Irish Times: Thursday, September 10, 2009
Voting No in the Lisbon referendum is a “valid way” of driving the Government from office, an anti-treaty group has claimed. The voteno.ie group said today there was ground swell of public anger at the Government’s economic strategy which was “translating into a No vote”.
It said many people saw voting No as a way to remove the Government from office. This sentiment was valid as the Government’s economic policies were being underwritten by the EU Commission, the group claimed.
Kieran Allen of the Socialist Workers Party, who manages the voteno.ie website, said: “Each of the bank bailouts that have occurred has received the express permission of the EU Commission.”
Mr Allen said: “This same body prohibits the Irish State providing aid to save jobs – but it gives full support to bank bailouts. The Lisbon Treaty gives the EU Commission greater oversight role on state budgets – and this is reason enough to vote No.”
He said the programme of cutbacks, which the Government will introduce after the Lisbon vote, was also designed to reach the limits set out in EU’s Growth and Stability Pact.
“The Government should not be constrained by such neoliberal measures when they involve great hardship for the people,” Mr Allen said
A spokesman for the European Commission representation in Ireland described Mr Allen’s remarks as “simplistic”.
He said there has been a policy of disincentivising state aid across the EU as it distorts fair competition, often to the detriment of small economies like Ireland. Nevertheless he stated that the Commission had been working with individual governments to put in place measures to help sustain and protect industry which had been adversely hit by the credit crunch. The provisions contained in the EU’s stability pact were in place to avoid the very serious repercussions of over borrowing such as inflation, he further stated.
Launching his group’s Lisbon campaign today, Mr Allen claimed the Government had lost “the consent of the governed” and had received no mandate at an election for its programme of bank bailouts and cutbacks.
Mr Allen said a canvass by supporters of the voteno.ie campaign in North Dublin last night found that in certain areas the sentiment for No was stronger than last time.