Hogan urged to clarify legality of decision on property charge


SEANAD:JIMMY HARTE (Lab) said it was tantamount to subversion for a solicitor to tell people not to pay the household charge on the basis that it was not sound in law. He called on the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to clarify the legality of the charge.

The comments of EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn about Ireland’s obligation to respect its commitments, in the context of promissory note repayments, were not helpful, Seanad deputy leader Ivana Bacik (Lab) said. He was not the person who made the decisions, this was a matter that was being negotiated with the troika.

David Norris (Ind) said a rough translation of Mr Rehn’s comments was: “Croppies lie down.”

Describing Mr Rehn’s statement as unhelpful, Terry Leyden (FF) said any comments that would deflect from a positive outcome to the referendum were very damaging. The fact that the €3.1 billion promissory note payment would materialise at the end of this month made it extremely difficult, in terms of securing a Yes vote.

Tom Sheahan (FG) urged the Government to line up a second bailout facility to meet any need that might arise in that regard. He believed we could avail of funding at about 3 per cent. If we went back to the markets we would be paying double that. He believed that it would be prudent to have a bailout facility there.

Sinn Féin’s EU spokeswoman Kathryn Reilly called on the trade union movement and civil society to unite and reject this “austerity” treaty. “There is not one article in this treaty that can be thought of in any way of being of benefit to social justice, to the environment, to women’s rights, to children’s rights, to young people or to any progressive sector of society.”

Jillian van Turnhout (Ind) said she looked forward to seeing how the Government proposed to deal with the fiscal compact in the context of the Constitution or through primary legislation.

Seán Barrett (Ind) said the euro project was flawed and massive damage was being done to the economy by opting to take it to the next stage. There was no need for a fiscal union or support.

Lorraine Higgins (Lab) said a Yes vote would mean the Government would be able to choose how set targets were to be reached, thereby helping us to regain some degree of fiscal sovereignty.