Deficit will fall if bank debts are not paid: ULA

Anti-treaty campaigners accused the yes side of using empty threats and false promises and called on the electorate to pass a damning verdict on “austerity politics” in tomorrow’s EU treaty vote.

Members of the United Left Alliance also claimed Ireland would have enough incoming cash to survive without access to further bailout funds in 2014 if the Sate refuses to pay banking debts.

The ULA argued the country’s deficit will fall to €3.1bn next year if bank debts are not paid.

Richard Boyd Barrett, ULA finance spokesman, said the Government’s own deficit figure of €18bn includes re-payment of bank debt and other interest debt.

“Obviously, if the EU cut off funding to us we would not be making those re-payments and the actual gap between income and expenditure would then only be €3.1bn,” he said.

“This is a gap that could easily be filled and more by increasing income tax on those earning over €150,000 per year and by imposing a modest wealth tax on the wealth and assets of the wealthiest 5% of the population.”

Mr Boyd Barrett claimed that the EU bailout programme showed that Ireland could survive with incoming taxes when the fund ends next year.

“We will have a primary budget surplus in 2014. When you take out the interest on the [banking] debt, we will have more money in this State than is being spent. So the threat of us running out of money is completely bogus.”

New capital taxes could also target up to €32bn in uninvested funds here which could then be used to create jobs, the ULA said. A new capital tax could raise funds by targetting billionaires and millionaires here, it added.

MEP Paul Murphy said: “People should not vote based on fear. People should not be bullied to vote yes for this treaty. They are free because the gun to the head is not loaded. People are free to pass a verdict on austerity. They should pass a damning verdict on failed austerity politics.”

People Before Profit TD Joan Collins said families had been split “like a civil war” by debate on the treaty. She called on voters to reject the referendum.

Mr Boyd Barrett also rejected recent criticism by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that protestors had obstructed him at launches.

“Enda Kenny has a cheek after telling a man who worked for 30 years, contributing to our society, and he’s lost his job as a result of austerity policies, that he looks like a man who could do with a day’s work... People have a right to protest.”


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