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EU Referendum: SF denies misrepresenting economists on No vote leaflets

Three economists who are advocating a Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum are quoted as being critical of the Fiscal Compact on a Sinn Féin leaflet that is being distributed.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and leader Gerry Adams at the launch of the party's campaign against the Fiscal Compact treaty yesterday.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and leader Gerry Adams at the launch of the party's campaign against the Fiscal Compact treaty yesterday.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

SINN FÉIN’S CAMPAIGN director has defended the party’s use of quotes from economists who have said Ireland should vote Yes in the EU Fiscal Compact on leaflets that urge voters to say No in the referendum next month.

Eoin Ó Broin has denied misrepresenting UCD economists Karl Whelan and Colm McCarthy and UCC’s Seamus Coffey who are quoted as being critical of the treaty on a leaflet that the party are distributing as part of the No campaign.

All three economists actually advocate a Yes vote but Ó Broin told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that what the three were saying was “really interesting” and that the economists “can’t find a single good thing to say about the treaty itself”.

“The fact that they’re all supporting the government’s position on the treaty yet they cannot find a single positive thing about the treaty itself in economic terms is the reason why we have it there,” he told the programme.

On the leaflet, a quote attributed to Whelan states that “… the economics of this treaty are pretty terrible …” but this was taken part of a submission to the Oireachtas EU Affairs Committee in which he said “on balance, the arguments favour Ireland’s signing up to it.”

“We don’t claim that these people are voting no. We don’t make a comment on that,” Ó Broin said.

But on the same programme the Fine Gael TD Paschal Dononhue, who took issue with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams about the leaflet during an Oireachtas hearing yesterday, said: “What Sinn Féin are doing here is they are quoting what they wish they [the economists] had said as opposed to what they actually said.”

Ó Broin claimed he could find “10 or 20 experts” who could advocate a No vote and said that Sinn Féin would be using their views in another leaflet to be distributed over the course of the campaign.

VIDEO: Gerry Adams challenged on economists’ quotes in SF leaflet

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Hugh O'Connell

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