Noonan denies he is trying to scare voters


MINISTER FOR Finance Michael Noonan has rejected claims that he is trying to scare the electorate into voting Yes to the fiscal treaty, saying the Irish people are entitled to know the truth. He said his comment that next year’s budget would be more difficult if the treaty is rejected was a “considered statement”.

Speaking in Brussels yesterday Mr Noonan said some appeared to believe that you couldn’t have a frank debate because it upset Sinn Féin.

“Now Sinn Féin might be afraid of the truth on a number of issues but the Irish people aren’t afraid of the truth,” he said.

A No vote would oblige him to reduce his forecast for economic growth for next year, he added.

“On next year’s profiles we’re looking at 2.2 per cent of growth in GDP. The uncertainty caused by a No vote will cause that to come down and consequently that would make my job more difficult in planning the next budget. I don’t want to be put in a position where we have to increase the pace of the correction and, simply, the electorate are entitled to that information.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny backed his Minister yesterday warning that if Ireland was excluded from the European Stability Mechanism, the budget deficit might have to be dealt with “in an accelerated fashion”.

Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy criticised Mr Noonan for repeating his warning about a No vote.