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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has described
this morning’s judgment from the High Court as “very significant” and said it
vindicates his decision to take the matter to court in advance of the
referendum. He said it is
now clear that the view of the Referendum Commission on the exercise of the
veto is not fact but opinion. It
remains Sinn Féin’s strong view that the government retains a veto over this
Deputy Doherty said
“For several weeks now the yes
campaign have been using commentary from the Referendum Commission as
definitive statements of fact. It
is now clear that this view is not shared by the High Court. The view of
the Referendum Commission is not fact but opinion.
“Justice Hogan stated clearly
that there is room for legitimate legal and political debate on the question and
the position would be ultimately be decided by the European Court of Justice in
reference with the Supreme Court. He
acknowledged that powerful and legitimate arguments had been made by my legal
“We believe that for the ESM to
be underpinned in EU law it has to be ratified by all member states and that
the Irish government retains a veto.
“Sinn Féin took this matter to
Court because this is an issue of central importance to the referendum. I believe that the significant
questions raised, vindicates our decision to pursue this course of action in
the interests of the voters.”
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has
welcomed the decision of the High Court to hold a special sitting at 8pm this
evening to hear his application for a Judicial Review in relation to the
Referendum Commissions comments on May 3rd that the government no longer had a
veto in relation to the ESM.
Deputy Doherty said:
“It is our belief that the
Referendum Commission erred in fact and law when they made a statement on May
3rd that the government no longer had a veto in relation the ESM.
“This statement has been used
repeatedly, by advocates of the Treaty as one of their key reasons for a yes vote.
This is despite the fact that the Referendum Commission qualified their
position on May 18.
“However the failure of the
Referendum Commission to retract the original statement and to adequately
publicise their subsequent clarification has meant that the incorrect account
of the matter has continued to be quoted widely.
“I welcome the fact that Judge
Hogan has mentioned the possibility of a telescopic hearing which could lead to
lead to the substantive issues being dealt with tonight. Sinn Féin is absolutely
certain of our view that Ireland will continue to have access to emergency
funding regardless of the outcome of the referendum.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams this morning confirmed
that Pearse Doherty’s legal team wrote to the Referendum Commission on Friday
challenging the Commission’s assertion that the opportunity for a veto on the
ESM was now gone. Sinn Féin firmly believes that this is not correct. A
Judicial Review was lodged in the courts this morning.
Deputy Adams said:
“Sinn Féin has consistently
challenged the Government’s claim that emergency funding will not be available
if people vote no on Thursday. It is our firm view that this is not the case.
Sinn Fein has also taken issue with the Referendum Commission’s interpretation
of this matter.
“Pearse Doherty’s legal team wrote to the referendum
commission on Friday. The letter challenged the Commission’s assertion that the
opportunity for a veto on the ESM was now gone. Sinn Féin firmly believes that
this is not correct.
“This is a matter of central importance to the
referendum. We are looking for the Referendum Commission to acknowledge that
the Government is legally at liberty to withhold ratification of the Article
136 amendment to the EU treaties.
“Pearse Doherty’s legal team lodged a Judicial Review
this morning and the matter will be heard shortly.”
Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has described as “dishonest” claims made
today by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan that a no vote would make
next year’s budget tougher.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Michael Noonan’s claim today
that a no vote on May 31st would
make next year’s budget tougher is simply untrue. The Minister’s claims are
“The headline targets for next
year’s budget have already been agreed by the Government and the Troika.
“If the Government downgrades its
own growth forecasts again it will be because of its failed economic policy,
not the outcome of the referendum.
“Austerity is blocking a return
to growth. We are officially back in recession. The Government has been forced
to downgrade its growth forecasts for 2012 four times in the last twelve
“The reason for this is clear,
austerity at home hurts the domestic economy and austerity across the EU hurts
our export sector. The Austerity Treaty seeks to impose even greater levels of
austerity at home and across the EU in the years ahead which will be bad for
jobs and bad for growth.
“A strong no vote this Thursday
will strengthen the hands of those at home and abroad arguing against austerity
and for jobs and growth.”
Speaking today Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald
has called on voters to “trust their instincts and vote no this Thursday.” The
Dublin Central TD said that, “The positive thing to do on Thursday is to vote
No. A strong no vote is in
the best interests of Ireland and the European Union.” Sinn Féin is
holding two major rallies in Dublin and Galway this evening and I would invite
anyone who is still undecided to attend.”
Deputy McDonald said:
“Passing the Austerity Treaty
this Thursday will mean more austerity and less democracy. Sinn Féin is calling on voters to do
what is best for Ireland. The positive thing to do on Thursday is to vote No.
“Most people instinctively know
that this Treaty is a bad deal. They know that the Government has not been able
to find a single positive reason to vote yes. They know that the Treaty may
well be subject to change. They know that the Government’s campaign has been
based on fear.
“I am urging people not to be
bullied on Friday. People should trust their own instincts and do what they
feel is right for themselves, their family and the country.
“A strong no vote this Thursday
will strengthen the hand of all those, at home and across Europe, who are
arguing for investment in jobs and growth. It will send a strong signal to the
Government that austerity simply isn’t working and that a change of direction
“Sinn Féin is holding two major
rallies in Dublin and Galway this evening and I would invite anyone who is
still undecided to attend. The Dublin Rally will take place at 7.30pm
in the Pillar Room in the Rotunda and the Galway Rally will take place at 8pm
in the Menlo Park Hotel.”
Speaking at the launch of the party’s “Euro 2012 Support Ireland” referendum campaign poster, Sinn Féin European Affairs spokesperson Senator Kathryn Reilly said that, “On May 31st the electorate can support Ireland by saying no to this bad Treaty.”
Senator Reilly was joined by football pundit and manager of Monaghan United Roddy Collins for the launch.
Senator Reilly said;
“The Austerity Treaty is bad for Ireland and bad for Europe. If ratified it will mean more austerity and less democracy. Its harsh rules will demand an extra €6 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts post 2015. Its tough enforcement mechanisms will see more power transferred from the Oireachtas to the European Commission and European Court of Justice.
“On May 31st Sinn Féin is calling on voters to stand up for Ireland and to say no to this bad deal. If you want to support your country then you should reject the Austerity Treaty. A strong no vote will strengthen the hand of those of us calling for investment in jobs and growth.”
Speaking today at a press conference Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said: “Enshrining the Austerity Treaty and its harsh fiscal rules in international law and giving it the protection of our constitution will make it almost impossible to change in the future.
Deputy Doherty said: “This is a terrible way to make economic policy” and urged voters “to think very carefully of the long term legal consequences of their decision.”
Deputy Doherty said:
“The harsh fiscal rules and tough enforcement mechanisms in the Austerity Treaty are bad for Ireland and for Europe.
“We are being asked to sign up to an inter-governmental treaty that will place legal obligations on this Government and all future Governments. These obligations will only be able to change with the consent of all the countries that ratify this Treaty
“We are also being asked to give these harsh rules and tough enforcement mechanisms the protection of our constitution.
“In plain English this means that once ratified it will be almost impossible to extract ourselves from the legal obligations arising from the Austerity Treaty. Enshrining the Austerity Treaty and its harsh fiscal rules in international law and giving it the protection of our constitution will make it almost impossible to change in the future.
“While Fine Gael and Labour may be happy with the content of the Treaty they can not speak for future Governments. Yet they are asking the voters to tie the hands of future Governments and limit future Governments ability to take the kinds of economic policy decisions that may well be in the best interests of the country.
“This is a bad way to make law. It is a terrible way to make economic policy. Fiscal policy belongs in Oireachtas legislation not legally binding international agreements and constitutional amendments.
“Governments need to have the flexibility to change laws and make different policy choices. The Austerity Treaty seeks to remove this flexibility and impose a rigid fiscal policy on all future Governments. It also undermines the right of democratically elected Governments to choose other options by giving unelected officials in Brussels and Luxembourg the power to enforce the harsh rules contained in the treaty.
“Sinn Féin believes that future Governments should have as much flexibility as possible and as many policy tools as are available in order to best manage our economy. The only way to ensure this flexibility and this choice is to vote No on May 31st.”
today Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs spokesperson Padraig Mac Lochlainn said: “With
such a large number of voters still undecided, this campaign needs a calm and
considered head to head debate between the leaders of the yes and no sides.”
The Donegal deputy called on Enda Kenny “to provide the voters with such a
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“With only nine days left to go
in the Austerity Treaty referendum campaign voters are now making up their
minds. There is a large volume of information in the public domain. Public
meetings are taking place across the country. There have also been a
large number of TV and radio debates.
“However a very significant
number of voters are still undecided. In my view this campaign needs a calm and
considered head to head debate between the leaders of the Yes and No campaigns.
I genuinely believe that a live televised debate between An Taosieach Enda
Kenny and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams is in the best interests of the
campaign and the voters.
“It would allow people,
particularly those who remain undecided, to hear both the arguments from the
leaders of the two campaigns and their responses to each other. Any such debate
needs to be measured, calm and based on providing the voters with the
information and analysis informing both sides of the campaign.”
in response to comments made today by pro-Austerity Treaty campaigner Pat Cox,
Sinn Féin campaign director Eoin Ó Broin has said that, “ESM funding will be
available in 2014 if required by the Government irrespective of how the people
vote on the Austerity Treaty.”
to ESM funds will be determined by the ESM Treaty not the Austerity Treaty.
Ratification of the ESM Treaty will not take place until later this year.
primary legal mandate of the ESM is outlined in Articles 3 and 12 of that
Treaty which say that funding would be provided where it is ‘indispensable to
safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and of its Member
is right when he says that the controversial black-mail clause linking access
to ESM funds to ratification of the Austerity Treaty is contained in recital 5
of the ESM Treaty.
Pat also knows that as a recital the blackmail clause does not have the same
legal force as a Treaty article. If the Government is in need of emergency
funding come 2014, failure to provide that funding would destabilise the
Eurozone as a whole. On this basis there will be a clear legal obligation to
provide such funding.
remains the case that the Government has the power to secure the removal of the
blackmail clause from Recital 5 of the ESM Treaty in the event of a no vote. If
the Yes side is genuinely concerned about this clause they should seek to have
it removed rather than use it in an attempt to bully voters into supporting the
“Given that the State’s total liability to
the ESM fund is €11 billion it is hardly credible to claim that the government
would agree to contributions on such a scale if they could not access the
Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs spokesperson Pádraig
Mac Lochlainn has challenged the government to move beyond inaccurate
soundbites and actually debate the content of this Treaty.
Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said
“This Treaty will not bring stability or certainty. It will give
constitutional protection to the type of policies being pursued by Angela
Merkel, which are now being rejected by serious politicians across the
EU. It is clear that Fine Gael and Labour are on the wrong side of
this debate and are fast being left behind by events across Europe.”
“With only ten days to go it is
clear that the fate of the Austerity Treaty rests with voters who are, as yet,
“The question most people are
asking themselves is; how will this Treaty affect them and their families, what
will it mean for the country in the future?
“I would urge voters to look
beyond the Government’s threats and at the actual content of the Treaty.
“This Treaty will not bring
stability or certainty. It will give constitutional protection to
the type of policies being pursued by Angela Merkel, which are now being
rejected by serious politicians across the EU. Things are changing rapidly
but the Irish government seems to be oblivious to what is going on across the
rest of Europe. It is clear that Fine Gael and Labour are on the wrong side of
this debate and are fast being left behind.
“The government is unable to
identify any positive benefits to supporting this Treaty because there are
none. The Treaty will mean more austerity in the future. This will lead to more
unemployment and emigration. It will cost an extra €6 billion in cutbacks and
tax hikes. It will also see more powers being handed over to the European
commission and European Court of Justice.
“Every day there is more evidence
that austerity is not working. The number of households in mortgage distress
has reached a staggering 115,000. People simply do not have enough
money to keep a roof over their heads.
“More austerity means more
consequences such as this. This Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland and for
Europe. We need a change of direction. We need solutions that are going
to work. We need investment in jobs. Be positive, vote No on May
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