EU 'on the edge', warns Martin


EUROPE is on the precipice and Ireland “must do nothing to push it over the edge”, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has warned. Calling for a Yes vote in the fiscal treaty referendum, he said it was clear “the euro zone is experiencing a low-key but relentless run on its banks”.

Speaking in a debate before the EU leaders’ meeting in Brussels, Mr Martin also said that if Ireland was to recover “we need to restore confidence in Europe. We need to save the euro and stay within it.” Most importantly, Ireland needed secure and affordable funding, he said. If the referendum was passed the State would show “that Ireland is playing its part and that a basic step to restore confidence has public legitimacy”.

Warning of the “relentless run” on EU banks, the Fianna Fáil leader said the system was “being held together by the European Central Bank” and “we need equally decisive action from Europe’s leaders”. He told Taoiseach Enda Kenny “there must be an end to the timid and reserved approach of Europe’s leaders”.

Mr Kenny said efforts to boost job-creating growth whether European or national “will be fatally holed below the waterline if we do not get our budgetary house in order at the same time”. He said growth and stability were two sides of the one coin for Ireland, bringing the deficit under control on one side and giving the economy a stimulus on the other.

Sinn Féin foreign affairs spokesman Pádraig MacLochlainn said the policy of austerity had failed, but was still being pursued and the State sought to give “constitutional protection to these policies so we would tie the hands of future governments”.

He pointed out that French president François Hollande had said he would not ratify the treaty as it was, but would seek to develop a growth strategy. French finance minister Pierre Moscovici had also “made it clear that they will not ratify this treaty as it is and that there has to be a renegotiation”.