There was a large turnout at a public meeting held last Friday (April 27th) in Dungloe, County Donegal, to discuss the up-coming referendum on the European Fiscal Compact Treaty, which is to be held on May 31st.
Those who gathered for the meeting in Ionad Teampaill Chróine watched a short film called ‘Crisis of Capitalism’ in which renowned academic David Harvey questioned if it was time to look beyond capitalism and and work towards living in a new system which would be responsible, just and humane.
Following the film, the audience heard guest speakers Socialist Party MEP Pól Murphy, local Independent TD Thomas Pringle and independent political activist Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig give a talk on the implications of the Dublin government signing up to the European Stability Mechanism if there was a “Yes” vote in the referendum.
Speaking at the event, Pól Murphy MEP said “If this Treaty is implemented it will turn the recession Europe is in into a deep depression. That is because of the incredible amount of austerity demanded by the targets set out in it. In Ireland, it will mean the imposition of over €5.7 billion worth of extra cuts and taxes from 2015. That is equivalent to 12 times the health cuts seen in 2012 and will further destroy our public services. Across Europe, over €166 billion of extra cuts and taxes will be demanded. That will turn Europe into an economic waste ground.”
Stating that treaty would mean the transfering of some powers to bodies in Europe, Mr Murphy continued “This Treaty represents a fundamental attack on people’s democratic rights. It attempts to turn elections into a farce, whereby we will be able to elect any government we want, as long as it is committed to austerity! It also transfers further powers to the unelected European Commission and the European Council.”
Donegal TD Thomas Pringle, who also spoke at the meeting, said there were serious questions to be asked about the legality of the treaty itself and as such he had initiated legal proceedings which would challenge the government on the treaty.
“I’ll be asking the court whether it is in breach of current EU treaty principles which are now part of our law due to the fact those principles were approved by the Irish people in previous referendums” he said.
Deputy Pringle also raised concerns regarding what the passing of the treaty could mean for Ireland saying “If this treaty is passed it could mean that Ireland could be called on by a body in Europe to make capital contributions of up to €11billion at a time of that institutions choosing and that figure could be increased if the European Stability Mechanism so decided. So basically it could direct the State to raise sovereign debt, give that money to it and then decide when, where and how it is to be spent thus leaving Ireland with no power to control decisions regarding the use of the funds it raises.”
Independent political activist Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said following the event that the turnout showed the growing concern there was among the voting public about the treaty.
“Its is clear by the turnout here tonight and from speaking to people day to day that many are very concerned about the impilcations of this treaty” Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said.
“Fine Gael, Labour and others seem very happy to hand away control of this state bit by bit to bodies in Europe in the interest of protecting the extremely wealthy, bankers and corrupt individuals who have together ruined whole economies, made countless amounts of people unemployed across Europe and brought hardship to millions.
“And it is reprehensible that they want the hardest hit in society to pay for the mistakes of an elite few by imposing austerity measures and treaties upon the people and breeding fear by saying there is no other way out.”
Calling for people to reject the treaty, Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said “I commend all who attended tonights meeting and those who contributed and helped out in any way. I would also urge people to continue to organise in their communites, hold public meetings and discuss matters such as this up-coming referendum and treaty and not let the greed of an elite few determine the destiny of the ordinary people or destroy our childrens future. We can do that by voting “NO” on May 31st.”