Rebel Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív will not actively campaign against the European fiscal treaty, it emerged today.
Party leader Micheál Martin confirmed the former deputy leader will not face further discipline for breaking party ranks after indicating he will not canvass or debate for a No vote in the referendum.
Launching Fianna Fáil’s Yes campaign, Mr Martin insisted his party remained united despite the internal wranglings.
“I do not need to assert my authority any further within Fianna Fáil, I’ve already done that,” he said.
“Éamon Ó Cuív, because of his views, has lost his deputy leadership of the party and has lost his position on the front bench. My authority now will rest on the force of argument.”
Mr O Cuív – grandson of party founder Eamon de Valera – previously claimed he would call on voters to reject the treaty on polling day, May 31.
He had described the European deal agreed by the Government, and supported by Fianna Fáil, as very bad for Ireland and insisted he could not campaign for a Yes vote.
But Mr Martin said: “Éamon has indicated he’s not campaigning against this treaty and he is not joining the No campaign”, including taking part in media debates specifically on the treaty.
He maintained that the dispute with Mr O Cuív reflected the reality in households across Ireland.
“I am going to campaign and win this debate with others on the force of argument. On the merits of this treaty,” he continued.
“Yes, Eamon O Cuív has a different perspective. He has articulated that different perspective. There’s no point in denying that. It’s not news, it’s not something new.
“And I think it reflects reality.
“There’s not a family in Ireland that doesn’t have different perspective on this treaty.”
Mr Martin insisted the referendum also had nothing with daily politics but was needed for stability, certainty and would ensure Ireland has access to the cheapest and most secure funding for public services.
“It’s about the future of our country not about support for any party,” he said.
Meanwhile, the independent Referendum Commission confirmed the treaty states that “one source of funding” which Ireland is currently availing of will not be available in the event of a No vote.
Judge Kevin Feeny, chairman, said while Ireland was being asked to vote on the treaty being put before them, it could be refined, altered or amended by EU leaders in the future.
He said the treaty was about strengthening the rules designed to make governments balance between their income and spending and would apply in three main areas.
Under the Treaty:
:: The existing rule that government debt is no more than 60% of GDP is restated;
:: The existing rule that the general government deficit must be no more than 3% of GDP is restated;
:: A new rule that a country’s “structural debt” be no more than 0.5% of GDP is introduced and this rule must be put in to national law.
The commission launched a €2.2m public information campaign, which will include leaflets explaining the referendum to two million household across the country.