Government spokesperson admits connivance in insertion of ‘blackmail clause’ into ESM Treaty
Government’s big stick for referendum ‘seriously undermined’
The statement by a government spokesperson that there was ‘a very strong and logical consensus’ that access to to ESM funds ‘was contingent on a commitment to fiscal responsibility’ seems to amount to an admission by the government that it connived in the change of the ESM Treaty from July last year to the version signed on 2 February of this year. A key change was the insertion of the clause that states that countries that do not sign up for the Fiscal Treaty will not be able to access ESM funding. This would mean that the government connived with the EU political establishment in the fashioning of the biggest stick that is being used to try to force people to vote yes in the upcoming Treaty.
The Taoiseach must immediately clarify the position. Is it the case, as I believe, that this change must have been agreed unanimously and therefore the Irish government could have blocked the insertion of the ‘blackmail clause’ into the second ESM Treaty which was signed on 2 February? Why did it not do so? Did it in fact welcome the insertion of this clause as an insurance policy in case it was forced to hold a referendum in order that they could use it as a weapon to strike fear into people with? The government can claim all it wants that this was not a secret agreeement, but can it point to a public debate on this matter?
If it is the case that the government agreed to the insertion of this clause into the ESM Treaty, surely its use as the main argument to persuade people to vote yes is fairly seriously undermined.