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Launch of People Before Profit Alliance ‘No to the EU Austerity Treaty’ Campaign

Wed, 02/05

The People Before Profit Alliance today launched its campaign against the Fiscal Treaty and outlined its plan to challenge the arguments being put forward by the Government and others on the Yes side. Speaking at the launch were Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Joan Collins TD, Cllr Pat Dunne, Cllr Melisa Halpin and Ailbhe Smyth (Chair, People Before Profit Alliance). People Before Profit condemns the bullying tactics of the government and in particular Michael Noonan’s threats to impose further austerity in the event of a No vote and the alliance today called on the government to debate the real contents of the treaty rather than using scare tactics. The reality is that signing up to this Treaty would mean signing up to billions in further cuts. The central slogan of the campaign is Bailout People not Banks.

In his statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD said,”The government is trying to frighten the people with talk of the dire consequences which will follow a No vote. The latest disgraceful example is Michael Noonan’s threat to impose further austerity” ‘This is a smokescreen to avoid discussing the actual content of the Treaty” ‘If passed, the Fiscal Treaty will lead to fines being imposed on Ireland, should it fail to meet artificial targets set by the EU. These fines could amount to €160 million and would cause further hardship. ‘The Treaty also gives the EU Commission greater powers to lay down guidelines on the type of ‘corrective action’ that Ireland would have to take. ‘The track record of the EU Commission and the ECB is already plain to see. ‘They have pressed Ireland to bail out banks in order to help shore up the European banking system. They have also insisted that we pay property charges and water charges’ ‘Why should we vote Yes to give more powers to an unelected agency that does not have our interests at heart?’

Joan Collins TD said,“Austerity is not working. €25 billion has been taken out of the Irish economy through cuts and tax increases. At the time of the Lisbon II vote in 2009 we were told vote ‘Yes’ for jobs – but there are now 120,000 fewer people in work. It’s no wonder the state will need another bailout in the coming years. Money is available for another bailout under the existing program – the statement of the European Council of January 30 makes that clear. We reject the blackmail threats of the government and its supporters.” “The Austerity Treaty would turn this recession into an economic depression. It would bring at least €5.7 billion additional cuts and taxes from 2015, on top of the €8.6 billion austerity up til then. And for what? To ensure that the banks and bondholders are paid in full. The household tax is part of this austerity program. It’s effectively a bank-bailout tax. I call on all who oppose continued cuts, and taxes such as the home and water taxes, to vote against the austerity treaty.” “A no vote in Ireland is a vote for hope, a vote for change.” “It is a vote to join the movement in opposition to austerity across Europe – in France, Spain and Greece. A no vote is the beginning of an alternative that puts people before the profits of banks and bondholders.”
Ailbhe Smith, Chairperson of People Before Profit, said today, “People in Ireland are already suffering enormous hardship due to austerity and cuts. Vulnerable communities have been disproportionately affected with women and children bearing the brunt of the cuts. Poverty, in particular child poverty, is growing and it is vitally important to Vote No to this austerity treaty “.
Cllr. Melisa Halpin, Dun Laoghaire: “For many the idea of balancing a budget seems sensible but the point is that countries are not like individuals. The way to exit out of an economic crisis is to invest in jobs which in turn will create more jobs, create more revenue. When we call for a No we call for state investment in schools, hospitals, housing and jobs to get us out of this crisis.”

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