Fiscal Compact Referendum: A comment round up…

Is a class based politics emerging? Jason O’Mahony seems to think so. Complaints that it was the middle class and rural voters wot one it against the poorer classes is part of a limiting contempt that some sections of Irish politics have for the people who always broker political power in the Irish state. – Ross O’Carroll Kelly (can Ireland really sustain such an expensive stereotype any more), waiting on the seventh tee at Portmarnock: O,” THE OLD MAN GOES, … Read more

#EUref: Great editorials are built on great journalism: Ireland’s desperate choice…

I don’t always see eye to eye with the Guardian newspaper. For one thing, their line between comment and news is often a little too blurred for my tastes [But you run a bloody blog! – Ed] Yes, but, well I’ve come to praise the Grauniad, not to bury it. Those of you who’ve been following Pete’s tight commentary on the Euro crisis, will have noted frequent references to their Eurozone crisis live blog. That blog has done almost exactly … Read more

Do the govt need a No vote in #euref…

..and, to provide similar political cover, does the No side need a Yes vote? The only thing that is clear from the lead-up to the referendum on Thursday is that neither the changing political and economic context of the Austerity/Stabilitytreaty nor it’s relatively bland content has really generated much energy, despite the ramifications of ratification. The value of referenda has been disputed on here before. Indeed, Minister of State Leo Varadkar suggested that referenda were not democratic at the start of the campaign, as he:  … Read more

Public opinion and the setting (or unsetting) of Irish foreign policy…

Nice letter in the Irish Times today on the wisdom of dictating foreign policy by referenda: Sir, – The use of referendums in the formulation of public policy-making is a well established feature of Irish politics. But is this wise? Public opinion is fickle, ill-informed, contradictory and mainly responsive to the ephemeral issues prevailing at the time. Are the chattering classes in the village square really up to the job of separating the wheat from the chaff in complex issues? … Read more

#EUREF: Will vote crystallise the real left right divide (with Labour on the wrong side)?

Interesting piece by former FF point man for Willie O’Dea, Derek Mooney in last night’s Herald which hits several nails on the head re the Fiscal Compact referendum… WITH less than a week to go the referendum campaign seems more and more to be about less and less. If you believe the posters, the choice is to vote Yes to achieve stability or to vote No to end austerity. But do any of us really believe these claims? Regrettably, like … Read more

#EUREF: Souveraineté ou survie du déluge?

FitzJamesHorse was in Dublin yesterday. His description of the way the yes camp (by his lights, ‘the establishment’) for Referendum on the Fiscal Compact as a Hobson’s Choice”: The legacy for European democracies is that their politcians have actually managed to restrict REAL CHOICE. In Ireland for example, no mainstream political party has been articulating the “No” case…it has fallen to Sinn Féin …..still somewhere between the margins and the mainstream……to rail against the notion of Austerity and loss of … Read more

#EUREF: Sentiment swings towards a Yes vote (whilst FF and SF consolidate)…

The only extraordinary thing about yesterday’s Red C poll results for the SBP, was the clear swing towards Yes, by six per cent age points. That’s probably reflective of a poor campaign thus far, and the degree of uncertainty thrown up by the chaos in Greece… And, as Stephen Collins noted on Saturday: …far from undermining the Yes campaign, the arrival of Hollande on the scene with his emphasis on growth should actually be a help to it in the … Read more

#EUREF: Fate of Greece will delineate Ireland’s means of remaining within the Eurozone

RTE’s The Week in Politics is well worth watching… It was the Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore who drew the short straw left him by the Taoiseach’s refusal to debate Gerry Adams on television.. It was notable more for the heat than any modicum of light it generated from either side. “Let’s stick to Ireland…” was Gerry Adams answer to the Sean O’Rourke’s opener on the crisis in Greece. And he did, no matter how many times he was invited to speculate … Read more

A drafting error in the Fiscal Compact?

Eagle-eyed, Cormac Lucey: Article 4 states that countries with government debt levels above 60% of GDP must reduce that “at an average rate of one twentieth per year”. But those who signed the Treaty appear to have intended that countries with government debt levels above 60% of GDP must reduce that at an average rate of one twentieth per year of the excess over 60% of GDP as Council Regulation (EU) No. 1177/2011 makes clear. The implications of this difference could be … Read more

Yes, Ireland can apply to the IMF for money, but…

If you want proof that SF dropped the ball on the anti case last week by putting partial quotes from Karl Whelan and two other eminent economists, it’s the fact that they have lent their own authority to an economist who is way off base from their own anti Fiscal Compact position. On Morning Ireland this morning Whelan gently debunked the idea, arising from (though strictly speaking, not contained within) a Sunday Times’ story yesterday that Ireland would be able … Read more

Is the Governor of the Central Bank “representative” or “independent”?

The ‘controversy’ arising over the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Patrick Honohan’s endorsement of a Yes vote, is possibly the least important aspect of his speech to the IEA. Padraig Mac Lochlainn believes Honohan should not have publicly said Yes because: “…public servants, which Governor Honahan is, are paid by the taxpayer and therefore representative and accountable to all taxpayers.” The Minister of Finance demurs: “Patrick Honohan is independent as governor of the Central Bank and is quite … Read more

Quote of the day…

This appears in a few papers this morning, but Miriam Lord has the best set up line: A Noonan one-liner is always flagged by a slow-growing smile and a drawled “yah know” as an opener. He thought it a mistake that Sinn Féin “as people who have such long experience of the courts system” were “drawing witnesses from the prosecution in to justify their position”. That would be referring to the miscued leaflet quotes… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of … Read more

Referendum: Hollande “is not intending to renegotiate the fiscal pact itself”…

One of the problems the Yes camp will have to contend with is the shifting sands in Europe (see Arthur Beesley for the latest political collapse in the Netherlands, far from the feckless PIGS…) And indeed the front page of today’s Irish Times carries a story on the leading contender for the French Presidency, Francois Hollande, and his reference to the capacity of Ireland to say No in the up coming referendum: “There will be a renegotiation,” Mr Hollande said. … Read more

Sinn Fein cut quotes from three Economists who believe “there is little to be gained from rejecting the Treaty…”

Don’t really know what to say about this, other than cut and paste Karl Whelan’s blog (you can read more here): Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

Austerity versus Stability Treaty: A volatile mix of politics and economics?

These days, the Republic seems to have more Referenda than Northern Ireland used to have fresh elections to new Parliaments/Assemblies/Conventions. For country in which policy plays so minor a role in public elections, this is generally where the established parties struggle to explain their own foreign policy decisions to a sceptical public… For now, according to the Irish Times poll the Aye’s have it, if you discount the highest number in the count (i.e. Don’t Knows) by 58 per cent … Read more

Is a Yes vote in #euref absurd?

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has already signed the European fiscal compact treaty along with 24 other European Union leaders at a ceremony in Brussels, although it still has to go to a referendum in the republic (at an as yet unknown date). The text of the treaty is provided here and is relatively short. A couple of extracts from Article 3 (below) give the real substance of this. ARTICLE 3 1. The Contracting Parties shall apply the rules set out in this paragraph … Read more

Will a Yes bring compact under Irish Constitutional law (whatever becomes of the Treaty)?

And so the EU slips back into recession… And Spain owns up it has been economical with the truth… In Ireland (you know, the bit to the south and west of the island), the opposition is adopting the view that all Ireland has to do is play hardball by not signing what’s increasing being branded as the austerity pact… Well, as Michael Taft demonstrates, you can measure that austerity if you accept the structural deficits estimates are reliable. Adds This … Read more

Poll shows a stiffening of support for the Fiscal Compact…

Interesting to note that since the referendum was announced support for the fiscal compact has stiffen considerable since the Sunday Business Post last polled on the matter in late January, when yes shaded it by 53 to 47. With the announcement that widens to 60-40: What’s interesting to see how the trend goes. This is not likely to be like either of the Lisbon debates, a document which was obscure and argument hard to follow or even verify. Not signing … Read more

Ireland’s first genuinely ‘free’ referendum on foreign policy for some time…

Well, it’s all go! Despite some considerable irritation in Brussels that all its efforts to avoid a referendum on the Fiscal Compact turned out to be for nothing, as the Irish Times points out: Because the treaty does not require all participating states to ratify it before coming into operation, an Irish No would leave this State behind as the rest of the euro zone moved ahead with closer integration. Ireland might remain formally a euro member, but, critically, outside … Read more

Economic (Ireland’s or anyone else’s) sovereignty has not existed since Bretton Woods

Eamonn has a whole range if great writers guesting at his blog these days. Among them Maurice Hayes, who makes some fundamental points about Irish politics and the strange relationship that exists between the legislature and the sovereign voice (aka, those bloody referendums): It is not being less democratic than advocates for a referendum to argue that the essence of democratic decision, accountability and transparence, can, on occasion, be better achieved by elected representatives properly informed and mandated than by … Read more