Undecided TD finally supports No vote


ONE OF three Independent TDs who had not taken a public position on the fiscal treaty last night declared he would be recommending a No vote.

Finian McGrath, sitting in Dublin North Central, said he would be urging constituents to vote No in the poll next Thursday.

Another of the undecided group, Shane Ross, a Dublin South TD, last night said he had “no news” on his intentions. It is not known whether he will make public his intentions ahead of next week’s vote. He had no further comment.

The third TD, Tipperary South’s Mattie McGrath, was not contactable last night.

Setting out his reasons for recommending a No vote, Finian McGrath said: “It was a difficult decision, but after weighing up all of the facts I concluded the treaty did not inspire confidence in Ireland and across the EU.

“Economic growth and jobs should have been the heart of this treaty, and a deal on the debt should have been a priority. The Government and the Yes side have thrown in the towel, and people across Europe are dismayed by their gross incompetence.”

For his part, Mr Ross tried unsuccessfully earlier this week to introduce legislation in the Dáil that would delay the referendum.

At a press conference last week he complained people were being asked to vote in a vacuum without knowing the final shape of the treaty. He had said he would wait until after Wednesday’s summit of European leaders before declaring. He denied as “nonsense” suggestions his inclination was to a No vote, but that he was not saying so publicly because his constituents were overwhelmingly in favour of the treaty.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said at Stormont yesterday evening he believed from his experience of the referendum campaign that people understood “it is important to have a stable euro, to have investor confidence, and to have access to emergency money”.

Mr Gilmore joined Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who is urging a No vote in the referendum, at Parliament Buildings for a reception marking 40 years of collaboration between the National Union of Students and the Union of Students in Ireland.

Before speaking at the reception, he told The Irish Times the Government would continue to campaign tirelessly to get out the Yes vote: “What people are increasingly saying to us now is, if we find ourselves at the end of 2013 and we need funding, where is the money going to come from?

“If we cut ourselves off from the European Stability Mechanism, where is the money going to come from to pay wages, pay pensions, pay for the running of services? These are the questions people are now beginning to turn their minds to,” added Mr Gilmore.

“One of the issues that is very much out of the way is that somehow this treaty is going to be reopened or changed. summit meeting made that very clear; there is no change in this treaty, and there is going to be no change in it.”

Separately, a Chambers Ireland survey published yesterday shows nearly three-quarters of its member businesses support a Yes vote in the referendum.

Asked for their voting intentions, 73 per cent said they would vote Yes, 13 per cent said No and 14 per cent were undecided.

Of its members who have already decided how to vote, 85 per cent say they will vote Yes.

Some 70 per cent said ratifying the treaty was important for their business.

Chambers Ireland chief executive Ian Talbot said the survey confirmed strong business support for a Yes vote in the referendum.