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Gerry Adams canvassing for a No vote in Dublin city centre on Tuesday AP Photo/Peter Morrison

Column If you oppose austerity then you must vote No on Thursday

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams writes that we have a choice on Thursday: do we want austerity or growth?

They may not have met in any debates but Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams have written for about how Ireland should vote in Thursday’s referendum. Enda Kenny can be read here; and in this piece, Gerry Adams writes about why a No vote matters.

THIS THURSDAY, WE have a choice to make: do we support austerity or do we support investment in jobs and growth.

Supporters of the Treaty say that it will help stabilise the Euro and assist a return to growth. This is not true.

The Treaty seeks to impose draconian limits on government’s fiscal and budgetary policy. The consequence of this will be to force even greater levels of austerity on the Irish and Eurozone economies.

Austerity is not working. After four years of economic crisis and five austerity budgets the economy is officially back in recession. 440,000 people are signing on. 1,500 people are emigrating every single week. 115, 000 mortgage holders are in serious distress.

The Government’s policies are deepening the crisis. Families simply have nothing left to give – we have all been cut to the bone

A yes vote will mean more cuts to vital front line health, education and community services. It will mean more taxes and charges on low and middle-income families.

The Treaty is also bad for jobs, bad for small and medium sized businesses and bad for public services.

Unemployment in the Eurozone is at an all-time high. The economies of the Eurozone are back in recession. Domestic demand is in decline. Ireland and the Eurozone desperately need investment in jobs and growth.

The Austerity Treaty will do the very opposite. It will limit the ability of governments to take the kinds of measures that are required to get people back to work.

“The Treaty will undermine our economic sovereignty…”

Of course this shouldn’t surprise us. The Austerity Treaty was written by the same people who have been imposing austerity on Ireland and the European Union for the last four years.

The Treaty also seeks to give significant new powers over to the European Commission and European Court of Justice to police and enforce these failed austerity policies. If passed it will further undermine our economic sovereignty.

The European Commission will get new powers to impose detailed budgetary and fiscal prescriptions on member states deemed to be in breach of the rules. This will mean they will be able to do in the future and in perpetuity exactly what the Troika is doing today.

The Treaty also gives the European Court of Justice the power to impose fines of up to €160 million on member states deemed to be in breach of its rules.

Knowing that they would have a difficulty selling this Treaty on its own merits, the Yes campaign has been dominated by negative messages. Fine Gael and Labour are trying to bully and scare people into supporting a bad Treaty.

They are arguing that a No vote will result in the state being denied access to emergency funding in the future. This argument is false. Nobody should be in any doubt; if Ireland needs further emergency funding the European Union will provide that finance.

Sinn Féin believes that the government has misrepresented this issue. We are also concerned that the Referendum Commission has grossly misrepresented the true legal position in a manor favorable to the Government.

The Government needs to stop the scaremongering. The electorate deserves a sensible debate on the economics and the politics of this Treaty.

Sinn Féin agrees with deficit reduction. We have repeatedly set out proposals that would reduce the deficit in a fair way without further damaging the domestic economy. The Government’s policies of austerity are not working. The Austerity Treaty will further hamper economic and financial recovery.

The debate has moved on but the government hasn’t…

The reckless economic policies of Fianna Fail and their counterparts across the EU caused the economic crisis. Despite promising change Fine Gael and Labour have continued with the same failed policies of their predecessors.

For four years they have been heaping the cost of this crisis on ordinary people in the form of tax hikes and public spending cuts. The Austerity Treaty is just the latest installment of a policy that seeks to make low and middle-income earners pay the cost of the mistakes of bankers, developers and politicians.

Unemployment remains unacceptably high. Emigration continues to rise. Vital front line health, education and community services are being decimated. The household charge, septic tank charges and water charges are forcing hard pressed families into every further financial hardship

The Government is increasingly isolated at home and in Europe on this Treaty. As a result they are resorting to threats and lies in order to get people to support a Treaty which we know is bad.

Across Europe people are refusing to ratify the Treaty. The debate has moved on and yet the Government continues to act as a cheerleader for the failed austerity policies of Angela Merkel.

On the 31 May you have a choice to make. If you are opposed to the Government’s austerity policy then you must oppose the Austerity Treaty. Rejecting the Treaty will give future Governments greater ability to invest in jobs and growth. It will also send a powerful signal to this Government that the people reject their failed policies and demand a change of direction. On May 31st be positive. Vote for jobs and growth – reject the Austerity Treaty, vote no.

Column: Read why Taoiseach Enda Kenny is calling for a Yes vote >

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