In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD for the People Before Profit Alliance and Finance spokesperson for the United Left Alliance, has warned that the Fiscal Treaty, if implemented, will give greater powers to the EU and ECB over Ireland’s budgetary allocation and make it much more difficult for any Irish government to choose where to allocate funds on public expenditure. He explained that by enshrining an economic rule into the Constitution the government will not be able to act appropriately during times of economic crisis which require policy flexibility. Furthermore, recent studies which have confirmed that poverty worsened in Ireland since the recession began and since austerity measures affected the poorest, prove that further austerity will make matters worse.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Although it seems as though there are many different issues on the political agenda during this period, they are all part of a grand scheme to rid the government of its responsibility to the average citizen, placing it instead at the behest of the markets. It is incumbent on the media to portray the reality of how all the issues are tied up together before the Fiscal Treaty referendum takes place.”
“The Fiscal Treaty, arrogantly put forth by the EU leadership, without their ever examining their own culpability in our crisis, is designed to restrict our public expenditure in such a way as to make government as we now know it redundant. Future governments will not have the flexibility to attend to the country’s needs through public expenditure where and when it is needed”
“In the same way that the Eurozone brought together countries of very different strengths and deprived them of financial instruments – such as the control of interest rates – to manage the specifics of national economies, this Treaty will indiscriminately dictate debt thresholds for all countries.”
“Article 4 of the treaty states that where general government debt exceeds 60 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product the excess must be reduced by one twentieth a year. The government will slash annual spending by 5 per cent until they reach this threshold; in other words we will face years of aggressive austerity.”
“Out of the €1.8 billion in cuts brought forth by the government last December, €811 million of those cuts were visited on the poor. We saw cuts on fuel allowance, single parents’ allowance and domiciliary care allowance, while regressive taxes like the VAT increase and the Universal Social Charge further chipped away at people’s disposable income.”
“Recent reports from Social Justice Ireland and the Department of Health echoed each other with one showing that one sixth of the population is living below the poverty line and the other demonstrating that one fifth of children in the state go to bed hungry. The Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway found the number of children going to school or to bed hungry has increased to 21 per cent compared to 17 per cent in 2006.”
“Clearly poverty has increased along with the deepening of the recession. Austerity measures have worsened the burden on households and simultaneously stifled growth in the economy. The Treaty, if implemented, will allow this government and future governments to continue with austerity measures in order to abide by the arbitrary fiscal rules that the treaty demands.”
“It is vital that people look beyond party politics and get to grips with exactly what this Fiscal Treaty would do if implemented.”
“The vicious cuts on lone parents, children with autism, carer’s and the unemployed are guaranteed to get worse and will deepen poverty in Irish society if this treaty is passed and further cuts are imposed”.