Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Europe's ties with Ireland 'secure'

Richard Boyd Barrett believes Europe would support Ireland even if the fiscal treaty is rejected

Europe will continue to support Ireland and provide emergency funds in the event of another bailout even if the public rejects the fiscal treaty, it has been claimed.

Anti-treaty campaigner Richard Boyd Barrett said if the "powers that be" are unwilling to cast Greece adrift for fear of the euro's collapse, it will never sever ties with Ireland.

With just 10 days until the referendum on the fiscal treaty, the People Before Profit TD accused the Government of being dishonest and hollow in its attempts to encourage a Yes vote from the electorate.

"The powers that be will move mountains and seas to make sure that Greece does not exit the eurozone, because if it does, the entire EU financial system will take a tremendous blow from which it may not recover," said Mr Boyd Barrett. "Spain would possibly become the next to crumble and the biggest losers would be the banks. All of this shows that Ireland has the leverage to say No."

The Dun Laoghaire TD said G8 talks over the weekend had indicated that Europe will do everything in its power to prevent a distressed Greece from leaving the euro - in a bid to protect European banks and ensure stability for the shared currency.

He said Government threats that Ireland could be cut off if it rejects the fiscal deal with a No vote on May 31 are therefore empty.

"There is simply no way Europe would cut off funding from Ireland in the event of a No vote because they know such a move would be the beginning of the end of the euro," Mr Boyd Barrett added.

Earlier, Finance Minister Michael Noonan welcomed calls at the G8 summit for all European nations to prioritise jobs and growth.

"It's not a question of either or, it's a question of both," said Mr Noonan. "A certain programme has to be run in parallel across Europe. I think that will help very significantly."

If passed, the fiscal treaty will impose stricter budgetary measures across member states and aim to drive down deficits. Those in favour of the deal, including Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail, have argued it will also guarantee Ireland access to European emergency funds should it require another bailout further down the line.

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