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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019

Kenny: SF's 'No' vote would be a 'lethal injection' to economy

Enda Kenny takes aim at opponents to the Fiscal Compact and their proposals for enforcing a balanced Budget.

Updated, 19.19

ENDA KENNY has accused Sinn Féin of advancing referendum arguments which would deliver a “lethal injection” to the Irish economy.

The Taoiseach also told the Dáil that opposition plans to follow a No vote with harsh one-off Budget adjustments – of up to €10 billion in the case of some Treaty opponents – amounted to “fantasy economics”.

He was responding to charges from Gerry Adams asking him to concede that the austerity required by approving the Fiscal Compact referendum “doesn’t work”.

“If you think you can come in here, the day before Europe Day, with your fantasy economics – and say you’d ask the Irish people to close the deficit of €10bn in one fell swoop – you’d deliver a lethal injection to the Irish economy,” the Taoiseach said.

Kenny added that while “austerity is not the answer to deal with the future”, the Fiscal Compact treaty was both “preventative and corrective”.

Adams said Kenny’s answer was “disingenuous” and pointed to remarks from ECB president Mario Draghi, who said last week that the compact would require governments to “accept the delegation of fiscal sovereignty to a central authority”.

“Why do you support the abandonment of economic sovereignty?” Adams inquired.

Kenny said it was “very necessary for this country to put its own house in order” and that this would be assisted by a Yes vote, which would help to confirm rising consumer and investor confidence.

Earlier, Micheál Martin had encouraged Kenny to pursue concrete suggestions to promote EU-wide economic growth at the meeting of the European Council in two weeks’ time, for measures “over and above the fiscal treaty”.

Kenny said he would happily receive any suggestions from TDs on all sides of the chamber with ideas to promote growth on a continental basis.

Thomas Pringle, for the technical group, accused the government of pursuing a jobs plan centred almost exclusively on foreign investment and not on stimulating the domestic economy, a claim that Kenny dismissed.

Read: Gilmore: Ireland will hold referendum despite Hollande victory

More: Election results a ‘massive blow’ to austerity, says Sinn Féin

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Gavan Reilly

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