THE MINISTER FOR FINANCE has warned that next year’s Budget will be “dramatically more difficult” if Ireland votes No in the referendum on the fiscal compact.
Speaking on his way to this morning’s Cabinet meeting, Michael Noonan said rejection of the treaty would result in Ireland being barred from accessing most backup forms of funding.
“It’s very clear on this treaty that only those countries who ratify it will have access to ESM funds, and there are no other funds,” Noonan said in remarks broadcast by RTÉ News.
If there’s a No vote, the Budget I’ll be planning for later in the year will be dramatically more difficult than if there’s a Yes vote.
The minister added that people should not vote No thinking that doing so would avoid further spending tax cuts and spending increases, when in fact “a No vote will do the opposite”.
The remarks were attacked by opposition parties, with Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald accusing Noonan of threatening voters.
“This is an outrageous comment for the minister to make,” McDonald said.
The Government has repeatedly said that the Austerity Treaty would have no impact on the Irish economy until after we exit the current Troika austerity programme in 2015, yet this morning the Minister for Finance said he would make December’s Budget ‘dramatically more difficult’.
McDonald accused Noonan of displaying “cheek” to the public give the impact of the current government’s policies to date.
“People should not be bullied by the Government. They should assess the Austerity Treaty on its content and implications for Ireland, and on May 31st vote accordingly.”
Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath said the comments were “unhelpful” to the Yes campaign, saying the Irish public were already fully aware of how the Budget deficit needed to be closed.
“There is nothing positive to be gained in trying to frighten people into a Yes vote. The Minister and his Government colleagues would be far better employed selling the merits of the Treaty to people rather than playing on their fears,” McGrath said, adding:
The people will not be endeared to the Yes side by comments such as those from Minister Noonan today.
Translated: The Fiscal Compact rewritten in layman’s terms