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‘We’re selling our souls here’ – Fine Gael mayor to vote No

Jim Keogh says that a failure by the government to get a deal on the bank debt has led him to decide to vote against the wishes of his Fine Gael party. The party said the matter is “under review”.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Updated 3.45pm

THE MAYOR OF Longford Town, Jim Keogh, has decided to go against his party and vote No in the Fiscal Compact referendum later this month.

Keogh, a Fine Gael town councillor for the past eight years, has said he does not see any effort being made by the government to get a write down on the bank debt, citing that as one of the main reasons he is going against his party.

“There’s a feeling that we’re selling our souls here without any serious negotiation about where we’re going,” he told TheJournal.ie today.

“We’re still going to have this debt and we’ll be have to go by the budgets that are struck in Europe for us. They are not taking into consideration the young people out of work and leaving the country. They’ll end up carrying this debt for centuries.”

Asked if Fine Gael would be taking any action against the councillor, a party spokesperson said this afternoon that “the matter is under review”.

Keogh described his choice as a “tough decision” but said that that one of his primary concerns was that no thought was been given to young people who are leaving he country.

“The amount of young people I ‘ve seen here over the last three years going abroad, some simply because they’re not going to stay back here and pay for the mistakes that we’ve made. It’s just a mass exodus and they’re not coming back.”

No action from Fine Gael

Keogh, a publican who worked in Germany for three-and-half-years, said that he does not believe the Germans would stand for such austerity as is being experienced here and sounded a warning about the emergence of the socialists in Europe.

“We’re going to be dragged into that sort of scenario,” he said of the recent French election, won by Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande.

Keogh said that he would not be actively canvassing for people to vote No but said that he’s made it clear where he stands on the issue.

The councillor said he had not given any thought to leaving the party given his disagreements with it and said that he had not been contacted by the party’s leadership.

His town council party colleague, Peggy Nolan, said that while she did not agree with Keogh’s stance and would be voting yes, she respected his decision.

“He is entitled to his opinion. I respect that the man has a mind of his own and he is entitled to have his own belief. If we all marched to the beat of one drum, we’d be living in a very stale society,” she told TheJournal.ie.

Translated: The Fiscal Compact rewritten in layman’s terms

Get out the vote: Final day to register to vote in referendum

Column: Nick Leeson – My heart says ‘No’, but my head says ‘Yes’

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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