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30 April 2012 Edition

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We can’t afford the EU Austerity Treaty – Vote NO on May 31

The right-wing thinking behind the EU Austerity Treaty has everything to do with these issues and, on May 31, people should vote NO.

THE MEDIA, Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil are wrong when they say that the EU Austerity Treaty has nothing to do with the crippling burden of the daily cost of living, mortgages, job losses, cuts, the Household Charge, new water charges and stealth taxes.

The right-wing thinking behind the EU Austerity Treaty has everything to do with these issues and, on May 31, people should vote NO.

The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union executive is recommending its 40,000 members to vote NO.

After the Mandate trade union (another of the country’s biggest unions) announced at its annual conference that it is advising its 45,000 members to vote NO, General Secretary John Douglas was asked by RTÉ if their opposition is based on ideology. Fine Gael EU Minister Lucinda Creighton wasn’t challenged by RTÉ if she is ideologically wedded to the treaty. Lucinda got a pass despite the mantra of Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil — and Bertie Ahern — that the raft of cuts, new taxes and austerity being ‘necessary’ to keep the European Central Bank, the IMF and the EU happy.

The ‘Axis of Austerity’ that is Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil, the European Central Bank and the IMF are seldom (if ever) challenged about their approach being driven by the same conservative financial ideology that plunged all of us into this sorry mess.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions leader David Begg has urged a Yes vote because there’s “a gun pointed at our heads” with the threat (an empty threat, says Gerry Adams) that funding from the European Stability Mechanism may be jeopardised should the Irish people have the audacity to express their democratic right to say NO.

That is not leading — that is capitulating. That is giving up without a fight.

In this month of May, when Irish people mark May Day, the mighty struggle of the 1913 Lock-Out and recall the heroic sacrifices of the leaders executed after the 1916 Easter Rising, Irish workers — outside and inside the home — can fairly ask: what would Jim Larkin or James Connolly and the Citizen Army expect of our trade union leaders today?

If this treaty is passed, it surrenders much of what is left of Irish sovereignty. It would be almost impossible to reverse because the power would lie not in the hands of the Irish people but in the hands of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in the EU and the leaders of all the other EU states. They would dictate the agenda — in their interests, not ours.

May 31 gives people the chance to say yes to a different way, a better way.

Be positive for Ireland, our future and future generations.

  • NO to austerity
  • NO to cuts
  • NO to the Household Charge
  • NO to water rates
  • NO to stealth taxes
  • NO to the EU Fiscal Austerity Treaty
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