May 2012        

People’s Movement exposes the Austerity Treaty

On Wednesday 2 May 2012 a meeting took place at the Liffey Studio in Droichead Nua, Co. Kildare, on the theme “The EU Permanent Austerity Treaty: is it economic suicide?” A standing-room-only crowd came to hear Robert Ballagh, John Dore (PRO, Kildare Turf Cutters’ Association), and Jeff Keogh (Campaign Against Household and Water Tax).
     The large turn-out from the people of Co. Kildare seemed to reflect the concerns about the Austerity Treaty.
     Robert Ballagh, who is a member of the People’s Movement, stated that the treaty would turn Ireland into a regime of economic austerity, involving deeper and deeper cuts in public expenditure and the privatisation of public services, with more unemployment and emigration. The treaty would make a permanent feature of that external interference in our economic affairs that was obnoxious when Fianna Fáil surrendered sovereignty to the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. “If it’s bad in the short term—and it is—it’s even worse when made permanent.”
     According to John Dore, the EU Habitats Directive will prevent families and domestic turf-cutters from cutting turf as they have done for hundreds of years. In his view, “turf-cutters, their families, friends and supporters may wish to take this into consideration when they vote in the referendum on the Austerity Treaty.”
     Having previously rejected the turf-cutters’ case, the Government promised a delegation to travel to Brussels to meet the EU Commission. However, this approach foundered in Brussels on the EU’s insistence that turf-cutting must stop.
     Jeff Keogh pointed out that the EU advocates that this state should abandon more and more control over its financial and economic affairs. We must help win back for this country the fundamental state powers that have been surrendered, and use them for the benefit of the majority of the people, rather than for the social and economic elite—the same elite who want people to pay household and water tax.

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