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Issue #1532      25 January 2012

Dump austerity pact, demands Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein has called on the Fine Gael-Labour government to promise to hold a referendum on the planned EU fiscal pact, calling it an “austerity treaty”.

Party president Gerry Adams warned that the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance will hand over control of the Irish budget and fiscal policy to Brussels, which would impose “destructive” cuts.

“It is an austerity treaty. It is bad politics and bad economics,” Mr Adams said.

EU finance ministers are set to discuss the treaty in Brussels this week.

It would set up a “correction mechanism” that would be triggered “automatically” if EU member states have budget deficits greater than 0.5 percent of GDP.

If a government that signs the treaty fails to pass a law within a year effectively banning ministers from running higher budget deficits, the European Court of Justice could fine that country with a fine of up to 0.1 percent of GDP.

The EU Commission wants the treaty to enter into force as soon as 12 members of the 17-country eurozone have ratified it.

Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “No matter what caveats the government secures in the final draft, it is absolutely imperative that the people are allowed to have their say.

“It seems that the only negotiating strategy that the government has is to avoid holding a referendum. If the government insists on such an undemocratic course of action, Sinn Fein will seek legal advice and act accordingly to ensure that the people’s voice is heard.”

Dublin butcher Sean Smith said: “We’re under German rule, it’s as simple as that, and we’ll be paying them back forever.”

Tommy Larkin, a mechanic changing tyres and oil across the road, added: “We’re squeezed to the pips. I never had to watch my money in the good times but that’s all I do with my money now.”

Morning Star  

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