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It is essential that the vote on tomorrow’s referendum is based on the content of the treaty and not on the extraneous issues that have been raised during the referendum debate.
The essence of this vote is whether we are prepared to put the fiscal rules, the vast majority of which we are already bound by under current EU rules, into our laws.
It’s not about the timing of the referendum or whether we favour growth or austerity — no rational person would choose austerity if they had any real alternative!
Neither should it be about demonising the EU or any of its member states.
We have received good treatment from the EU over the years, and during this crisis.
We conveniently ignore the about €125bn in liquidity that the ECB is providing to Irish banks at a 1% interest rate. If the Irish banks could borrow that money on the markets, and they can’t, it would cost three to four times that rate.
The ECB funding is to replace the corporate deposits that have left Ireland in recent years.
This exodus of money since 2008 should give us a clue as to what will happen if we vote no. We have to borrow about €35bn between now and 2017 for normal State spending such as health, education, social security.
We also have to refinance about €50bn in existing loans that we can’t repay. On the basis of current decisions we will be paying €10.8bn in interest alone per year by 2017.
If we borrow more than that, and if we exclude ourselves from EU funding, then we could easily be paying twice that amount, or one third of all Government revenue. This is clearly unsustainable and reckless. No one in their right mind would loan us money or invest in the country in that situation.
It is absolute lunacy for us as a country to exclude ourselves from the best loan facility that might be available to us for reasons of anger or emotion, or because we’re hurt and we want to let the world and our local politicians know this. This is the equivalent of shooting ourselves in both feet.
It’s time to grow up as a society and take responsible decisions to help sort out our financial problems. Voting no is far more likely to lead to further austerity than voting yes.
27 Ballydowd Grove
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