Call for Ó Cuív to break silence


INDEPENDENTS:ROSCOMMON INDEPENDENT TD Luke “Ming” Flanagan has called on Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív to break his silence and resume public opposition to the fiscal treaty.

Appealing to the Galway West TD, who was instructed to refrain from publicly advocating a No vote, Mr Flanagan said: “He needs to come back out now and do the right thing.” The former deputy leader should “lead the people in Fianna Fáil that listen to him to go out and vote No”.

He said Mr Ó Cuív “can’t get off the hook on this”.

When it was put to him that this would result in expulsion, Mr Flanagan replied: “Wouldn’t it be an honour to get thrown out for the nation?” He added that the party founded by Ó Cuív’s grandfather, Éamon de Valera, was “not the same party” today.

Asked to comment, Mr Ó Cuív would only say last night: “I am charmed that he thinks I would be so influential in the debate.”

Six members of the Dáil technical group called for a No vote in the referendum at a joint press conference in Dublin yesterday morning, chaired by Donegal Independent Thomas Pringle.

Independent TD for Dublin Central Maureen O’Sullivan said: “I was never in agreement with Ireland being part of the EEC [predecessor of the EU].” She regretted the lack of a social dimension to the treaty.

Kildare Independent Catherine Murphy said she had supported the Lisbon treaty because it gave legal status to the Charter of Fundamental Rights but that “the economics underpinning this treaty go against the charter”.

Wexford TD Mick Wallace said that, unlike the French, for example, the Irish Government “seem to be terrified” of deviating from the standard EU position.

He said the crisis was brought about because of lack of regulation, “mainly in the banking industry”.

Asked if he was in any position to make that argument, in light of his own business difficulties, he said: “This fiscal treaty wouldn’t have stopped me getting into trouble.” He said he previously had assets worth €80 million and owed €40 million but the assets were “probably now worth €10 million”.

“You could argue that if I had less access to money then I would not have got into so much trouble and it’s true,” he said.

Asked how many of the 16 members of the technical group were against the treaty, Mr Wallace said there were 11 including the five members of the United Left Alliance.

Waterford TD John Halligan questioned the Government line that the treaty was needed in case Ireland needed access to emergency funding from the European Social Mechanism.

Meanwhile, Declan Ganley of the Libertas think tank launched a new poster against the treaty, yesterday, highlighting the debt issue.

He was joined at a press conference in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin by Greek-Irish businesswoman Patricia Tsouros, who criticised Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s suggestion that one of the few commercial links between the two countries was feta cheese.

She also said she was an Irish citizen and had lived in Ireland for over 25 years and she felt, with the fiscal treaty, as if she was “in the middle of a political experiment”.