The fiscal treaty | Response to queries

‎There’s been extensive debate on Facebook on my article on why I’m a reluctant ‘yes’ voter. Many thanks to everyone who commented. I understand the frustration with the position I’ve taken, and can assure you that I didn’t come to it easily. A few reflections in response to the various comments posted:

1. The Treaty does not enforce stricter austerity than we have planned anyway, until 2018 at least. However, not having access to the ESM could well lead to an acceleration of the austerity measures;

2. Without access to the ESM, we could end up back in an IMF programme – it seems that the burden of complying with macro-economic rules which we’re already signed up to is less than the burden of being micro-managed by the IMF for several more years;

3. The question of sovereignty is a big one, but again, I believe we would cede more control via the IMF route, as the terms of the Treaty can be renegotiated;

4. We most certainly can be cut off from further funding, which brings us back to the IMF.

As I said before, I don’t like it, and I believe that a Yes Vote buys us time…to get the IMF out, to renegotiate the Treaty where necessary, to balance our budget (which gives us all sorts of additional negotiating power) and to get the country ready for future growth.

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  • Colm Brazel

    I find the above arguments rather shallow and ill informed on the substance of what we are being asked to give away from a constitutional perspective.
    I explore some of the issues here in: “Get Your Hands Off Our Constitution”

    Re 4, Outside the EMU, Ireland can gain access to an IMF programme. Historically, the evidence is IMF objected to the severity of the penal bailout forced on Ireland. Current documents from the IMF support debt for equity sharing by the ECB for SIFI (Systemically Important Financial Institutions). In previous defaults it has implemented burden sharing agreements. The ECB have forced us to pay the odious ¢31 bn bill for IBRC. We can renegotiate the terms of bailout for 2 years without significant success but with significant failure; burden sharing is only for Greece. 

    Re 3, The point you make there is simply false. The following is a departure from business logic, moral logic and indeed any logic you can think of as most rational beings negotiate before agreement and do not make false assumptions such as “as the terms of the Treaty can be renegotiated” 
    ” Just maybe AG Marie Whelan noticed the following in our constitution and saw the stranglehold of the treaty’s hands on 2.1:
    2. 1° The sole and exclusive power of making laws for the State is hereby vested in the Oireachtas: no other legislative authority has power to make laws for the State. 

    “Our constitution will not be violated by any agreement with the IMF. We are holding a referendum because the terms of the Treaty are in breach of our constitution.

    Re 2, This is simply false. Outside the EMU, leaving the euro, similar to Iceland, we would pay what can be paid to return Ireland to Icelandic growth rates where joblessness at 5.8% and a budget surplus in 2013

    Re 1. Well I suppose that’s true if you regard signing up to a Treaty that empowers unelected members of the ESM to have the sweeping power to take the Irish state to the European Court of Justice if ESM terms and conditions are not followed.

    The position as outlined in 1,2,3,4 has all the hallmarks of so much eagerness to seek the approval of the status quo, that anything will be swallowed. I see no evidence of either standing up to the terms of the Compact or seeking to question any of its detailed constitutional obligations. 

  • Mychild

    To  Stephen Donnelly, I have listened and followed your arguments very carfully. I admire your honesty and your integrety in relation to the treaty, which is a breath of fresh air even though I stuggle to agree.  I am not an economist nor affiliated to any political party.  I come from a background of Community Development  i.e. I work with people in the most disadvantaged communities of West Tallaght. It is their  welfare that concerns me.    My personal difficulty is with a lack of a “Plan B”.  You have said that a Yes Vote will buy us time to get the IMF out and to reneogiciate the treaty, but I have no faith that a negociation will take place with the current government and I have doubts that it will happen with subsequent governments.  If a no vote is secured then this Gov has to tackle what it does not want to, and that is to take responsibilty for the harsh measures that are going to be imposed one way or another but at least they cant lay the blame at the door of the IMF, or anyone else for implementing this hardship. Am I wrong? 

  • Dinty66

    Rent allowance cut to force move
    Sir, – In reply to Pat Rabbitte’s piece (“Labour Party taking Ireland on slow but sure journey to a fairer place”, Opinion, May 2nd) I’d like to share a little piece of Labour Party policy that I am personally experiencing.I am a disabled person.Today I was given notice of eviction from my flat by the local community welfare officer. Let me be clear here, it’s the community welfare officer who is evicting me.In fairness, she was upset, but said her hands were tied and the directive is being given from “above” with no discretionary leeway being given to any person.This is happening because my landlady refuses to drop rental rates any further. As it stands the price she is asking for is below market rate, but €75 (per month) above the rent allowance cap.Where I live market rates for rentals are increasing due to the rise in demand as a result of few mortgages being granted to potential buyers.Rent allowance limits beyond which, according to strict bureaucratic rules, you may not rent have dropped by the largest amount in the country. (Despite the response to a parliamentary question where Joan Burton back-pedalled slightly on her initial proposal to cut the limit by €200 per month).I rely on family and friends for many things. When I inquire, there is nothing/no one in this area that will either accept rent allowance or a disabled person.There is a dearth of social housing in this area and no Nama properties (confirmed by local authority).Even if I could get a place to accept me it will cost me circa €2,000 to move, between deposits, rent in advance, vans and helpers.There is no financial help being offered and the spectre of homelessness looms in three months time.My elected representatives ignore my e-mails and requests for appointments at clinics.The stress is impacting very negatively on my health.This is happening under a Labour Social Protection Minister.Bunreacht na hÉireann (Article 45 (4) 1°) states: “The State pledges itself to safeguard with especial care the economic interests of the weaker sections of the community, and, where necessary, to contribute to the support of the infirm, the widow, the orphan, and the aged”.It seems Labour and Fine Gael are dancing on the Constitution of this country.I would ask Mr Rabbtte is this fairness or cruelty?I would not wish this suffering on anyone, but it would be a lot less if I knew that it was going to help balance the budget in order to get us out of debt as a country and not to pay unsecured bondholders and private debt of dead banks across the EU. – Yours, etc,EILEEN O’SULLIVAN,Vevay Road,Bray,Co Wicklow.