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Green Party calls for EU referendum and will campaign for 'Yes' vote

Former government minister Eamonn Ryan also criticised the government’s action plan for jobs and called for a new green investment plan.

Eamon Ryan was elected the new leader of the Green Party last May.
Eamon Ryan was elected the new leader of the Green Party last May.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE GREEN PARTY has said that there should be a referendum on the proposed EU fiscal compact and has said that it will campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote if there is to be a plebiscite.

The party’s announcement echoes that of their former coalition government partner Fianna Fáil which last week outlined its position in relation to the new EU treaty which proposes to tighten fiscal rules among the majority of EU nations in order to avoid a repeat of the current crisis.

Party leader Eamon Ryan said that while there were “weaknesses” in the fiscal compact, a refusal to accept it would not help Ireland’s situation.

“If the Government does decide to put the issue to the people, then I will be recommending that our party takes an active role in supporting a yes vote,” he said.

“Even if the balance of their legal advice is not to call a referendum I think the Government should put the issue to the people so we can establish greater public confidence in the approach we are taking.”

Ryan, the former communications minister, said he believes the Irish people would vote yes in any referendum.

He also said the Greek parliament’s vote in favour of austerity measures in a bid to secure a second bailout last night would give Ireland an opportunity to renegotiate a deal on the Anglo Irish promissory notes.

The IOUs require the country to pay over €3 billion annually to the now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank but the government hopes to secure a deal that would spread out repayments over a longer period and lessen the debt burden on the State.

“The vote of the Greek Parliament last night may provide a short period of relative calm in the economic crisis,” Ryan said.

“We should use this time to get a resolution of our own Promissory Note debt issues and agree a Green investment plan that will counter-balance the contraction that will come from further budget cuts.”

He added that the government’s jobs plan, announced today, failed “miserably” to set out what he called “an alternative economic vision”.

“The big plans for New Era, for a Strategic Investment Bank and for a new Green economy all appear to be dead in the water. We need to accept the Fiscal Compact and then move onto the bigger deal of creating a more sustainable green economy,” Ryan added.

Read: Fianna Fáil likely to back ‘Yes’ vote in any EU referendum – Martin

Read: Taoiseach: Bailout funds are not dependent on fiscal compact

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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