Martin rejects deferral of vote


FIANNA FÁIL:FIANNA FÁIL leader Micheál Martin yesterday rejected calls from the technical group calling for a deferral of the referendum on the fiscal treaty, saying that he didn’t believe it was practical to do so at this stage.

The technical group had called for a deferral of the referendum on the basis of the highly fluid situation unfolding in Greece, France and Germany, but Mr Martin said it was important to remember that the treaty was not the final answer in dealing with the economic crisis.

Mr Martin said the treaty was “only the first step in the right direction in coming out of this crisis” and other steps will have to be taken, including the promotion of a growth agenda and the broadening of the mandate of the European Central Bank.

And he challenged those opposing the treaty to say where Ireland will obtain funding when the current funding programme ends in 2013. “We either go back to the markets or we need access to the European Stability Mechanism Fund, it’s as simple as that. Those advocating a No vote have not been in a position so far to answer that,” he said.

Mr Martin was speaking in Bandon where he was joined by IFA president John Bryan and Fianna Fail spokesman on agriculture Michael Moynihan in canvassing farmers at Bandon Mart for a Yes vote.

Making his way into the sales ring where auctioneer Jonathan O’Sullivan was rattling out prices and taking bids like a machine gun, Mr Martin had a few brief words with farmer Patrick Kelleher from Newcestown, who was sympathetic to his views.

“Yes, I think we’ll have to vote Yes. If we go against Europe and vote No, we’ll be bunched. Where will we get the money we might need?” asked Mr Kelleher as he keenly watched a cow being nudged around the ring.

Brian White from Ballyfeard in south Cork also had a few words with Mr Martin and Mr Bryan but was already inclined towards voting Yes and didn’t need too much persuading when it comes to registering his decision in the referendum.

“It’s a good time to be in farming undoubtedly, for once farming isn’t in crisis. I will be voting Yes because I honestly believe the country needs a guarantee of funding, not so much for the private sector but to guarantee public sector pay and services.”