Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit and United Left Alliance TD, today criticised the referendum commission’s booklet that is to be sent to every house in Ireland as biased, misleading and wrong in its advice to the Irish people.
The booklet is going to be distributed starting from Tuesday 8th May.
“It is another example of the misinformation being given to the public about this treaty. The chair of the commission, Mr Justice Kevin Feeney`s claim that the ESM veto has expired is incorrect. It is a political and not a technical issue – this government still has to vote through the ESM bill. As such the veto is still in play. It is grossly inaccurate and biased to say, as the commission does in its booklet, that a NO vote will exclude us from ESM funding. It is not for the commission president to predict future votes in the Dail – does he possess a crystal ball? ” said Richard Boyd Barrett.
“We are calling for this biased booklet to be withdrawn and rewritten to accurately reflect the real legal and political position”.
The commission booklet states: “The introduction to the Treaty states that countries that want to get funding from the EU’s new permanent bailout fund – the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – will only have access to that fund if they ratify this Treaty”.
Richard Boyd Barrett said, “This simply isn’t true. The Fiscal Compact Treaty is an intergovernmental treaty whereas the ESM Treaty is an EU treaty and so they are legally separate entities. A NO vote on the Fiscal Treaty simply means we won’t join Merkel’s ‘Austerity Club’. It has no wider implications. Access to the ESM funds, if desired, is governed by totally separate procedures”.
Richard Boyd Barrett said, “The sequence of votes in the Dail is clear – The vote on the ESM bill comes after the referendum, so we can renegotiate the ESM treaty if we want. Voting NO to the Austerity Treaty will not preclude access to the ESM funds if the Irish government insist on the removal of the ‘blackmail clause’ inserted earlier this year. As an EU treaty it requires unanimous agreement by all EU states or it is blocked. This puts us in a very powerful position. Other countries like Sweden and Finland have insisted on changes to suit their needs. We can do the same”.
Richard Boyd Barrett said, “I would argue against entering a second bailout program as any ‘bailout’ is for the banks and not for Irish people. But it is clear such options are available, the IMF is on record as saying a NO vote would not preclude it entering another agreement with the Irish government”.
“However there are better alternatives than so called bailouts. We can bridge the gap in financing Ireland if we repudiate the gambling debts of bankers and start taxing the super-rich. The People Before Profit Alliance has already shown how a modest wealth tax could generate €10 billion for the state.
“We hold our destiny in our hands, we still have the power to decide. Don’t be bullied or deceived into voting yes. Force the government to stand up for the Irish people”.