TD takes legal challenge on EU treaties


An Independent TD today said he had started a legal challenge against the Government over fundamental aspects of two European Union treaties.

Thomas Pringle, who represents Donegal South West, said he was concerned the European Stability Mechanism treaty and the Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (Fiscal Compact) treaty raised “serious legal difficulties” both in Ireland and Europe.

Mr Pringle said a plenary summons was lodged at the High Court last Friday and served on the chief State solicitor that day. A copy was also sent to the offices of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.

The TD said he was concerned the European Stability Mechanism treaty, which paves the way for a permanent €500 billion European bailout fund, was being set up with an option to call on Ireland to contribute up to €11 billion in capital at a time of the new institution's choosing.

Mr Pringle said he was asking the courts to examine if the European Stability Mechanism treaty could be passed without ratification by the Irish public and to assess if it went against principles previously ratified by Irish voters.

“In effect [the treaty] can direct the State to raise sovereign debt, give the money so raised to it and can then decide, where, when, whether and how it is to be spent,” he said. “Therefore Ireland will not have power to control decisions regarding the use of funds raised by it.”

Mr Pringle said the fiscal compact, which proposes tough new budgetary discipline on each euro zone state, including near-zero public deficits, could also be unlawful as it was “intertwined” with the European Stability Mechanism treaty. A referendum on the Fiscal Compact is to be held on May 31st.

“What if a majority of voters in the May referendum on the fiscal compact vote in favour of imposing permanent austerity rules on the country in order to get access to a proposed permanent euro zone loan fund only to discover that the treaty to establish that fund is illegal under EU law and unconstitutional in Ireland and may never in fact come into force,” he said.

Mr Pringle said he had been forced to begin the legal action as he had not received a reply to letters sent by his solicitors to Mr Kenny and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan raising his concerns more than one month ago.