MINISTER FOR SOCIAL PROTECTION has said that a ‘yes’ vote in the Fiscal Treaty referendum can act as a “vote of confidence in the Irish economy”.
Opponents of the referendum say a ‘yes’ vote could lead to great austerity, the minister said on RTÉ’s Saturday with Charlie Bird, adding that her fear is that a ‘no’ vote could lead to further austerity “because we would lack certainty of funding”.
Burton said she had lived in countries whose currencies collapsed when she lived in Africa: “Anyone here is playing with fire when they suggest that we might exit the euro or that the euro should be put in peril… I wouldn’t recommend it, no more than people would recommend violence in a country following what happened in this country.”
She also said that when countries leave structural adjustment programmes like Ireland’s “they generally have to have a structured exit”.
The ESM “is absolutely essential for us to have an orderly structured exit from the bailout,” Burton added.
TD Richard Boyd Barrett of the United Left Alliance accused the minister of “butchering public spending” and of “bullying, hectering” during the radio debate.
Boyd Barrett said that the new French president Francois Hollande is refusing to ratify the treaty “because he understands it is a recipe for austerity”.
“Similarly, Greece is a country that has ratified the treaty. Has it helped Greece? Not at all,” he added.
“This isn’t about housekeeping; this is about an economy and a society,” he said. “It is not a household budget and it’s a ridiculous analogy, quite frankly.”
Boyd Barrett said the referendum “is our chance to say that we’ve had enough bullying, we’ve had enough austerity, we want an alternative path which puts jobs, economic growth and fairness at the heart of how we deal with the current economic crisis”.