “attempted to rewrite the causes of the economic crisis”.

Mr Ó Caoláin has questioned the impartiality of the Government’s information booklet on the treaty, which is being distributed to homes throughout the State.

“If you make an analysis of it in terms of its presentation and construction, the subtext all the way is in support of a Yes outcome,” the Cavan-Monaghan TD said.