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Fianna Fáil likely to back 'Yes' vote in any EU referendum - Martin

The party leader said: “We have never voted against a European treaty and I don’t believe we will start with this one.”

Martin speaking at the IIEA today
Martin speaking at the IIEA today
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has suggested that his party is likely to support a ‘Yes’ vote in any referendum on the new EU treaty.

Martin said the treaty was “part of the required agenda” to help the eurozone escape its debt crisis, and it was also important for Ireland’s own recovery. “The relationship between Ireland and the European Union has never before been so vital,” he said.

Speaking at the Institute for International and European Affairs in Dublin, he said:

In principle we are positive to the Treaty and will support it subject to receiving a proper response to our reasonable queries about its impact.  Unlike some in the Cabinet, we have never voted against a European Treaty and I don’t believe we will start with this one.

However, Martin said the treaty does not go far enough in its reforms. He said measures agreed “have not addressed the fundamental causes of the crisis”, and warned the debt uncertainty could continue if no “more radical action” was taken.

“Central to this is a significant expansion of key federal powers,” he said.

He called for the ECB to be given a broader mandate beyond its current role in inflation control, and should become a ‘lender of last resort’ able to step in and buy government bonds directly.

The ECB should also take over financial regulation from national central banks, Martin said, adding that its financial firepower should be increased to deal with any future problems.

The Fianna Fáil leader also rejected the notion of tax harmonisation, suggesting that France and Germany had “use[d] the crisis to push long-standing national obsessions” about other countries’ tax regimes.

He said Ireland’s corporation tax rate is “completely irrelevant to any problem facing the citizens of Europe at this time.  It had nothing to do with the crisis and has nothing to do with solving it.”

More: Micheál Martin calls for clarification on EU treaty>

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Michael Freeman

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