Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein refuses to say how it will vote on Republic of Ireland's EU bailout fund

By Fionnan Sheahan

Sinn Fein is refusing to say whether it will vote for the setting up of an EU emergency bailout fund -- even though the party continues to insist the Republic of Ireland will be able to borrow from the same source.

The party is riding high in Irish opinion polls at the moment, at 21pc, putting it ahead of Fianna Fail and the Labour Party, and facing into an upbeat Ard Fheis at the end of the month.

But its policy positions are still a raft of contradictions.

The party's stance on the EU fiscal treaty referendum has grown increasingly muddled.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said last night that the Republic would be able to access the EU emergency fund, even if there was a No vote.

Although it is not being directly voted upon in the referendum, the new bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), is a key issue in the EU fiscal treaty.

Access to the fund is cut off by a No vote in the referendum.

The country's independent referendum watchdog, the Referendum Commission, agrees access to the fund is contingent on approving the treaty.

But Sinn Fein claims access to the ESM is not dependent on a Yes vote.

Despite saying it is in favour of the establishment of the €700m ESM, Sinn Fein says the Government should threaten to veto the bailout fund to get rid of the clause linking it to ratification of the EU fiscal treaty.

The setting up of the ESM, which will be available to countries unable to borrow on the international markets, will be ratified by a vote on legislation in the Dail and Seanad.

But Sinn Fein is not saying yet if it will vote in favour of this legislation. The party will table a number of amendments to the bill and won't decide until afterwards whether it will vote for it.

Sinn Fein campaign director Eoin O Broin told the Irish Independent the party would decide after the committee stage debate of the bill in the Dail whether it would vote for the legislation or not.

"We'd like to amend the bill. We are not opposed to an emergency funding mechanism for the eurozone," he added.

Last night, Mr Adams clashed with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore on RTE's 'The Week In Politics'.

Mr Gilmore challenged Mr Adams to explain where he would get the money from if access to the ESM was cut off by a No vote.

"You have no answer for the people of this country about where we will get money at the end of 2013 if we need it, and that is an absolutely irresponsible position.

"Either you don't understand the economics or you are playing party politics with the future of people in this country, which, I believe, is highly cynical and highly irresponsible . . . you are putting party before country," he said.

But Mr Adams hit back: "I think my involvement in politics for all of my adult life shows that I don't put party before country.

"The people of this island are what matter to me.

"We will get the money, post this troika deal, from exactly the same place that you (the Government) will get the money from -- from the ESM," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph