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Gerry Adams last night claimed Ireland could access the ESM even if it voted against the Fiscal Compact - a statement contested by FG and FF today. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Pro-Treaty parties: Adams 'misleading' public on access to ESM funds

Simon Coveney and Timmy Dooley attack Gerry Adams, saying his claims about access to the ESM are wrong.

THE POLITICAL PARTIES arguing for a Yes vote in Thursday’s referendum on the Fiscal Compact have disputed claims by the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams that Ireland would be able to access funds from the EU’s new permanent bailout fund if it voted No.

Addressing delegates at Sinn Féin’s Árd Fheis in Killarney yesterday, Adams quoted from the draft treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism, saying funding would provided where it was “indispensable to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and of its Member States”.

Adams said this clause meant that countries would still be able to access funding from the ESM, which is due to take legal effect from July, would be able to do so irrespective of whether they had first ratified the Fiscal Compact.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week programme this afternoon, Adams said the government’s insistence otherwise was “totally and absolutely unfair to citizens… the mandate of the ESM is very, very clear over whether funding would be provided.”

Adams said Referendum Commission chairman Justice Kevin Feeney had been wrong to suggest that the ESM would not allow funding to be provided to Ireland, given how any fiscal failure on Ireland’s part would be “indispensable”.

If the Eurozone was to be “contaminated by a failure of funds for Ireland, then [other European countries] will act in their own interest”, Adams said.

‘Deliberately misleading’

This afternoon Fine Gael’s director of elections Simon Coveney said Sinn Féin’s No campaign had been “based on falsehoods, deliberately misleading people as to what this treaty is already about.”

Coveney said it would be “crazy” to run the risk of excluding itself from a potential source of funding, given that the Budget for 2014 – the first full year after the current EU-IMF bailout agreement expires.

“We have an opportunity next week to vote for stablity and certainty in Ireland,” Coveney insisted, describing the Fiscal Compact as being a ”crucial point of the jigsaw for Ireland” in seeking an economic recovery.

“If anyone thinks that’s a No vote to austerity, they were misunderstanding the situation. A vote No next week will add to austerity in Ireland, because it will be more difficult to put Budgets together.”

Fianna Fáil’s director of elections Timmy Dooley also criticised Adams’ claims, saying the Sinn Féin leader had opted not to recite the very next sentence in the ESM treaty.

“The very next sentence in the Treaty says, ‘The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality’,” Dooley complained.

The next page of the ESM Treaty then sets out the strict conditions – it states that ‘the granting of financial assistance in the framework of new programmes under the ESM will be conditional, as of 1 March 2013, on the ratification of the TSCG’.

Dooley said Adams was “clearly misleading citizens and creating confusion where there doesn’t need to be”.

“If Sinn Féin was serious about letting citizens make a decision based on the simple facts, Gerry Adams would acknowledge that he’s got this wrong,” he said.

Read: Adams calls for No vote and proposes €13bn stimulus in Ard Fheis speech

More: Support for Yes side falls in one of three new referendum polls

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