Elections are ‘gamechangers’ for move from austerity, says Sinn Féin

The results of the French and Greek elections are “gamechangers” in terms of shifting EU policy away from austerity and towards growth, Sinn Féin has said.

Mary Lou McDonald, the party’s deputy leader, said it was clear that people across Europe were rejecting austerity, and Irish people would have their own opportunity to do so in the fiscal treaty referendum.

“The people of France, the people of Greece, are against the policies of austerity, and it’s now a moment for Ireland to add our voice to that, and the best way that we can do that is by delivering a resounding no vote on May 31,” she said, urging the public to “grab the opportunity”.

Claims by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore that the Government shared French president-elect François Hollande’s growth agenda were “cynical in the extreme”, said Ms McDonald.

“François Hollande is opposed to the austerity treaty in its current form. Eamon Gilmore is an enthusiastic supporter of the treaty.

“François Hollande is standing up for French interests and demanding investment in growth. Eamon Gilmore is implementing a right-wing Fine Gael agenda of cuts, tax hikes, and state asset sales.

“At the end of April there were 436,000 people signing on. Eurozone unemployment has reached an all-time high of 10.9%.

“At a time when the Irish and eurozone economies desperately need investment in jobs and growth, the Government and their EU counterparts are proposing the very opposite.

“The Tánaiste can’t have it both ways — he can’t ride two horses on this. Either you’re for the pathway of austerity and cutbacks or you’re for a change, and for growth and investment.”

She said Sinn Féin wanted to see the treaty “binned”, as the measures it contained would not foster growth.

Asked what the party would do if Mr Hollande added growth initiatives to the treaty rather than ripping it up, Ms McDonald said: “I don’t want to speculate necessarily on the specifics of what might or might not be renegotiated.

“But let me say this categorically: The treaty that is to be presented to people at the end of May is a bad deal for us and a bad deal for the whole continent. It is all about austerity and cutbacks.”


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