Eamon Gilmore yesterday denied claims a “debt brake” rule in the EU treaty would require €6bn in additional savings annually.
The Tánaiste said the savings rule in the fiscal compact treaty, requiring countries with bad debt to reduce it by one twentieth a year, would not need any cuts at all.
“It won’t cause any additional cuts. In fact, it’s a rejection of the treaty which will result in additional cuts having to be made because, if this country does not have access to emergency funding if we need it, it would result in dramatic cuts having to be made,” Mr Gilmore said.
His comments came as the referendum commission said the “one-twentieth” debt brake rule would kick in for Ireland in 2019, three years after the country exits the bailout.
Mr Gilmore also dismissed a claim by Sinn Féin that Ireland could veto the European Stability Mechanism — the future bailout fund. Such an idea was also “madness”, he said.
European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton earlier said the claim was “absolutely incorrect”.
She also claimed Sinn Féin was “doing their sums on the back of an envelope” by suggesting the treaty, if passed, would result in additional cuts of €6bn.
Meanwhile, rejection of the treaty would deliver a “fatal blow” to the coalition, said Socialist TD Clare Daly.
She claimed the rejection would give renewed impetus to those across the country campaigning against austerity and, furthermore, insisted the Government would not be able to implement its economic policies.
“Their authority would be enormously weakened if they can’t deliver a yes vote,” she said.
“The tensions that are already there between Fine Gael and Labour would be aggravated. And they would find it more difficult then to implement further unpopular moves.”
And artist Robert Ballagh said yesterday his “heart sank” when he heard there would be a referendum.
“I feared we would enter into a period when battle lines would be drawn and people would be divided into camps.”
He said the Government cannot be trusted on its promise the treaty will bring more jobs.
At the launch of his party’s poster campaign, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the yes side had developed a “recent interest” in growth and jobs.
But he claims signing up to the treaty will commit Ireland to a further €6bn in cuts between now and 2015.
“The Government is talking jobs while implementing austerity. It simply makes no sense,” he said.
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