I have heard it all now. Usually when the Irish Government loses an EU referendum, its scares the bollox out of everyone and slaps it up in front of the people to vote Yes. This time the Irish electorate are told to vote Yes or face tax increases in the budget. Never before has a finance minister threatened an electorate in a referendum. A new low has been reached or a new level of desperation for a government already embarrassed that only half the country paid the newly introduced household tax. Maybe they are not ready to get another bloodied nose and have decided to use any tactic.
“If there’s a No vote the Budget I’ll be planning for later in the year will be dramatically more difficult than if there’s a Yes vote.
“If people think that by voting No they’ll avoid further tax cuts and increases, actually a No vote will do the opposite,” he added.
Fianna Fáil described Mr Noonan’s comments as “unhelpful” and said they would only serve to alienate potential Yes voters. no matter how dirty.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has today warned he will have to introduce a tougher budget that will include tax increases if the public rejects the Fiscal Treaty Referendum.
The opposition took the opportunity to launch a broad side.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary McDonald accused Mr Noonan of issuing “outrageous” threats to the public in order to secure a Yes vote.
“People should not be bullied by the Government. They should assess the austerity treaty on its content and implications for Ireland and on May 31st vote accordingly, she said.
“The Government said it wants an open and honest debate. It is high time that they started to practice what they preach,” she added.
The Socialist Party described Mr Noonan’s comments as an attempt to put a gun to the heads of the public and force them to vote Yes.
Speaking at the launch of the party’s referendum poster campaign, Dublin MEP Paul Murphy said a Yes vote would lead to more austerity.
His colleague Joe Higgins accused the Government of using the “argument of fear” to scare voters and said that instead of offering more stability, the fiscal treaty would bring about more instability both here and across Europe.
In light of Hollande about to win the French Presidential election, who made comments about renegotiating the treaty, it made sense for some of the opposition to call on the government to postpone the referendum.
Speaking later in the Dáil, Mr Kenny said he would not interfere in the French presidential election campaign after he was urged to postpone the referendum, following the revelation that Francois Hollande would seek a renegotiation of the fiscal treaty if elected.
“It is not for me to interfere regarding the statements made Mr Hollande, president Sarkozy or anybody else,’’ he added.
Mr Kenny said he welcomed any European leader advocating economic growth, adding he supported the principle of an additional investment element to the fiscal treaty.
The Taoiseach was replying in the Dail today to Independent TD Shane Ross, who today called for the referendum to be postponed, pending the outcome of the French election.
There appeared to be a problem of timing, because of the increasing clamour for economic growth throughout Europe, said Mr Ross.
“Nowhere was this more apparent than in France, where Francois Hollande was leading the campaign for growth and had stated he would not sign the fiscal treaty “as is’’, he added.
Source: Irish Times