For jobs and the capacity to borrow at a reasonable interest rate, we must vote YES.

Sinn Fein have come out and said that a Yes Vote will result in severe Austerity measures for Ireland, that a No Vote will mean that we still have access to ESM funds and that if the Treaty is passed an additional €6 billion in cuts and taxes will be implemented. This is not true.

It is interesting that Sinn Fein should raise the question of Austerity as a No vote could leave us facing severe austerity measures. This would then call into question our ability to fund the running of our state including vital public services such as Health and Education. This will also put our Social Welfare, Public Sector Wage Bill, and Capital Spending projects at a real and severe risk.

A No vote will mean we will not have access to the E.S.M. This is beyond doubt.

We are in the EU/IMF programme until 2015, during this time the Government will be working towards bringing the budget deficit down to 3% of GDP anyway. In 2013, the Government plans on returning to the Markets.

Where the 1/20th rule for reducing our debt towards 60% is concerned, the rules are that Ireland will not be fully subject to this rule until 2019, given that we have a three year grace period after exiting the programme.

Where the structural deficit target of 0.5% is concerned, there is flexibility built into the Treaty. The Treaty states that it is country-specific, that the details and time frame would be agreed with the Commission, and that national governments will be allowed to measure the structural deficit. There is also a provision in it for ‘exceptional circumstances’.

In relation to the €6 billion, all I can say is that Sinn Fein need to explain to the Irish people where their figures are coming from figure from. I am still not clear on how they have arrived to this amount! For jobs and the capacity to borrow at a reasonable interest rate, we must vote YES.

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website