Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath TD has responded to comments made by Minister Michael Noonan to Bloomberg Television where he claimed that any referendum on last week’s deal would have to be a vote on whether Ireland should remain in the Euro.
Deputy McGrath commented, “Michael Noonan’s extraordinary intervention on the question of whether or not there should be a referendum on the new proposed intergovernmental agreement is an insult to Irish people’s intelligence. Hours before the Taoiseach stands up in the Dáil and tells us that he does not know any of the details of the emerging treaty, Michael Noonan goes on international television and tries to tell us that he knows enough about it to conclude that any enabling referendum would have to be on the basic question of Euro membership!
“Quite clearly, this is not based on any sound legal analysis but is instead a highly political and deliberate attempt to silence legitimate criticism and browbeat those who strongly support Euro membership but have genuine concerns about this deal. The fact that the Minister’s language mirrors almost exactly the proposition used by France and Germany to scupper recent plans for a referendum in Greece will not be lost on people.
“Fianna Fáil Party Leader Micheál Martin has made the point repeatedly that the problem with the deal concluded on Friday is that it actually undermines the Euro project. It tries to solve the wrong problem and abandons the principles that made Europe strong. To try now to silence legitimate debate and position the referendum question as a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on Euro membership is a perverse and unacceptable distortion of the facts. It is the same approach that the Government tried on the Oireachtas Inquiries referendum and will meet with a similar response.”