Dr Ed Walsh, the founding president of the University of Limerick, has hit out at leading eurosceptic MEP Nigel Farage’s use of an address he gave to promote a no vote in the fiscal treaty referendum.
In a leaflet being circulated to Irish homes, the leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, uses part of an address Dr Walsh gave in commemorating Michael Collins at Béal na mBláth last August to promote a no vote.
Dr Walsh said the extracts were used without his permission or know-ledge, and that he was voting yes in the upcoming referendum. He also hit out at Mr Farage’s “intrusive campaign” in Ireland.
“Sinn Féin adopted similar tactics when it selectively quoted three leading economists, implying they support a no vote, when in fact they do not,” said Dr Walsh.
“I wish it to be known that I do not have, nor wish to have, any association with Nigel Farage or his Independence Party. I resent his intrusive campaign in Ireland and his party’s disreputable tactics here.
“I know of no rational argument for voting no. I wish to avoid the inevitable greater austerity and the potential of dire economic and social dislocation for Ireland if the treaty is rejected. I will be voting yes.”
Dr Walsh was referring to a similar incident in April, in which Sinn Féin were found to have used quotes from three economists to back their stance — even though all three favoured a yes vote.
One of the economists, UCD’s Karl Whelan, expressed bemusement at his inclusion in the document.
“The back page contains quotes titled ‘What the Experts Said’. One of the quotes is from me: ‘...The economics of this treaty are pretty terrible...’
“Did I say that? Well, yes. I uttered those words at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs. Here’s what I said without the dots: ‘All that said, although I think the economics of this treaty are pretty terrible, on balance, the arguments favour Ireland’s signing up to it.’ ”
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams defended the use of the quotes, saying it was their views on the actual effectiveness and framework of the treaty that mattered most.
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