Tánaiste says treaty rejection would lead to more austerity


THE TÁNAISTE EAMON Gilmore has claimed that Sinn Féin’s “fairytale economics” will lead to far more austerity if there is a No vote in the referendum.

Eamon Gilmore claimed it would drive Ireland towards the same situation as Greece.

“We are seeing 30,000 people in the public sector about to lose their jobs in that country and reductions in pensions and pay of the order of 20 per cent,” he added.

“We must take the route towards recovery.”

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said many people listening to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on Wednesday would not recognise the economy he was talking about.

“Life in the real economy, for the 440,000 people on the Live Register, the 1,500 people who emigrate every week and the 91 people who fall into mortgage distress every day, has got harder,” he added.

Mr Gilmore said no one wanted austerity. “We want to work our way out of it.”

Mr Doherty accused the Tánaiste of not wanting to acknowledge that the Central Statistics Office had said Ireland was officially back in recession.

“What is happening in Greece is symptomatic of the failure of the policy of austerity, which is the same policy the Government is pursuing with gusto,” he added.

Mr Gilmore rejected a Private Members’ Bill from Dublin South Independent TD Shane Ross allowing the Government to postpone the referendum.

Mr Ross said it was legally true, as the Referendum Commission had pointed out, that the referendum would have to go ahead under the 1994 Referendum Act.

He said that his short Bill would enable the Tánaiste and the Government, if they saw fit, to change the date for polling if events overtook what was happening relating to the treaty.

“Such a Bill would take one or two days to get through the House and the Seanad,” he added.

Mr Ross said an opinion poll had revealed that 35 per cent of people were confused about the treaty and wanted clarification.

“It is very important that the clarity which we need is given to the people by delaying events if it is necessary.”

Mr Gilmore said Ireland needed certainty and no indecision and that the people, as individual citizens, had to make a decision on May 31st.

“I do not intend to accept Deputy Ross’s Bill,” he added.

“It is a rather extreme measure that he is introducing to avoid a situation where he cannot make up his mind as to where he stands on the treaty.”

Mr Gilmore said the Government had made more information available for the treaty than in the case of previous treaties.

He added that an information campaign was under way, informing people about its contents.

Between now and polling day, Mr Gilmore added, he and his colleagues in the two parties in Government, supported by others, would seek a Yes vote from every citizen in the State.

This was because it was the right thing to do in Ireland’s national interest.