European Fiscal Treaty - for and against

With just four weeks to go to the referendum on the EU Fiscal Treaty, the Yes and No campaign has started in earnest in the Taoiseach’s home constituency of Mayo.

Yes - Fine Gael

Fine Gael TD for Mayo, John O’Mahony, has called on the people of Mayo to vote Yes to “Recovery, investment, and stability in the upcoming referendum on the Stability Treaty.

“Foreign direct investment is hugely important to this country. By voting Yes on May 31 we will be sending out a clear message that we are committed to maintaining a strong position at the core of Europe.

“Voting Yes is a key step on our path to economic recovery. The Stability Treaty will not solve all of our problems, but it will help reinforce confidence in the Irish economy. Job creating investors from multinational firms want to know that Ireland is serious about getting our financial affairs in order, and that we are determined to ensure we are fully funded into the future.

“Job creation is at the heart of every decision this Government makes. An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, negotiated this Treaty with his European partners because he believes it is in the best interests of the country. Voting Yes will help to restore stability across Europe and in Ireland; the stability we need to attract investment and create jobs.

“Over the last year, foreign direct investment companies created 13,000 jobs in Ireland. In recent months we have seen major announcements from leading international firms like Allergan, Apple, Sky, Mastercard, Mylan, and HP. If we want to continue to attract further investments like these we need to ensure Ireland’s reputation as a gateway to Europe is secure.

“An important element of the Stability Treaty is that it guarantees that we will have access to Europe’s new bailout fund, the ESM, should we need it in the future. A No vote would mean we are cut off from this funding. This could pose serious problems for Ireland in the future, and send a message of uncertainty and instability to job creating investors.

“I look forward to talking to people across Mayo in the coming weeks and discussing the merits of the treaty and will be urging them all to vote Yes to recovery, investment and stability on May 31.”

No - Sinn Fein

Speaking after Sinn Fein’s first day canvassing in Ballina last Saturday, where party activists distributed 4,000 leaflets advocating a No vote, Cllr Conway-Walsh stated: “Now that the International Monetary Fund (IMF ) has said Ireland could apply to the agency if required, regardless of how the country voted in the referendum, I look forward to a robust and honest debate on the specifics of the treaty. One of the key provisions of Article III of the treaty includes a new structural deficit target of 0.5 per cent and a debt to GDP ratio of 60 per cent. This in effect means that Ireland would not be allowed to borrow at times of recession and if we did borrow beyond the 0.5 per cent we would be fined up to 0.1 per cent of GDP by the European Court of Justice. Based on Ireland’s 2011 GDP figure this would amount to €155 million.

“This treaty will impose greater levels of austerity on citizens for an indefinite period of time. It will mean at least €6 billion more in cuts and taxes from 2015 on top of the cuts in the next three budgets. The argument often used by the Government is how will we pay the nurses, teachers and guards if we don’t do what we are told. I say that our blind compliance and inability to make a stand means we will have few nurses, teachers and gardai left. We can protect these services by stimulating the economy, stopping the waste and getting people back to work.

“One of the main causes of the economic crash was Ireland’s inability to correct the overheating of the property boom and our overreliance on the construction industry because we did not have control over our own interest rates. We had to abide by the rates that suited the economies of Germany and France. Do we now want to further undermine our sovereignty and future government policy by enshrining more EU rules in our Constitution? I think not. It won’t deal with the debt or banking crisis. It will deepen the recession and destabilise the currency.”

Yes -

Fianna Fail

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo, Dara Calleary, has called on the people of Mayo to Vote yes in the upcoming stability treaty.

Speaking at a Fianna Fáil meeting in Westport this week, Deputy Calleary said: “There are 12,854 people unemployed in Mayo county. I will be honest and say that the treaty will not cure all our economic woes but it will definitely allow Mayo and Ireland to have a more secure foundation for our future.

“By voting yes we will have access to the funds needed for our public services at a lower interest rate. We will be sending a message that Irish people want to have a strong voice at the European table when growth opportunities and investment in job creation is being discussed. We need to box above our weight in Europe and make sure our voices are heard and we will do this by voting Yes. The treaty outlines rules to prevent further debt and it makes sure all countries play by these rules. Full membership of the EU is critical for Mayo’s recovery as our export market is there.”

Deputy Calleary added that Ireland’s recovery will be export led. “One of the key reasons for Ireland’s attractiveness is its export platform to the rest of the EU. Today nearly 100,000 people are directly employed in over 600 US firms in Ireland. US companies have a $190 billion cumulative stock of investments in Irish based operations.

“Since 2005, Ireland has been a magnet for investment from American companies Apple, Yahoo, eBay, PayPal, Google, Amazon, Facebook and LinkedIn, making it a significant hub for their European operations. Mayo needs a Yes vote to secure stability and economic recovery,” said Dep Calleary.

Yes -

Connacht Gold

Chairman of Connacht Gold Co-op, Westport native Padraig Gibbons, has urged a Yes vote. “A resounding Yes vote is vital to all sectors of the economy, especially the agri-food sector,” he said. “The alliances built with the major powers in Europe over the last 39 years have been of enormous benefit to rural Ireland and the food industry. We now need these alliances more than ever.

“A Yes vote is also crucial in building confidence in our fragile economy, nationally and internationally, and in ensuring that Ireland continues to have access to all sources of funding and support from the EU. At this perilous time for Ireland we cannot be half-in and half-out of the EU,” said Mr Gibbons, who was following the lead of IFA president John Bryan at the launch in Dublin this week of the farming and agri-business yes campaign for the Stability Treaty this week. Flanked by agri-food and farming representatives, John Bryan said he was firmly of the view that a Yes vote was in the best interests of farm families, the agri-food sector and the economy.

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