European Stability Mechanism: Motion (Resumed)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 2

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The following motion was moved by Deputy Pearse Doherty on Wednesday, 21 March 2012:

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[410]

states that the reason for the Irish Government’s acquiescence to this controversial amendment was to ensure that, in the event of a referendum in Ireland on the “Austerity Treaty”, the Government could use this issue to frighten people into supporting a treaty that, if assessed on its own merits, would not secure popular support; and calls on the Government to:

Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:

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Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I am sharing time with Deputies Ross, Fleming, Wallace and Joan Collins.

The Government’s dishonesty in its attempt to deceive people on the issue of our debt burden and the fiscal treaty is really staggering. We know the Government conspired with EU leaders to try to avoid the referendum on the fiscal treaty. That was confirmed to us by the German European affairs minister. When the Government could not avoid the referendum, it came up with a new dishonesty to deceive people into believing they are getting relief on the debt burden on the so-called promissory note. In reality, it is not relieving that debt burden one bit, but in fact has made a sovereign debt of a crazy commitment — but only a commitment — made by Fianna Fáil to pay off the gambling debts of Anglo Irish Bank. This makes less likely the possibility of the write down of that debt and guarantees that the debt is now foisted permanently on to the backs of working people and the vulnerable in our society.

The key gimmick, to which the Sinn Féin motion refers, is to suggest that if people oppose the fiscal treaty, they will be cut off from funding from the European stability mechanism. The Government has peddled this line over the last number of weeks, putting a gun to the heads of the Irish people to try to bully them into voting for the treaty, only to discover that in fact the gun does not exist. It is in construction and the Government is party to constructing it. [412] That gun cannot be pointed at people’s heads unless we pass the European stability mechanism through this Dáil.

Will the Minister of State give an assurance that the Government will not point the gun at the heads of the Irish people and bully them into voting in favour of the fiscal treaty? Will he assure us that the European stability mechanism legislation will not come in until after people have had the chance to vote on the fiscal treaty?

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  The deal on the promissory notes is not in the bag yet. Reports from Europe on RTE this morning suggest there still is opposition to this in the European Central Bank and that we should not take it for granted at this stage. It is also very unclear what the coupon is on the bond, what the interest rate will be on that bond, and it would be wrong to pass any judgment at this stage. It might be premature. It might be gone by this evening or we might get more details which would change our view on it. It is fair enough to hold fire on this particular deal until the actual content of it is known.

If this news is a prelude to something dramatic or some change, or indeed a write-off of the debt in the longer term, then we on this side should tell the Government to keep going. However, if it is a puff of smoke, we will not be deceived by it. There are several alternative ways of looking at this. The sceptical view is that the Government is up against the 31 March deadline and must come up with something, and is sending Patrick Honohan in today with a deal to make it look as if we are actually doing something constructive. The other view is that there is real movement. The timing of this particular motion makes it impossible for us to pass judgment on it. This time tomorrow, it may be clearer when we get more detail, but at the moment it would be wrong to condemn it or welcome it without knowing any of the details, particularly the interest rate.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Thank you Deputy.

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  I have not spoken on the motion yet. I will reserve that for another day.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  It has been very interesting up to now.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  That never stopped the Deputy before.

Deputy Tom Fleming: Information on Tom Fleming  Zoom on Tom Fleming  Is there any impediment on the Government to implement or ratify the Article 136 amendment at this time? Is there any legal or other imperative to have it implemented now, prior to the holding of the referendum? Can the Minister of State specifically state whether the Government’s position is based solely on the legal advice of the Attorney General, or is it a political judgment? If the Government were not to implement this now, would that have any effect on its ability to access the required funding from the EFSF?

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace  Zoom on Mick Wallace  There is a spectre haunting Europe. It is the spectre of mass unemployment. At the moment, there are 16.9 million unemployed people in the 17 country eurozone and 24.3 million unemployed in the 27 countries. In Spain alone, there are 5.3 million unemployed. In Greece, one in five people are unemployed. There has been a 40% rise in suicide rates in Greece. Austerity is literally killing Europeans.

The only solution to the austerity induced unemployment seems to be more austerity. The Germans argue that any loosening of the fiscal purse strings will increase borrowing costs and might panic the bond markets, yet economic stimulus is working in America. There have been 23 consecutive months of job growth in the US. They have created 3.7 million new jobs in the [413]private sector alone over the past two years, yet we are insisting on turning our back on such a measure.

The irony is that mass unemployment itself is the biggest barrier to deficit reduction. The best way to cut borrowing levels is to get people back to work and paying taxes. Unlike GDP or inflation, unemployment is the only major economic indicator that measures real human beings rather than growth or prices. Having a job is not just about earning a living and paying taxes. It is about human dignity and self worth. We are looking at serious social consequences, such as financial hardship, emotional stress, depression, loss of morale and status among people, sickness, premature death, crime, disorder and social unrest.

There is more to life than the Government’s fiscal package. It is about time it started looking at the big picture.

Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  There is also another spectre haunting Europe, and that is a lack of democracy. The right of the people to be consulted through referenda in respect of changes in the Constitution is a very important safeguard to democracy in our State. It is something people in other EU states would like to have, given the lack of democracy in how the EU functions. This right has been fundamentally undermined and turned into something of a joke by the actions of successive Governments and the parties of the political establishment. Following the votes on the Lisbon and Nice treaties, the verdict of the people was rejected by the establishment parties of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party, and we were forced to vote again, with all sorts of threats, blackmail and outright lies on the consequences of voting “No” a second time. While the Labour Party leader was assuring citizens he respected their vote, at the same he was assuring the US ambassador that there would be a second vote.

There cannot be a second bite of the cherry on the fiscal pact, so the Government has taken Johnny Giles’s advice and is getting the retaliation in first. The only argument the Government has for a “Yes” vote is a blackmail clause inserted in the ESM treaty. It has convinced and colluded in blackmailing its own citizens. If this is not the case, then it should have no problem delaying ratification of the Article 136 amendment and the ESM treaty until after the people have had their say.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  The next speaker is Deputy Jerry Buttimer and he is sharing his time with Deputies Dominic Hannigan, Derek Nolan, John Lyons, Jim Daly, Regina Doherty and Paschal Donohoe.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Hayes. I begin by saying to Deputy Joan Collins that Johnny Giles was a decent footballer and a professional and if this Government is as good as Johnny Giles, then we will have a great Government.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace  Zoom on Mick Wallace  That is a big “if” though.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  I am sorry to see the Technical Group leaving en masse. Perhaps it is a reflection on me rather than themselves, but I hope it is not. If the Minister, Deputy Noonan, had not come in here last night and we only read this morning on the RTE website, The Irish Times or whatever newspaper of repute that the Government was engaging in this process, there would be a revolution on the opposite side and Deputy Ross and his friends would be giving out. The Minister was correct to come in here and inform the House and I commend him on doing that. He made an important point which the Deputies opposite have not mentioned. He said that details of the arrangements have still to be worked out, which the Taoiseach affirmed again this morning.

[414]There are two simple questions before us, namely, should a Government’s income be more than it spends and should a Government try to reduce its national debt. Most people who are reflective, honest and who think about where we want to be as a society and an economic State would answer “Yes” to both questions. This is at the core of the fundamental principles of the stability treaty. The treaty is about putting in place an agreement between eurozone countries. It builds on what the European Community was created for and has worked towards up to this very day. It is an agreement that requires governments to be careful in how they use taxpayers’ money and that requires them to take a long-term view. When I hear Members opposite engage in the politics of protest and in cheap soundbites to gain notoriety, they mislead the very people they claim to represent. There is an obligation on a Government, of whatever hue, to represent its people and thankfully in the past 12 months we have seen, be it from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or from the Department of Finance, a Government doing that, representing its people, and if we get this change, it will be very welcome. It will be a tremendous day for the Irish people and for us as a nation.

This treaty is not just an abstract European concept. It is not about a European bureaucrat being faceless and hidden from us. Neither is it about the European Commission nor the European Parliament. It about the very future of the currency, of the European Union and of us individually and as a country within the European Community. That is why it is important that the euro matters to every single person in this country. Having the euro currency, being a member of the eurozone and being the only English speaking country in the eurozone allows us an opportunity to be part of a strong currency. It has also meant that the actions of other countries have affected our currency and our economy. That is why it is important that this stability treaty recognises the whole ethos of interdependence and interdependency. That is why it is important for Mr. Sarkozy and Mrs Merkel put aside their political contests in their own countries and be mindful of the broader concept of where they want Europe to be. The treaty is about eurozone countries co-ordinating policies to prevent economic contagion. That must be at the heart of what they do in Europe at the level of Government leaders.

It is important to recognise that we as a nation are benefiting from the European Union through the European stabilisation fund. We should reflect on where we would be if we did not have it. We should cast our minds back to that infamous Sunday night when the troika came into town and to where we were in the context of the world perspective on Ireland 12 months ago and where we are today. Perhaps we are a poster boy for what a country should do right but, more importantly, within the thinking class and among the people who invest, there is a recognition that we have a Government of different political ideologies, working in harmony and unison to benefit our country, and that is what Europe is about.

Deputy Dominic Hannigan: Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  I am delighted to speak on this Private Members’ motion. In essence, it proposes that we should not ratify the Article 136 amendment to the EU treaty, thereby in effect holding up the introduction of the ESM. The proposers of the motion advocate that we should reject the stability treaty and go to the EU and say that if they do not give us access to the ESM we will stop it happening and in the process make sure that no country will get access to the ESM. If ever we want to talk about blackmail, that is blackmail in black and white.

Sinn Féin has gained too much for too long by threatening people, by aggression. Now it will threaten the security of our country and deny our European neighbours and comrades access to funding that might prevent recession across Europe in their countries and that might protect the people of Europe. So much for showing solidarity with the working people of [415]Europe. It is disgraceful for them to claim to be a party of the left and yet seek to deny financial stability to millions of families across the European Union.

It would be a case of “ourselves alone”, if we went that way, but we are not alone. We do not want to be alone; we want to work together. Sinn Féin may be accustomed to using aggression to get what it wants but that is not the way the European Union works. It works through negotiation, it works together and it does not bully. “Le Chéile” is a phrase I use in this respect. We need to go forward, through negotiation and compromise, with the EU. The announcement last night in this House by the Minister, Deputy Noonan, shows we can make progress on measures such as the promissory notes.

All of us accept that it would be foolish at this stage for Ireland to go on an “ourselves alone” pathway. The Government supports the stability treaty. We believe in responsible budgeting and economic stability. I do not see how any credible left wing party can come in here and support irresponsible budgetary measures, considering the crisis facing this country. This stability treaty will ensure that no future Government ever has to deal with the disastrous mess with which my Government was left. Sinn Féin does not want to see a repeat of what Fianna Fáil has inflicted on this country. We envisage this treaty will enhance consumer confidence and thereby enhance investor confidence in Europe. It will bring stability to our budgetary systems and ensure that across the European Union, regardless of any particular member state, measures will be put in place to make sure each country respects the targets and rules of the European Union and if they do not, they will be penalised. There is no point in talking about a blackmail clause; there is only one blackmailer and it is clear which party that is.

Deputy Derek Nolan: Information on Derek Nolan  Zoom on Derek Nolan  The simplicity of this motion typifies the Sinn Féin approach to economics and economic policy. We are constantly left with the prospect of Sinn Féin coming in and its approach being based on emotion and fantasy versus an actual plan or one based on reality. It is necessary sometimes to take stock of where the economy is at and what this country has gone through. We have had the collapse of an entire economic sector of society in the construction industry, on which one in six jobs were dependent at the height of its growth, which has led to huge unemployment. We have a heap of debt hanging around the neck of the country as a result of reckless and dangerous banking policies and a Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin-supported bank guarantee. That has had a crippling effect on the State finances and the ability of the State to pay its bills and to pay its way, which has resulted in the necessity of external lenders coming into this State to fund our public services and to keep us afloat. On top of that, we have a global economic crisis that is not lifting and continues to reign. We also have a recession in the eurozone. On top of all that, we have a crisis of confidence in the future and the very existence of the eurozone currency, the so-called debt crisis and currency crisis. All these issues are a very heavy burden and weigh severely on our tiny country and they all have to be dealt with one by one. That is what the Government is doing.

We need to get real. We do not have complete and utter sovereignty over our economic matters. We work within the European Union with a common currency and over the years we have shared sovereignty, responsibility and control of our economic policy. There are other people involved in paying for the bailout that we have received, people who are putting billions of euro from their economies into the programme. They want to ensure the money they put in will not cause the problem in the eurozone to drag on but instead solve it. The treaty tries to repair a design flaw in the currency to ensure the problems we have with excessive debt and runaway spending will not recur.

Sinn Féin, however, forgets this in our interests. The euro is not only used on mainland Europe, it is the currency in our pockets that is used by our businesses; it is what we are paid [416]in and what our savings are in. We are inextricably linked with the survival of the euro. Perhaps because the Sinn Féin speech writers are paid in sterling, they cannot make this connection.

It is interesting that the recent announcement by the Government on the renegotiation of the promissory note for this year has been treated with such cynicism and derision by Sinn Féin. It is clearly a positive step, just as the reduction in the interest rate, the renegotiation of the minimum wage, the jobs initiative and the renegotiation of the asset disposal policy were all positive steps that never even received a small round of applause from Sinn Féin.

During Leaders’ Questions this morning Deputy Mary Lou McDonald criticised the lack of detail on the promissory note, despite being told the negotiations had not concluded. She asked on which cut backs the Tánaiste would roll back. This is a constant argument from Sinn Féin that I take on on local radio in Galway and in this Chamber — its complete refusal to acknowledge that on top of our banking debts, there is a fiscal crisis in current spending is shameful. I have heard Sinn Féin representatives on local radio talking about the paying back of Anglo Irish Bank bondholders, refusing to mention that it does not come from the State and will not have an effect on anyone for ten years, while saying they could easily reverse cuts and change policy if this payment did not have to be made. The same happened this morning with the promissory note, with Sinn Fein Members saying if we did not pay back the money, we would have an extra €3.1 billion available. That is not true; it would be an extra €3.1 billion that we would not have to borrow and add to the national debt.

This is a fake argument in which Sinn Féin treats people like idiots, manipulates them and stirs up anxiety to create a sense of unfairness. The people know that times are tough, and the public is suffering, but the manipulation and arrogance shown by a party seeking electoral gain is deeply cynical. When the history books are written and people look back at the greatest economic crisis the State has ever endured, they will look with scorn at Sinn Féin for the cheap politics it played during a time of national crisis.

Deputy John Lyons: Information on John Lyons  Zoom on John Lyons  I commend Deputy Derek Nolan for his remarks. I could not put it better, but I will try to add to what he said.

I welcome the news that the promissory note payment for this month has been delayed. It is an understatement to say this is good news. It is evidence that our strategy of patient engagement with our EU partners is working. As we are dependent on others to finance our deficit, we do not have the option to act unilaterally. This decision shows we are following the right path in the best interests of the country and the people.

Listening to the debate on the motion last night and today I heard calls for an honest debate on the treaty and its merits from Sinn Féin, as well as calls not to frighten people. If anyone rewound the video, last night we heard calls from Sinn Féin peppered with references to the treaty as an austerity treaty with a blackmail clause. If that is not frightening the people, I do not know what it is.

I support one section of the motion which calls for a debate on the merits of the treaty which I see as being about our responsibilities in a common currency area. This is our currency, the one we use daily and that is in our pockets to pay our bills and mortgages and for our kids’ lunches at school. It is in our interests for the euro to be dependable and speculation about its imminent collapse to no longer be daily news. That is what the treaty is about; it is as important for the personal finances of the people as it is for those who make investment decisions based on the future stability of a currency. We should all remember this. Our objective should be to avoid ever needing a bailout in the future. That means following policies that allow for growth, which is the intention of the Government. If, however, we need it through no fault of our own, it is a no-brainer that we have access to ESM money.

[417]Let us look at the future options available to us based on our current situation. We are in a funding programme under which we receive loans from the troika, which includes our European partners. If we did not have access to these loans, we would be at the mercy of markets that are extremely hostile to countries with large deficits and a growing debt. We should remember this lesson, as we still have a funding requirement beyond the years of the troika programme. Sinn Féin states that if we reject the terms and conditions applied, we should still be allowed to access ESM money or use the veto to remove the clause. Saying we should have the option to use the veto in a situation where 12 nations have ratified the treaty is the wrong call. The rules of the treaty are set down in the revised Stability and Growth Pact of 2011. Through the golden rule, the deficit rule is made explicit. The reality is that Ireland must follow these rules; therefore, we should avail of the option of accessing ESM funds. Let us remember that we have a common currency and shared interests and that playing a poor hand when the rules have already taken effect is not the answer to our problems. Stability and growth provide the answers and should be our priorities.

We have and will continue to plan for growth, but we cannot make assumptions about our future. As no one here has a crystal ball, we must keep our options open. The policy advocated by Sinn Féin that we demand access to common funds or use the veto, even if the referendum result is negative, is unlikely to get us far. That is why I will be voting against the motion.

I stood for election because of the state of the country. I gave up a job I absolutely loved to come here where my daily job involves a lot of people blaming me as a politician for everything. I am absolutely sick and tired of the negativity when there is positivity. I am sick and tired of the rubbish from certain Members of the House in seeking to dampen positive news. It is inherently wrong to be negative when there are positive things happening. This has been the best day since the Government took office one year ago. This shows the economy is moving forward. We are not there yet, but it is a significant step forward. It is a shame, however, that there are people who have come here today to play with words, saying this is not a good day. We only need look at what happened during Leaders’ Questions when there was not one positive word, except from Deputy Shane Ross, about the steps taken by the Government. If we are interested in the people who elected us, let us be honest with them and say this is a bloody good day.

Deputy Jim Daly: Information on Jim Daly  Zoom on Jim Daly  I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate. The importance of the upcoming debate on the EU stability treaty for us as a nation cannot be underestimated. In speaking on RTE two or three months ago I said I hoped the Attorney General would advise that we hold a referendum because it would give us the opportunity to have a real debate on the issue. That is what has transpired, which I welcome, as it will be of benefit to Ireland if we can get at the truth.

This is not a good day for politics or politicians in the light of the report published this morning which gives a negative view of them. Although the burden can be borne more on one side of the House, it is still not a good day for politics. It is important, however, that we rise to the challenge of being honest with the people. The media have an obsession with the soundbite and the cheap populist rhetoric of a minority of representatives in the House. I regret this because the negative campaigning is effective in distorting the facts in this important national conversation on our relationship with the European Union.

The main negative is that the treaty has come too late for my generation, a generation consigned to debt because of the reckless decisions taken by the architects of society in the last decade. It is to be regretted at our leisure that such a responsible and common-sense attitude to lending was not mandatory in the last ten years. The debt, both sovereign and personal, and ensuing devastation for so many Irish families could have been spared. The basis for the deficit [418]in the day-to-day running of our economy was a delusional dependency on unsustainable tax revenues, primarily from the property bubble. In a belated attempt to ensure this is not repeated, the troika has correctly laid down the condition that Ireland must introduce a property tax, which will provide a sustainable base for collecting our taxes.

This debate is, yet again, an attempt by the Opposition to request an à la carte style of governance that is devoid of any form of realism or responsibility and dominated by the hollow rhetoric and empty soundbite so loved by the media. It rejects austerity which, as I have said previously, is no more or less than merely living within our means, and it demands an endless array of services. It is high time our society participated in a more informed debate on the future of our economy. This treaty would stand on its merits if we were never part of the EU. It merely requires a government to decide to live within its budget and control the amount of money it borrows. Every household in the country is doing that daily, and is very proud and responsible to be doing it.

If Ireland was never part of the EU, this would be a sensible treaty. It is all the more important when we are part of the EU that the other countries in the EU, our trading partners, also comply with the treaty. This will allow us to grow our exports. Figures released today which show that our GDP grew by 0.7% last year are welcome. It is a positive step. However, what is holding back this country is the domestic economy. Our trade and exports are thriving but the domestic economy is not, due to the lack of confidence. That is the direct result of the negativity and constant political games being played by the other side of the House. It is destroying that confidence and, in turn, holding this country back from achieving what it seeks. I ask the Opposition to wear the green jersey and be a little more responsible in debating these issues.

Deputy Regina Doherty: Information on Regina Doherty  Zoom on Regina Doherty  I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this debate. I agree with a comment by Deputy Dominic Hannigan earlier in that I do not think Sinn Féin quite knows what it wants aside from publicity and notoriety. Sinn Féin would have us believe that the inclusion of Article 136 is intended to frighten the public into supporting the fiscal stability treaty in the event a referendum is required in a member state. The same party was claiming only a few weeks ago that the Government had sought to change the treaty wording to avoid a referendum. The two arguments are contradictory so can the party make up its mind which is the correct one? I believe both claims are pure nonsense.

It is only logical that the commitment to greater solidarity among eurozone countries is matched by stricter rules. The granting of ESM support is closely tied to the new fiscal compact, and by creating this connection the EU Heads of State and Government have underlined the fact that financial solidarity and financial solidity are two sides of the same coin. The European stability mechanism treaty is an important part of the significant number of initiatives which have been taken at EU level to ensure the economic and financial stability of the euro area and the EU in general.

The Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, said recently that the funding approved under the existing programme of financial support for Ireland is not conditional on Ireland ratifying the fiscal compact but, as is currently the case, on Ireland successfully implementing its programme. In short, this treaty is the cornerstone for a new culture of stability in Europe. The coalition Government has earned international credibility by swiftly cleaning up and consolidating Ireland’s banking sector. An editorial in the Financial Times last September stated that other countries caught in the eurozone sovereign debt and financial sector turmoil could learn from the way Ireland is nursing itself back to health.

[419]This Government is changing the way Ireland does its business by restoring fiscal discipline, cutting the deficit by 2015 and returning to honest budgeting. Irish Governments have made some terrible mistakes in recent years, but I do not believe that signing the revised ESM treaty will be one of them.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this debate. I wish to make four points on this motion and the prospect of the referendum on the European stability treaty.

The first point relates specifically to Article 136, which is referred to in the motion. I ask the people who are making claims against this article to answer an important question. In a few years, when Ireland is out of the current arrangement, our taxpayers’ money will be going into a fund that could be used in other countries. Is it not in our interest that conditions be put in place regarding how our money is used elsewhere? Is it not the case that if a fund is set up to which taxpayers’ money is contributed, we would want to see that money being used responsibly and properly in other countries? The answer is obviously “Yes” and for that reason it is appropriate that conditions are included. Those conditions will be in our interest at some point in the future.

If one opposes the concept of including such conditions, one is opening up the prospect of Irish taxpayers’ money being used in other countries but with Ireland not having a say in how that money is spent or whether it is properly administered. That clause is about ensuring that in any future arrangement where countries seek money, including the external aid programme we are in at present and programmes in which other countries might participate in the future, there are conditions in place regarding how that money is spent. It is exactly the same relationship as that which exists between a borrower and a bank. It is precisely the type of arrangement that should be in place when Irish taxpayers’ money is being used in other countries in the future.

  12 o’clock

My second point relates to the type of prize Sinn Féin claims is on the horizon if this treaty is rejected. The party argues that there will be some theoretical increase in our country’s sovereignty if we do not participate in this arrangement. However, what will be the price? How will our citizens thank us for us being able to say we are freer outside this treaty than within it, if the cost is that we are unable to fund the public services on which those citizens depend? That is what the rejection of this treaty would mean. Who would thank any government for saying our independence or autonomy is increased as a result of being outside this arrangement when the price for that increase is that it is unable to access the funding that must be borrowed to fund the public services? How is that a good deal for the people that this or any future Government would seek to represent?

Third, what vista would Ireland face if we are outside this arrangement? It is very clear. We would find ourselves in a situation where we are unable to access the future European stability mechanism or new bailout fund. We also would be priced out of the financial markets. Those markets would look at all the sacrifice our citizens have made over the past four years and ask, “Where is the intent to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated in the future?” We would find ourselves outside the financial markets or borrowing from them at a prohibitively expensive rate while not having access to the mechanism that is designed to help countries that cannot get funding in the first place. One has heard the cliché about an individual finding himself or herself between a rock and a hard place. If Ireland were to again find itself in a situation where it is unable to access funding for our public services and there is nobody in the world willing to lend money to us, but we cannot access a programme designed to help countries in such situations, that is a recipe for intensified austerity and losing the country’s sovereignty for many years beyond what we are experiencing at present.

[420]The ultimate question which people who oppose this treaty must answer is very simple — from where would they get the money. Where would they get the money to fund our public services and the gap between spending and taxation, given that we would be unable to access a bailout fund and the financial markets would be reluctant to lend us money? The answer is that there is no place where we could get that money, and Sinn Féin knows that is the case.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  No, we do not.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  When Deputy Ellis stands to speak he might devote his comments to answering that question. He might tell the constituents he is privileged to represent, as I am privileged to represent my constituents in Dublin Central, where Sinn Féin would get the money to pay for the hospitals and schools. Will he answer that question?

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  We would not have a problem going to the markets if we were not lumbered with all the debt to which the Government has signed up.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  He will not answer it.

Of course, this is the very same debt that Sinn Féin voted in favour of when it voted for the bank guarantee scheme. They voted for it.

Deputy Sandra McLellan: Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  We know that is not correct.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  Not only do I know it is correct, but I was also there when it happened. I saw the Sinn Féin Deputies all come in here——

Deputy Sandra McLellan: Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  I was not here.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  ——and vote for the deal that unified the debt, the consequences of which we are dealing with now. The simple question is where would Sinn Féin get the money from. They should answer that question. If they could answer that question perhaps it would lend greater credibility and clarity regarding an alternative route for our State.

Day after day, Sinn Féin Deputies come in here and say they are against cuts in public services, but they are also against any measures to fund increased tax revenue coming into the State to fund the same public services. In last year’s general election, Sinn Féin campaigned on a platform of not dealing with the troika. Sinn Féin said it did not want the troika’s money and would find another way of doing it, while exiting their arrangement. Where has that rhetoric gone over the last year? Will we hear what they are about to say now? Sinn Féin has performed the single biggest U-turn of any party in the Dáil since the last election. The claim it is putting before the public is a continuation of that political dishonesty that could lead to such damage and difficulty for our country after the searing convulsions we have already been through.

Deputy Sandra McLellan: Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  I wish to share time with Deputies Colreavy, Ellis and Crowe.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Ciarán Lynch): Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Is that agreed? Agreed. The Deputy has five minutes.

Deputy Sandra McLellan: Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  I welcome the opportunity to speak on such an important issue. Today is an extremely poignant day for this country, with the Mahon tribunal publishing its final report on corruption after 15 years of inquiries.

If accepted by the Irish people, this austerity treaty will have a dramatic effect on the future growth and stability of our economy. This treaty will not solve the eurozone crisis and, like my [421]colleagues in Sinn Féin, I am certain it will not fix our economy either. If anything, this austerity treaty will deepen the recession for thousands of Irish citizens across the country.

The treaty will lead to even greater levels of austerity being imposed on families that are already over-burdened. It will mean more taxes on lower and middle-income earners. This comes at a time when the Government has awarded a payment of €623,000 to Bank of Ireland chief executive, Richie Boucher. I remind the Minister that this payment breaches the Government’s own pay cap by €123,000. It is absolutely scandalous that the head of a bank that has received such a huge injection of taxpayers’ money should be rewarded, while under this treaty ordinary people will yet again be attacked by the Government.

The stark reality and brutal impact of the Government’s austerity policies are being felt by every sector of society, but more so by low and middle-income earners. Every day in my constituency I see droves of young people leaving our shores. They are doing so not, as has been claimed, by choice, but in search of a better life, which they feel they cannot achieve here.

The most powerful tool for progress as a nation is education. Education is central to the development of a prosperous and vibrant country. Yet this treaty, if accepted by the Irish people, will ensure that there will be more public spending cuts. Where will these cuts come from?

Within our education system, we have seen the removal of Traveller support teachers, teachers of English as an acquired language, special needs assistants, and home-school liaison. We have seen an attack on DEIS schools, while small schools are under pressure which is causing major problems in rural areas, especially in the Gaeltacht. How much more can the Minister for Education and Skills cut?

This treaty significantly strengthens the capacity of the European Commission to enforce member state compliance with existing rules and new ones. Member states will have signed up to a legally binding obligation to enter automatically an economic partnership programme when they are in breach of the rules. The content of this programme will be determined by the European Commission and will be extremely similar to the current EU-IMF austerity programme.

Arguments have been made that these rules in the treaty are sensible, and are there to promote growth and stability in the economy. The rules are far from that, however — they are anti-job and anti-growth. Many economists, both Irish and international from both left and right, have all challenged the credibility of this treaty and its rules.

Sinn Féin believes this treaty will most definitely not resolve the underlying crisis with the euro. We feel strongly that, if implemented, the treaty will make matters much worse and will in fact further deepen the recession in Ireland.

I have heard many Government Deputies argue that this treaty and its rules are aimed at ensuring the books are being balanced, as well as preventing governments from spending more than they earn. This is a ridiculous argument. Economies are not the same as households. A requirement to balance the books at year-end does not apply in the same way to an economy as it does to a family.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  How else do we get the money?

Deputy Sandra McLellan: Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  In times of strong economic growth, a business — like any other — will run a surplus and use that excess to pay down debts or invest in the business. In periods of recession governments, like any SMEs, need flexibility both to borrow and invest thus ensuring that people get back to work, and that growth and stability are returned to the economy.

[422]If this austerity treaty is ratified it will place an economic straight-jacket on the State and its people for many decades. By giving this treaty the protection of the Irish Constitution, it ensures it is permanent and can only be changed by a future referendum and with the agreement of the other signatory states. It is crystal clear that this is an unfair and unjust treaty, which will be bad for those on low and middle incomes and disadvantaged communities.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  First, I wish to answer Deputy Donohoe who asked how Sinn Féin proposed to pay for this. We should all be aware, including Deputy Donohoe, that some €30 billion, plus €17 billion in interest, is going to Anglo Irish Bank, which is now known as IBRC. This money is not morally or legally the responsibility of the Irish people. If we add to that the €28 billion in interest on that borrowing over 20 years, we come to the considerable sum of €75 billion. That would make some impression on Ireland’s debt-to-GDP ratio.

Second, I refer Deputy Donohoe to Sinn Féin’s pre-budget submission which showed that by introducing a wealth tax and capping some public service pay, including politicians’ pay and some other measures, we could meet our annual revenue requirements without this austerity treaty.

Third, it is untrue that Sinn Féin supported the bank bailout. Sinn Féin did support measures to overcome what was described as a liquidity problem for the banks, but within a week it became very clear——

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  That you did the wrong thing.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  ——that there was a structural problem. Sinn Féin did not support the bank bailout once that was made clear and once the lies were cut through.

Turning to the matter under discussion, citizens have witnessed much bad governance in recent years. The political elite allowed bankers, developers and private speculators a licence to use and abuse the State. When those bankers, developers and private speculators faced the consequences of their actions, they were shielded by the leaders of this country. Citizens then faced further poor governance as the political elite wielded the sword for cuts and austerity, instead of taking the braver option of ingenuity.

Our citizens have witnessed their leaders making mistakes, blunders and errors, while the general public suffer the consequences. Perhaps one of the greatest blunders an Irish Government has made is to consign us to austerity for the foreseeable future. They have supported their own blackmail and are now attempting to use it against our citizens.

During negotiations in December and January, the Government supported an insertion of the blackmail clause into the austerity treaty and the treaty establishing the European stability mechanism or ESM. This blackmail clause stated that access to future bailout funds from the ESM would be subject to the Irish people passing the austerity treaty. In effect, the Irish people were threatened and held to ransom, while their own Government supported it. This is an indication of the ideology of this Fine Gael-Labour Government.

They would rather support a clause that blackmails its citizens into austerity than show some real leadership. They have handed the European elite the power to coerce our people so that the austerity treaty would be passed in this State.

Many have bemoaned the use of scaremongering during past referendums, but this time it is the Government generating the fear. Without this blackmail clause, Government knows the referendum will not pass. All the treaty does is enforce harsh austerity on Irish people. The Government has agreed to let Europe use blackmail to force the treaty through. The Govern[423]ment is attempting to place itself in an impossible position in order, like Pontius Pilate, to wash its hands of responsibility.

In his previous incarnation in Opposition, the Tánaiste accused the Government of economic treason. Can the Tánaiste really say he has bettered Ireland’s stakes in his Government’s dealings with Europe?

There is a chance of redemption for the Government. For the ESM to be created, the European Council must amend the existing EU treaties and give them the power to create a permanent bailout mechanism. This amendment, known as Article 136, must be ratified by all 27 member states. Article 136 has yet to be ratified by the Oireachtas and therefore is not yet law. As a result, the Government has a chance to prevent the Irish people being blackmailed. We do not hold a veto over the treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism but we, and the Government, hold a veto on Article 136 on which it is based. In short, if the ESM cannot deny Ireland a second bailout, there is no reason to pass the austerity treaty. Beyond blackmail, there is nothing of value for the Irish people in this treaty.

It is time for honesty from the Government. The Government should do the right thing and prevent this blackmail clause being inserted in the treaty. Let the referendum be carried out in the cold light of day in order that the public can make a clear and honest choice over our future. The Government needs a mandate from the people if it wishes to pursue the severe austerity measures it is set on pushing through. It has tried in vain to avoid holding a referendum and is now attempting to muddy the waters surrounding the facts. Europe is not going to kick Ireland out of the euro or deny us a second bailout if we need it. To do so would be an act of lunacy and would damage the entire European project.

It is time we took ownership of our own destiny. We can no longer afford to suffer at the whim of the market and unbridled capitalism. It we continue to hand over any more of our freedoms, we will be embarking on a very dark path. I remind the House of these lines from our national anthem:

I highlight these words because, as we continue to hand over more and more of our sovereignty, we betray the sentiment of our anthem. Only the Irish people have the right to determine the future of Ireland. The EU, the IMF or the ECB cannot violate or negate those rights. I call on Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil, as we approach the anniversary of 1916, to remember what those men and women died for. It was not for dominion status of the kingdom of Goldman Sachs and its like.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  In March 2011, the Government framed itself as an Administration with the mandate of a democratic revolution. This mandate was to sweep away the corrupt, undemocratic, wasteful, greedy and negligent political practices of the past and usher in a new era of better Government. This claim was not based on the Government’s belief that it really had better ideas or different politics but merely that it could do Fianna Fáil’s job a little better and that people would see it as new and refreshing.

It has certainly not done away with the age old tactic of scaremongering to ram through policy. In the first and second Lisbon treaty referendums, respectively, we saw how over the top and how effective this can be. We were told that to vote “No” to these treaties was to vote to leave the EU, destroy our economy further, put everyone in the country on the dole and cast out onto a sea of uncertainty from which we would never return. We were warned that [424]ATMs would shut down and cash would cease to be. This was nonsense and scaremongering and it is happening all over again.

Of course, we have a new Government and so we have new scaremongering tactics. This time it is in the treaty itself, in the form of the European Stability Mechanism and the blackmail clause. The clause states that access to future emergency funding from the European Stability Mechanism would be conditional on ratification of the austerity treaty. The Government supported its insertion, raising not one single objection. This clause would mean people would be making their decision, not on whether the treaty would help to solve the economic crisis across Europe but on whether they believed the scare tactics and propagators of doom on the Government benches. It would be a vote under a manufactured duress. None of this has to be done, but it is the route chosen by the Government as a tactic to coerce people into supporting the treaty. It would not have stopped the crisis and will certainly not fix it.

Some democratic revolution we have had, when this is what the Government thinks it can do to us. It is nothing less than treachery. The Government can do something that would be in the interests of Ireland, of democracy and of the wider Europe. It can delay the ratification of the ESM Bill and of Article 136 until after the referendum on the austerity treaty. Ireland needs an honest debate on this treaty and on the enshrining of austerity as the only policy available in crisis. The Government, if it is a government of the people, must stand by the people’s decision on this treaty and seek to inform rather than coerce. If a “No” vote is returned in the referendum, the Government must return to the European Council and seek the removal of the blackmail clause from the ESM treaty. If the Council refuses to change the treaty, the Government must use its veto to block the passage of the treaty.

This treaty will heap further austerity on all of us, and on other European countries, and will further erode plans to take back our economic sovereignty. It will increase the prospect of our losing our economic sovereignty.

Deputy Seán Crowe: Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  First, I assure Labour Party Deputies that no sterling was wasted on my speech. Labour Deputies who have left the Chamber are clearly upset in this regard. I assure them that no sterling was wasted on this speech. I do not know about euro.

Speaking in the Dáil on the 28 February the Tánaiste, Deputy Eamon Gilmore explained that the purpose of the austerity treaty was to help build a “thriving and prosperous European economy that has moved beyond the current crisis”. He then went on to claim that it was a package of measures that would help stabilise the situation in the eurozone and that it was “vital to our national interests”.

On the basis of these comments it seems pretty clear that the Tánaiste and leader of the Labour Party believes that, overall, the content of the austerity treaty is good for economic recovery and that we should all vote for it come referendum day. The “Yes” side claim it is simply a restatement of the existing Stability and Growth Pact rules with some modifications to these rules agreed to by the European Council in 2011. These modifications, known as the six pack, were approved by the European Parliament and European Council in September and November 2011 and came into force from December 2011. They are five separate EU regulations and one directive dealing with aspects of economic governance. They were described by the European Council as “the most comprehensive reinforcement of economic governance in the EU and the euro area since the launch of the Economic and Monetary Union”.

Considering the Labour Party’s support for the austerity treaty, including those elements whose origins are to be found in the so-called six pack, one would think its MEPs would have been equally supportive of the six pack proposals when they were voted on in the European Parliament last September. It appears that is not so.

[425]The Labour Party’s three MEPs — Proinsias De Rossa, Ms Phil Prendergast and Ms Nessa Childers — opposed the package of measures, voting against four of them, abstaining on one and supporting one. The reasons for their opposition to the overall package are interesting and put a different perspective on the debate.

Proinsias De Rossa, a former president of the Labour Party, said about the six pack that the“. . . legislative package will reinforce the EU austerity programme driving us into recession — that the measures are economically misguided . . . will kill growth, destroy jobs and derail economic recovery.” On the same day his party colleague Ms Phil Prendergast was critical of the European Commission proposals. She stated, “They are missing the most important ingredient: a jobs and growth strategy.” She went on to say the “austerity-only approach is a recipe for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.” Focusing on the impact of the six pack on the economy Ms Nessa Childers said, “To focus only on the side of fiscal austerity will depress demand further and destroy job creation...,” and called for a “change away from this extreme austerity approach.”

Just as important, the reason the three Labour Party MEPs supported one of the six pack proposals was the inclusion of what is known as the “Monti clause”. It states the regulation will not affect the exercise of fundamental rights or the right to negotiate, conclude or enforce collective wage agreements — Ferreira A7-0183/2011. This important clause is absent from the text of the austerity treaty. I suppose one could say it is not the full monty.

In the European Parliament the Labour Party strongly opposes the “irresponsible”, “austerity only” approach of the six pack on the grounds that it will “kill growth, destroy jobs and derail economic recovery,” yet their colleagues who were sitting in this Chamber earlier support the six pack inspired austerity treaty on the grounds that it is an “important milestone for Ireland on our road to recovery” and “vital to our national interests”. In European-speak, it is a millstone around our necks, but in Gilmore-speak, it is an important milestone in our recovery. The European message seems to suggest that by signing up to the new eurozone treaty the Government will have surrendered control over Irish fiscal and budgetary matters to EU officials and be guilty of institutionalising austerity, with the result that generations of Irish people will be forced to endure unimaginable levels of debt and poverty.

The Government’s reluctance to hold a referendum is matched by its abject failure to provide any justification to explain why it is in our best interests to sign up to a treaty that will shackle Ireland to the policies of larger EU member states and the troika. In my humble opinion, not only does the treaty surrender significant control over Irish fiscal and budgetary matters to unelected and unaccountable EU officials, it also imposes drastic and destructive austerity on ordinary citizens who have already had to pay the price of the casino capitalism of bankers, bondholders and speculators.

If the provisions of the stability treaty were put in place today, the 23 EU member states currently subject to the excessive deficit procedure would have to accept the Commission’s recommendations, even if a majority of member states disagreed, and to agree to a detailed programme of economic reforms which would be legally binding under EU law. It is clear that, by any definition, this austerity treaty will put enormous pressure on ordinary people’s welfare and living standards. It reflects the interests of big business lobbies such as Business Europe and the European Round Table of Industrialists which have been advocating a strengthening of EU economic governance. The new treaty is fully in line with such corporate demands.

This Private Members’ motion exposes the duplicity of a Government which has embarked on the scare tactics designed to force Irish citizens into accepting the treaty. Let us be clear about the following points: the Government claims that if we reject the austerity treaty, we will be denied European Stability Mechanism, ESM, funding in the future; that if we do not say [426]“Yes”, we will not receive emergency funding in the future. Not only is that untrue, but the Government, in vetoing the Article 136 amendment on which the ESM treaty is based, would stop Ireland from being forced to institutionalise austerity in law. The “Yes” side, rather than freely and openly debating the merits of the austerity treaty, have resorted to scare tactics, using its muscle — possibly a six pack — to bully and blackmail and curtail debate and reasonable argument. Clearly, the blackmail clause is an empty threat, as it has little, if any, legal standing and conflicts with the primary mandate of the ESM to safeguard the stability of the eurozone as written into the EU treaties.

The motion challenges the Government to postpone the legislation on the European stability treaty until after the referendum takes place and veto it if the people reject the austerity treaty. It calls on the Government, in the event of a rejection of the austerity treaty by the people, to seek a further amendment to the ESM treaty removing the blackmail clause and to use its veto on this matter, if required. That would allow the public to debate and decide on the austerity treaty on its own merits, free from the blackmail implicit in the threat to deny future bailout funds. If the motion is defeated in the Dáil, it will be a clear indication that the Government is intent on using scare tactics to have the treaty passed.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  I could read my speech, as other speakers have done, but it would be much more useful for me to reply to the debate in an open and honest way. It is important that the people listen to it and hear the utterly cynical and contrived speeches that have clearly been written by others with an agenda which is all about not telling the truth to the people.

We have a fundamental choice to make, namely, are we part of the euro, our currency, and going to embrace the new rules that are essential for its success, or are we going to take a different view and decide to economically and politically paddle our own canoe? That is the choice facing the people. It can be dressed up in hyperbole and propaganda, but I find the reference to a blackmail clause astonishing from a political party such as Sinn Féin with all its allies in the past 40 years. It is a past master at blackmail and blackmailing the people during that period.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  The Government would know all about that.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  It is important that we have a cold, calm, rational debate on the issue because the euro is our currency.

I voted in favour of the Maastricht treaty which my colleagues opposite argued against. The same position was adopted by the British Conservative Party at the time. Sinn Féin was against the euro at the time, but some years later it was in favour of it. Now it presents itself as a party which has developed a master position on how it can be advanced. The only way that can happen is if we agree rules, stick to them and over a period develop the stability the eurozone needs.

At the tail end of last year we were looking for all parts of the jigsaw to come together. We were looking for an ESM that would be the firewall to do the things we needed to do in this economy and elsewhere. We have it in place now. It seems to be logical and right that if one wants to draw down the funds attached to it, conditions be attached. The logical condition is that we meet our budgetary and fiscal parameters. We must do this by 2015, regardless of whether a system is in place. The economy has gone through an adjustment, to a figure of €25 billion between 2008 and 2011. That sum has been taken out of the economy in the past three years and between 2013 and 2015 a further €8.5 billion will be taken out. That is necessary in terms of balancing the difference between what we taken in and what we spend. Irrespective [427]of the banking debt, the fundamental reality facing Sinn Féin, the United Left Alliance, Deputy Ross and everyone else is that there is a gaping hole of €15 billion in the public finances. If we cannot borrow, as we cannot at present, we require the support of the European authorities and the IMF to get us over this period in order that we can get back to the markets.

Do colleagues honestly believe we will have a greater chance of getting back to the markets if this treaty is rejected? Irrespective of our very important national anthem, the market view on whether this country has the capacity to fix its deficit and to get back over a period of years to a more manageable financial position is important. It is delusional to think this country would be in a better position by saying to the markets, and to the world community and Europe, that we will be part of the euro but we are not accepting the conditions around that. Those who look at this issue honestly, rationally and calmly would come to the conclusion that it is delusional to think such. I put to the House, particularly to Members opposite, that it is utterly delusional to suggest we can get out of this enormous hole by not agreeing rules which are essentially a part of the currency we want to build.

The euro is important. It is a hard currency. A small, open trading economy like Ireland, which exports more than it imports and which is based on its international reputation, needs to export with a hard currency, and the euro gives us the capacity to do so. However, we cannot be part of that eurozone or currency club unless we accept and embrace the rules. Enormous mistakes were made in the Stability and Growth Pact which affected the large and small countries but, as the Minister for Finance stated, we must retrofit it. We must ensure those mistakes are not repeated and we get a period of stability.

Since the ESM has been in place, the EU leaders agreed in very quick time in January last about this treaty, and the Greek situation has been given some relief, at least for the medium term, the markets have calmed and the eurozone has faced an unprecedented three months of stability. We are taking baby steps here. We are coming through the most enormous financial crisis the world has seen since the 1930s, and to get another three months of stability, it is important that we make this decision.

Sovereignty lies with the Irish people, not this Parliament. The people will decide whether they accept this treaty. The Government has stated it is a matter for the people, in one referendum, to decide this issue.

The train will leave the station with or without us. I would argue that the treaty is already in place. One looks at the decision in Spain, only a week and a half ago, in terms of its rules. It is quite clear that the treaty is already in place. We must decide whether we are part of that train and whether we want to get the country to a better place.

I contend, and will so contend in every part of this country over the course of the next few months or however long this campaign takes place, that it is in the national interest that we remain part of the euro, that we accept the rules of the euro, and that we do it in a way in which we have the support. We have obtained the support of the European authorities, and while that is sometimes an unpopular statement to make, this country would be in a ten times worse position without that support in recent years.

We continue to get a better deal, as the Minister for Finance stated to the House last night. We continue to renegotiate. The fundamental mandate given to this Government is to renegotiate that deal, but we do that on the basis of being part of something. We do it on the basis of agreed rules. We do not do it on the basis of pretending to the people and to the world community that we can take unilateral action and, suddenly, this county will be in a better place. It is delusional and a fundamental lie.

I put it to the Sinn Féin Members that the only reason they are taking up their “No” position is because they see this treaty as another political opportunity, another part of their grab for [428]power and another part of their agenda, which has nothing to do with the interests of this country and everything to do with Sinn Féin and its little political project. I believe the people will reject that and that they will support the considered view of the Government on this issue when it is put. The sooner that debate happens, the better.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  I always enjoy listening to speeches of the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Hayes. I read his article in the Sunday Independent recently where he wrote of the reds under the bed of Sinn Féin, the threat to the State and all the madness with which he goes on about Sinn Féin. It has been his track record for many years, but at this stage he really would need to cop himself on as regards that type of nonsense and rhetoric. It might receive an audience with the editor of the Sunday Independent but it certainly will not receive an audience with the types of communities that he is supposed to represent in Dublin South-West. He would want to listen a little more to those he represents.

On the specifics, let us be clear that there is no solution to Ireland’s economic crisis or Europe’s economic crisis in the austerity treaty. This treaty is about the need for the German Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel, to be re-elected. It is about the need for Dr. Merkel to put out a narrative that what caused the economic crisis we face in Europe was fiscal indiscipline.

As Deputy Brian Hayes spoke of Maastricht and how he voted for it, let us look at the record here in Ireland. For most of the 11 or 12 years since the State has been a member of the eurozone, it was below the 3% deficit ceiling and within the debt-to-GDP ratio target of 60%. Ireland met those targets for most of those years. We stopped reaching those targets when we were saddled with the horrendous banking debt at the insistence of the European Central Bank, at the folly of the Government and in the betrayal of the people. The economic crisis in Ireland was caused not by the failure to meet some set of arbitrary targets but by the fact that the people were saddled with profound banking debt.

There are three core elements to the crisis in Europe: the banking crisis; the sovereign debt crisis; and the investment and unemployment crisis. The Government does not have a solution to those three issues. It does not have a real and radical reform of the financial and banking sector. What we see are those within an ideology — I accept Deputy Brian Hayes shares this as he is right-wing and a Thatcherite politician — such as the technocratic Prime Minister of Italy, Mr. Mario Monti, the technocratic Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Papademos, and the man in charge of the European Central Bank, whose common denominator is that they come from the Goldman Sachs philosophy. When the Greek Prime Minister dared to suggest a referendum, he was quickly shunted aside and replaced by a technocratic Prime Minister from the exact same ideology of unfettered, unbridled right-wing capitalism that has failed, not only Europe but the United States and much of the global economy at this time.

As to whether there is a redirection of Deputy Brian Hayes’s ideology and whether there is any humility that he might have been wrong in following that ideology all of those years, seeking to bring down public services and workers’ terms and pay, to privatise public services, to provide for light-touch regulation and deregulation, and to let the markets grow with trickle-down benefit for all of the people on the ground, there is none whatsoever. It is more of the same. That is what this austerity treaty is about and that is why Sinn Féin opposes it.

We are not alone. The European Trade Union Confederation has given a damning analysis of this treaty. The expected next President of France, M. Hollande, stated he will seek to renegotiate this. The Dutch Labour Party states it will look to oppose this if it cannot get guarantees around deficits that are unreasonable. The Minister of State’s colleagues in the right-wing Government in Spain are seeking renegotiation. These arbitrary targets are not going to solve our economic crisis and that is the basis on which we oppose it.

[429]I listened with great interest to the Taoiseach, the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Hayes, and his colleagues in Government express their serious concern that the backstop, to quote the Minister of State’s terminology, of the European Stability Mechanism would be lost to the Irish people if we were to reject this treaty or if we dared just to take this treaty on its merits or demerits. If the Government is so concerned about it, and if it is serious and real, it has the capacity to stop it happening. We know it conceded it in the negotiations but it now has the opportunity to stop this happening because it can veto it. The amendment to Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union is something the Government has the capacity to veto — that is a reality. It can stop this happening. It can refuse to bring this legislation before the House and give the Irish people their right to look at this treaty without the threat of access to future funding — it can do all of that if it chooses. Otherwise, will it actively collude in this blackmail and threat? It can give us no other description than that.

When I check my dictionary and read the objective of that clause put into the preamble, I can only come to this conclusion. Let us be very clear, in case the Government tries to muddy the waters. We are challenging the Government to put its money where its mouth is. If it is concerned about this issue and attempts to use it during the campaign, we will remind the Government, if it votes against this motion, that this was its choice. It colluded in it and is part of that agenda.

Let us look at the whole issue of alternatives and what Sinn Féin has said in regard to the banking crisis. Most reasonable economists would agree it is long overdue that we had rigorous stress testing of the European core banks, the large banks that were responsible for the recklessness and lending that took place in the periphery, to private banks in the Irish case. We need the full facts to be on the table regarding all of these derivatives, securitisation agendas and credit default swaps. Everything they were involved in needs to be on the table and a cleansing of the banking system needs to take place. When that takes place, on a case-by-case basis, we should have de-leveraging and then recapitalisation on a sensible, prudent, case-by-case basis. Of course, that has not happened at all.

We then need to look at the issue of sovereign debt. The Minister of State tells us we might be able to transfer this promissory note for a bond and kick the can down the road. However, there is no writedown of our debt, this unjust burden that was put on our people. We were saddled with the full impact of this crisis. It is remarkable that we have no deal for our people. How can we sustain growth? How can we really have a plan if we do not get a fair deal — a writedown — in the short, medium and long term for the interests of our people?

Next is the issue of investment and unemployment. It is not just Ireland that is impacted in this way. Spain has half of its young people out of work. Unemployment is rife, particularly across what are known as the peripheral states. Austerity has been an absolute failure. Those on what would be called the progressive left, with all its different elements in the social democratic movements and trade union movements, are stinging in their criticism of this agenda, this right wing coup that has taken place, and which I understand the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Hayes, supports because it is part of his ideology. It is a grave injustice to our people.

What could be done? There is the National Pensions Reserve Fund of €5.3 billion. We could ally those resources with the potential of the European Investment Bank, which has a track record of prudence and investment with return. We could look at next generation broadband, on which there was a presentation in this House. Imagine what it would do for Ireland’s economy if we could roll out next generation broadband, which is achievable. We could have a real plan supporting our small businesses and linking them to export opportunities. We could give entrepreneurism hope. We could give hope to the people who are queuing up for the overseas jobs expo.

[430]No hope can be given to our people in this way. We must fit in to this crazy, right wing coup that is taking place in Europe. This is strange to me when one considers that what has caused this crisis is a fundamental failure of that ideology. Deregulation left the financiers free to do their job, and look at the disaster it has brought upon our people. These are the reasons we have opposed this treaty and these are the solutions we offer up.

What I find interesting is the speaking out of the side of the mouth-type language that we would need a backstop and that we could not access support if we reject this treaty. As Deputy Shane Ross said, we have the most compliant Taoiseach. This is the most compliant Government in all of Europe in regard to these issues. The reality is that our people, at the insistence of the European Central Bank and due to the past and ongoing folly of our politicians, have been left to carry the can for a fundamental failure that was not Irish in its genesis but European and global. We have met all the targets we have been asked to meet. We have delivered punishing austerity on our people. We have met every troika demand, and every quarter it comes here to tell us so. How can the Minister of State possibly suggest that, having been the most compliant Government and people in Europe, we would be refused access if we needed it again? It is patent nonsense.

What Sinn Féin is asking the Government to do is to remove the scare tactics from this debate, to take away the threats from a people who are weary, a people who have had to carry the burden for what was a European financial crisis, which was fundamentally a failure of the European banking system and of global capitalism. Our people have carried that burden for too long. What we want is a plan and a strategy for growth and jobs that is real, just and fair.

The Minister of State talks about extraneous issues. This is the extraneous issue of this campaign, namely, the threat that we could not access support if we reject this treaty. I ask the Minister of State and the Government to do the right thing. If it is sincere in its concern, then our motion is reasonable. The Government should not put through this legislation. It should give the Irish people their say and give them clear space to look at this treaty and decide whether we can really meet these targets and move with more austerity. That is the question we put. The Minister of State should not muddy the waters or have any doubt about our approach in this regard.

I understand, Minister of State, that you are a right wing politician, a Thatcherite politician. You are into “reds under the bed”-type articles in newspapers. That has been your track record and long may it continue because it inspires us to work even harder for our communities.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Greens under the bed. Neo-nationalists under the bed, actually.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Ciarán Lynch): Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  I ask Deputy Mac Lochlainn to address his comments through the Chair.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  I note the Chair did not ask the Minister of State to address his comments through the Chair.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Ciarán Lynch): Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  I gave some leverage to both of you.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  That is fine. I will address the Chair. I say to the Minister of State that long may his type of politics continue because what he does is to inspire working class people, people who do not come from privilege, to work harder against right wing policies.

What I am shocked about, given I am now addressing the Chair, is how the Labour Party could support these types of policies——

[431]Acting Chairman (Deputy Ciarán Lynch): Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Excuse me, Deputy——

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  ——how the Labour Party, almost in isolation in all of Europe on the progressive left, could possibly be party to this type of——

Acting Chairman (Deputy Ciarán Lynch): Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  I am trying to keep you in order. If you are addressing the Chair, you are addressing the Chair rather than addressing a Member of this House. You must distinguish between addressing a political party that is in this House and addressing the Chair.

  1 o’clock

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  That is lovely. I take your point. I will make my point. How can the Labour Party possibly stand over a right-wing coup? How can it stand over a situation where the right wing in Europe is rewarded and encouraged for the catastrophic failure of its approach? How can a party that follows in the footsteps of Connolly and Larkin enthusiastically sell this treaty to the Irish people? How can the Labour Party in Ireland act in isolation of the Labour parties in Germany, the Netherlands and France — its sister organisations — and of its grassroots in the European Trade Union Confederation? How can the Labour Party in Ireland, enthusiastic members of the European family, ignore its own brothers and sisters on the left within that European family? These are the questions the party must ask itself.

I understand why the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Hayes, is so enthusiastic and so passionate in his right-wing fervour today.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Ciarán Lynch): Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  The Deputy is out of time.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  However, I cannot understand how the Labour Party can possibly stand over this betrayal of everything it has ever stood for by colluding with this right-wing coup.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  People support the proposal because it defeats fascism, which is what the Deputy’s party represents.

Amendment put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 85; Níl, 37.

Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Tom Barry  Zoom on Tom Barry  Barry, Tom.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Ray Butler  Zoom on Ray Butler  Butler, Ray.
Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Buttimer, Jerry. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  Byrne, Eric. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Paudie Coffey  Zoom on Paudie Coffey  Coffey, Paudie. Information on Áine Collins  Zoom on Áine Collins  Collins, Áine.
Information on Sean Conlan  Zoom on Sean Conlan  Conlan, Seán. Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul J.
Information on Ciara Conway  Zoom on Ciara Conway  Conway, Ciara. Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda. Information on Jim Daly  Zoom on Jim Daly  Daly, Jim.
Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy.
Information on Patrick Deering  Zoom on Patrick Deering  Deering, Pat. Information on Regina Doherty  Zoom on Regina Doherty  Doherty, Regina.
Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  Donohoe, Paschal. Information on Robert Dowds  Zoom on Robert Dowds  Dowds, Robert.
Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Alan Farrell  Zoom on Alan Farrell  Farrell, Alan.
Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank. Information on Anne Ferris  Zoom on Anne Ferris  Ferris, Anne.
Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  Fitzgerald, Frances. Information on Peter Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Peter.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brendan Griffin  Zoom on Brendan Griffin  Griffin, Brendan. Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  Hannigan, Dominic.
Information on Simon Harris  Zoom on Simon Harris  Harris, Simon. Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian.
Information on Martin Heydon  Zoom on Martin Heydon  Heydon, Martin. Information on Heather Humphreys  Zoom on Heather Humphreys  Humphreys, Heather.
Information on Derek Keating  Zoom on Derek Keating  Keating, Derek. Information on Colm Keaveney  Zoom on Colm Keaveney  Keaveney, Colm.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Alan Kelly  Zoom on Alan Kelly  Kelly, Alan.
Information on Seán Kenny  Zoom on Seán Kenny  Kenny, Seán. Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne  Kyne, Seán.
Information on Anthony Lawlor  Zoom on Anthony Lawlor  Lawlor, Anthony. Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on John Lyons  Zoom on John Lyons  Lyons, John. Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane.
Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe. Information on Tony McLoughlin  Zoom on Tony McLoughlin  McLoughlin, Tony.
Information on Michael McNamara  Zoom on Michael McNamara  McNamara, Michael. Information on Eamonn Maloney  Zoom on Eamonn Maloney  Maloney, Eamonn.
Information on Peter Mathews  Zoom on Peter Mathews  Mathews, Peter. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Mitchell O’Connor, Mary. Information on Michelle Mulherin  Zoom on Michelle Mulherin  Mulherin, Michelle.
Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  Murphy, Dara. Information on Eoghan Murphy  Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  Murphy, Eoghan.
Information on Gerald Nash  Zoom on Gerald Nash  Nash, Gerald. Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Derek Nolan  Zoom on Derek Nolan  Nolan, Derek.
Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Patrick O'Donovan  Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Patrick. Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. Information on Ann Phelan  Zoom on Ann Phelan  Phelan, Ann.
Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat. Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Ryan, Brendan.
Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Sean. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Arthur Spring  Zoom on Arthur Spring  Spring, Arthur. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.
Information on Brian Walsh  Zoom on Brian Walsh  Walsh, Brian.  


Níl
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  Collins, Joan.
Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Colreavy, Michael. Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán.
Information on Clare Daly  Zoom on Clare Daly  Daly, Clare. Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  Doherty, Pearse.
Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Donnelly, Stephen S. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan  Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan  Flanagan, Luke ‘Ming’.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Sean. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on John Halligan  Zoom on John Halligan  Halligan, John. Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus.
Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P.
Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig. Information on Charlie McConalogue  Zoom on Charlie McConalogue  McConalogue, Charlie.
Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  McDonald, Mary Lou. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  McLellan, Sandra.
Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál. Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  O’Brien, Jonathan. Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen.
Information on Thomas Pringle  Zoom on Thomas Pringle  Pringle, Thomas. Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Ross, Shane.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Dara Calleary.

Amendment declared carried.

Question put: “That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 83; Níl, 38.

Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Tom Barry  Zoom on Tom Barry  Barry, Tom.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Ray Butler  Zoom on Ray Butler  Butler, Ray.
Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Buttimer, Jerry. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  Byrne, Eric. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Paudie Coffey  Zoom on Paudie Coffey  Coffey, Paudie. Information on Áine Collins  Zoom on Áine Collins  Collins, Áine.
Information on Sean Conlan  Zoom on Sean Conlan  Conlan, Seán. Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul J.
Information on Ciara Conway  Zoom on Ciara Conway  Conway, Ciara. Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda. Information on Jim Daly  Zoom on Jim Daly  Daly, Jim.
Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy.
Information on Patrick Deering  Zoom on Patrick Deering  Deering, Pat. Information on Regina Doherty  Zoom on Regina Doherty  Doherty, Regina.
Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  Donohoe, Paschal. Information on Robert Dowds  Zoom on Robert Dowds  Dowds, Robert.
Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Alan Farrell  Zoom on Alan Farrell  Farrell, Alan.
Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank. Information on Anne Ferris  Zoom on Anne Ferris  Ferris, Anne.
Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  Fitzgerald, Frances. Information on Peter Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Peter.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brendan Griffin  Zoom on Brendan Griffin  Griffin, Brendan. Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  Hannigan, Dominic.
Information on Simon Harris  Zoom on Simon Harris  Harris, Simon. Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian.
Information on Martin Heydon  Zoom on Martin Heydon  Heydon, Martin. Information on Heather Humphreys  Zoom on Heather Humphreys  Humphreys, Heather.
Information on Derek Keating  Zoom on Derek Keating  Keating, Derek. Information on Colm Keaveney  Zoom on Colm Keaveney  Keaveney, Colm.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Alan Kelly  Zoom on Alan Kelly  Kelly, Alan.
Information on Seán Kenny  Zoom on Seán Kenny  Kenny, Seán. Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne  Kyne, Seán.
Information on Anthony Lawlor  Zoom on Anthony Lawlor  Lawlor, Anthony. Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on John Lyons  Zoom on John Lyons  Lyons, John. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Tony McLoughlin  Zoom on Tony McLoughlin  McLoughlin, Tony. Information on Michael McNamara  Zoom on Michael McNamara  McNamara, Michael.
Information on Eamonn Maloney  Zoom on Eamonn Maloney  Maloney, Eamonn. Information on Peter Mathews  Zoom on Peter Mathews  Mathews, Peter.
Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia. Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
Information on Michelle Mulherin  Zoom on Michelle Mulherin  Mulherin, Michelle. Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  Murphy, Dara.
Information on Eoghan Murphy  Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  Murphy, Eoghan. Information on Gerald Nash  Zoom on Gerald Nash  Nash, Gerald.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Derek Nolan  Zoom on Derek Nolan  Nolan, Derek. Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran. Information on Patrick O'Donovan  Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Patrick.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on Ann Phelan  Zoom on Ann Phelan  Phelan, Ann. Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Ryan, Brendan.
Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Sean. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Arthur Spring  Zoom on Arthur Spring  Spring, Arthur. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.
Information on Brian Walsh  Zoom on Brian Walsh  Walsh, Brian.  


Níl
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  Collins, Joan.
Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Colreavy, Michael. Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán.
Information on Clare Daly  Zoom on Clare Daly  Daly, Clare. Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  Doherty, Pearse.
Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Donnelly, Stephen S. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  Ellis, Dessie. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan  Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan  Flanagan, Luke ‘Ming’. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Sean.
Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel. Information on John Halligan  Zoom on John Halligan  Halligan, John.
Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus. Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe.
Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
Information on Charlie McConalogue  Zoom on Charlie McConalogue  McConalogue, Charlie. Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  McDonald, Mary Lou.
Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian. Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie.
Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael. Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John.
Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  McLellan, Sandra. Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál.
Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  O’Brien, Jonathan.
Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen. Information on Thomas Pringle  Zoom on Thomas Pringle  Pringle, Thomas.
Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Ross, Shane. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Dara Calleary.

Question declared carried.


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