Yes vote will mean billions in cuts from 2015, says People Before Profit


PEOPLE BEFORE Profit has claimed that a Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum on the fiscal treaty will result in billions of euro of further cuts after Ireland exits its current bailout programme.

The left-wing political grouping launched its campaign calling for a No vote yesterday in Dublin.

Dún Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the Government was trying to bully and intimidate people into a Yes vote in what he described as an “austerity treaty”.

He and his colleagues referred several times to comments by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on Tuesday in which he said he would frame a more severe budget this year should the treaty be rejected.

Mr Boyd Barrett said he wanted to refute the notion that the new emergency bailout facility, the European Stability Mechanism, was some form of insurance fund that Ireland could tap. Irrespective of the vote, he said, the EU would come to Ireland’s rescue in the event of a second bailout because its true motivation was to protect European banks and the European financial system.

Mr Boyd Barrett and the Dublin South Central TD Joan Collins said austerity had not worked and the focus should be on stimulus. Taxpayers would be forced to pay an additional €5.7 billion in cuts and taxes from 2015 onwards.

Cllr Melisa Halpin said what was needed was an alternative policy of investment in public works programmes.

Asked about how People Before Profit would source external funding in the event of a No vote, Mr Boyd Barrett said funding would be maintained, as had happened in Greece. He said 40 per cent of Ireland’s debt was bank debt and ordinary people should not be asked to pay “the gambling debts” of private financial institutions.

When pressed on where People Before Profit would find the funding to close the gap between spending and income in public expenditure, he said it would introduce a higher tax rate for those earning more than €100,000 as well as a wealth tax on assets of the very rich, a measure he said would bring in €10 billion.

Cllr Pat Dunne said the “threat” made by Mr Noonan over a harsher budget was comparable to his much-criticised handling of the case of the late Hepatitis C victim Brigid McCole when he was minister for health in the 1990s. Mr Dunne stood over the remark when asked was if it was an appropriate comparison to make.