THE CHAIRMAN OF the Referendum Commission has responded to a complaint about its booklet for the upcoming Fiscal Compact referendum this evening, confirming that the European Security Mechanism (ESM) is “not the subject” of the upcoming vote.
In a letter by Socialist MEP Paul Murphy released this evening, Kevnin Feeney said today that the Commission “did not seek to prejudge any future political decisions” by information contained in the guide.
Feeney was responding to a formal complaint made by Murphy to the Referendum Commission over claims in its referendum guide about Ireland’s access to European Stability Mechanism funding if Ireland votes No. Murphy said the Commission’s booklet gave the impression that if Ireland were to vote No to the treaty, any future bailouts cannot include funding from the ESM.
One part the booklet read: “from March 1st 2013, any future bail-out involving the use of funds from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), will be given only to countries which have ratified and implemented this Treaty.”
Feeney wrote that “the section on the ‘Effect of Treaty on financial assistance/bail-out mechanisms’ describes what the Treaty states on the subject of access to the ESM,” adding:
The Referendum Commission has no role in explaining the ESM Treaty (as it is not before the people in a referendum) other than in the context of its interaction with the Fiscal Stability Treaty.
However, in order to avoid any possible public confusion between the various Treaties, it did want to make clear that the ESM is not the subject of this referendum. The text makes it clear that the ESM Treaty is not yet in place as it states that “The ESM is the permanent EU bail-out mechanism which is expected to be established by July 2012.
Feeney repeated a statement made at a press conference, held yesterday, in which he explained that Ireland” could have vetoed the amendment to Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU but did not do so” and that this amendment could come into effect only if it was ratified by both the Dáil and Seanad.
Read the Revenue Commissioner’s full letter>