Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ireland to hold
Referendum on EU
Austerity Treaty :


For the third time in four years the Irish people will vote in a Referendum on a EU Treaty. the Irish Government announced the holding of the referendum in parliament yesterday following a Cabinet meeting where the State's Attorney General, Ms Mary Whelan, S.C., advised that a referendum would be required as the treaty did not have the authority of Article 29 of the Irish Constitution which covered previous EU treaties approved by the people.

For months now the Government has pussy-footed around the issue of whether a referendum would be required and has been making desperate efforts to collude with Brussels Eurocrats to manipulate the wording of the Treaty in order to avoid holding such a referendum in the middle of the worst financial crisis in the history of the Irish state.

Following the announcement, NO campaigners declared the start of their opposition to this further tightening of the austerity programmes being imposed on the Irish people since 2009 and which led to the downfall of the previous ruling party Fianna Fáil in the 2011 General election. The NO Campaign issued the following statement:


PRESS RELEASE – Wednesday February 29th 2012-02-28 Dublin, Ireland.

The economy of our country is going through a most severe recession, as the numbers of citizens unable to pay their mortgages and even cover their electricity bills grow daily, as unemployment continues to remain at 450,000 and many people are forced to search for work abroad. In the midst of this crisis, citizens have to deal with issues such as health cuts, education cuts, increased household taxes, lower incomes and even septic tanks. The reason there is such a massive funding crisis in this State, with the combined debt in the hundreds of billions, is precisely because of the activities of speculators and banks and the reason we have a regime of cutbacks is because of the austerity being imposed to rescue their financial markets system from its  self–generated crisis.

In the midst of all this deluge, the Fine Gael / Labour Party Government is considering signing a new Treaty requiring tougher deficit and debt rules, greater powers for the EU Commission and the European Court of Justice and arrangements that will mean austerity budgets and impossible targets for the foreseeable future. The Treaty states that these arrangements would be binding, permanent and preferably constitutional. The word preferably was inserted to enable the Government to avoid a referendum which they are likely to lose in the present climate as a Red C Opinion Poll published a couple of weeks ago showed 72% in favour of a referendum.

This Government has been hiding behind the referral of the agreement to the Attorney General, attempting to give the impression that the final decision rests with her office and that an opinion by her that a referendum wasn’t required by the Constitution, would be the end of the matter. This is false. The Attorney General only advises, it is the government that is supposed to decide. The charade has now ended with the Attorney General’s announcement today.

To counter this undemocratic situation, several  political organisations and individuals have organised a Campaign against this Permanent Austerity Treaty; The United Left Alliance, the Socialist Party,
 the Socialist Workers Party, the Communist Party, the Peoples Movement, the Workers Party, Éirígí, PANA-Peace and Neutrality Alliance and the Irish Anti War Movement have all affiliated to the Campaign Against the Austerity Treaty.

The first Public Meeting of the Campaign will take place on Monday, March 5th, at 19.30 hours in Liberty Hall, Dublin.

Speakers will include Soren Sondergaard a Danish MEP from the Danish Peoples Movement, our MEP Paul Murphy, Richard Boyd Barrett TD and Jimmy Kelly, National Secretary of the UNITE Trade Union".

PANA- Peace and Neutrality Alliance issued the following statement:


                      PRESS RELEASE 28/2/2012

                    Perpetual Austerity; Perpetual War;

The Peace and Neutrality Alliance welcomes the decision of the government to hold a referendum on the EU Austerity Treaty, even though they did everything to avoid asking the people what they thought of the treaty.

Since 1996 PANA has campaigned in favour of Irish Independence, democracy and neutrality and against the political elite that supported the destruction of our independence, democracy and neutrality and the integration of Ireland into an emerging EU Superstate which was committed to a neo-liberal militarist ideology and which offers nothing but perpetual war and now perpetual austerity. The drive for oil sanctions against Iran, the closure of the Irish embassy in Iran, are a key part in the drive to perpetual war, and the new EU "Fiscal Treaty" is the road to perpetual austerity. They are opposite sides of the same coin.

PANA advocates a Partnership Europe, A Europe of Solidarity, a Europe without a military dimension, a Europe that rejects it's imperial past.

PANA will campaign for a Europe of Solidarity and sees this referendum, not as an Irish Battle, but a European Battle fought on Irish soil.

PANA has helped to win every second referendum on the emerging EU Empire and are confident with the help of our allies in Europe that we will achieve a major victory for peace and social justice in Ireland and Europe by ensuring a NO vote.

The  NO Campaign Platform was also published today :



No to Austerity Europe – No to the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance-The Permanent Austerity Treaty!

The proposed new Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union – in reality a permanent Austerity Treaty – is an undemocratic attempt to institutionalize austerity across Europe. Its 'Fiscal Compact' would deny the right of Member State governments to run a 'structural' budget deficit of more than 0.5%. This would remove the democratic right of national parliaments to decide national budgets, with that power shifting to the unelected European Commission and European Court of Justice. This would be a fundamental transfer of power away from elected governments. We demand a referendum on any such proposition; and we call for a 'No' vote in that referendum.

The demand for “balanced budgets”, and fines of hundreds of millions of euro for countries which breach EU targets, is an attempt to impose austerity regardless of what government is elected or what mass movements against austerity develop. This attack on democratic rights is part of the same process that has seen elected governments in Greece and Italy replaced by ex-bankers, who represent the interests of the powerful and wealthy.

The proposed Austerity Treaty will not revive the economy or reduce unemployment. It would result in a Europe where millions are out of work for years; where welfare and other benefits are driven down; where education, health and other essential services are cut. It would exacerbate the differences between rich and poor, and between the wealthy core and indebted peripheral countries - shifting the burden of the crisis onto ordinary people.

The proposed Austerity Treaty is a means to compel governments to reduce public spending so as to pay public debt. But public debt has grown because banks have been given €billions to stop them collapsing or because the rich paid little or no tax – not because of excessive spending on public services. Yet the banks and financial markets now insist that governments must become more “credit-worthy”: spending cuts are demanded - to ensure that the state can pay debts that were taken on to bail out the banks in the first place.

Cutting public spending on health, education and welfare will only make the current crisis worse. The economy is in recession, yet €billions of accumulated profits are not being invested productively. Instead, money has gone into financial speculation, which is at the root of the financial crisis and has fuelled the growth of huge debt on the part of households, businesses and states.

In the past, recession and a refusal to invest profits were addressed by state investment in public works. But the Austerity Treaty would prevent states from running deficits to fund public works; it would further reduce economic demand and risks turning this recession into a long-term depression.

The decision on the Austerity Treaty is about the kind of Europe we want: a Europe for the millions or for the millionaires. The real issue in a referendum will not be the euro or membership of the EU. It will be a choice between accepting an EU Austerity Union, with protection for the wealthy and poverty for ordinary people; or struggling with others across Europe for a People’s Europe, where the priorities are democracy and equality, full employment, social protection and sustainable development.

We call for a 'NO' vote in the referendum announced
Today, 28 February 2012, by the Irish government:

As an alternative to the Austerity Treaty, we call for:

Democratic control of decision-making at national and European levels – especially of economic decisions.
The bailed-out banks to be put under public, democratic control – to serve interests of the majority rather than the super-rich minority;

An end to cuts in education, health, social services and welfare benefits; and that cuts made since 2008 and those imposed under the EU-IMF deal be reversed;

The EU and its member states to immediately prioritize both national and trans-European programs of public works to provide employment and sustainable development.


Baile Átha Cliath/Dublin
29 Feabhra/February 2012

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