Shaky start to no campaign as Sinn Féin quote economists in yes camp

Sinn Féin’s campaign against the EU treaty got off to a shaky start after the party used quotes from three economists to back their stance — even though the trio favour a yes vote.

Fine Gael seized on the document, claiming it had exposed a “black hole” in Sinn Féin’s argument.

One of the economists, UCD’s Karl Whelan, expressed bemusement at his inclusion on 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.’”

Of the two other economists, Colm McCarthy, favours a yes vote and UCC’s Seamus Coffey has stated there is little to be gained by voting no.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams insisted the party had not weakened its argument by quoting the experts, as it was their views on the actual effectiveness and framework of the treaty that mattered most.

Mr Adams warned that the Government was misleading voters over the May 31 referendum, claiming Fine Gael and Labour were abusing their power by sending information on the poll to every home in the country, as this literature would push a pro-yes agenda at the taxpayers’ expense.

Mr Adams said the Government’s claims that the country would be cut off from future bailout funds if it voted no were “bogus”.

Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald questioned if EU partners would let Ireland be shut out of future bailouts, as this would not be in their economic and banking interests.

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