Ganley on a shoestring No campaign


BUSINESSMAN DECLAN Ganley says he plans to spend up to €50,000 campaigning against the fiscal treaty over the next three weeks.

Mr Ganley, who announced his entry into the campaign on the No side at the weekend, said his campaign would be run on a “shoestring” budget with volunteers rather than paid staff. The initial funding would come from his own resources but he planned to fundraise for the campaign, he said.

The Libertas founder, whose involvement in the Lisbon Treaty debate was instrumental in its defeat, said earlier this year he would vote Yes in the forthcoming referendum on the fiscal compact if Ireland got a deal on its bank debt and if there was a road-map for European reform.

Yesterday, he said the Government had failed to achieve either of these and he was left with no option but to call for a No vote. Ireland could not afford to carry the millstone of bank debt anymore, he said.

Mr Ganley confirmed that he has issued proceedings against RTÉ over a Prime Time documentary about him broadcast in 2008.

Libertas plans to erect posters calling for a No vote but its main impact is likely to be felt through Mr Ganley’s media appearances.

His entry is also likely to change the tone of the No campaign, which up to now has been dominated by left-wing voices.

Yesterday, Mr Ganley was critical of calls by fellow No campaigners for a massive fiscal stimulus package in Ireland and the rest of Europe, saying this represented “more of the same” tax-and-spend policies which hadn’t worked before.

Ireland and the rest of Europe needed innovation, funded by a banking system with access to capital that was not centrally controlled: “We need to purge insolvency and hit the reset button on bank debt.”

The bank debt assumed by the State is the “most exploitative exercise in corporate welfare in the history of the world”, he said, writing in the Sunday Business Post.

“It is beyond acceptable that anyone would even consider asking Ireland to pass a treaty that does not cut this bank debt burden,” he wrote.

His stance was immediately attacked by the director of Fine Gael’s referendum campaign, Simon Coveney, who said claiming a No vote would somehow increase Ireland’s capacity to get a better bank deal made no sense.

“The approach that Declan Ganley is proposing would result in a double negative for Ireland: weakening our negotiating capacity on other issues and rejecting a treaty that is good for Ireland’s future.”