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Democracy takes a beating as treaty debate quality suffers

Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped America through its Great Depression with friendly ‘fireside’ chats.

Sadly, Michael Noonan seems intent on having ‘fire and brimstone’ chats to get us through ours.

I, for one, resent the bull-in-a-China-shop approach we have been reduced to so early in the fiscal compact debate.

Beyond the terror argument there is a vacuum of information from the ‘yes’ side.

The ‘yes’ side seem to have cornered the, ‘where would you get the money?’ argument to date.

But one significant point is being missed by the promulgation of the doomsday scenario, put forward by the Government after a possible ‘no’ vote; if the people of Ireland vote this treaty down — as is our right — then what contingency plans have the Government and the EU put in place to halt the possible collapse of the banking industry — here and in Europe — and this State’s economy?

Has the Government and the EU consulted the US government about the possibility of the collapse of the Irish economy and the euro and the impact that would have on US multinationals based here?

If the ‘no’ side have to wrestle with the ‘funding’ question, then logic and fairness suggests that the ‘yes’ side must address these questions.

Surely, if such plans are not in place, then the doomsday argument is exposed as bluster?

The problem with every election and referendum in Ireland is that a desperate race to peddle the best lies overrides the remote possibility of a mature debate.

We are used to auction politics here. Now we are being treated to a choice between which side can inflict more damage on the people.

As is so often the case, the truth will climb out from under the lies.

I reckon most people here know full well that the EU will fund this country, whatever the outcome of the fiscal compact referendum.

But irrespective of the outcome, one thing is clear, Irish democracy andthe quality of public discourse here is already looking like it will take a heck of a beating.

Declan Doyle




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