Statement by Senator Jillian van Turnhout, Independent,
“Why I am voting Yes on 31 May”
“I wish I could stand before you today and say that the Fiscal Stability Treaty is the answer to our economic woes, but that is simply not the case. A Yes vote will not deliver us an immediate return to prosperity any more than a No vote will give us an instantaneous end to austerity.
Normally when we approach a Referendum a No vote means maintaining the status quo whilst a Yes vote means something will change. Unusually in the case of the Referendum on the Fiscal Stability Treaty I believe the opposite is true. If we vote Yes, I don’t see huge changes in our economic policies which are already set. However, if we vote No, then there will be consequences such as the removal of the safety net of our access to the European Stability Mechanism funding, or indeed facing the deficit crisis alone.
After thinking long and hard about which option would serve this country best, it appears to me that a Yes vote is the only logical conclusion, as even if we were to reject the treaty we will still remain legally bound to most of the fiscal discipline measures it entails under the Stability and Growth Pact and the Six Pact reforms. In essence the Treaty is merely a restatement of our commitments, only now other countries will also be expected to fulfill these commitments.
Thus, the real economic battle ground is not the Treaty, it is to ensure that the Government realises its commitment to growth. I believe to date the Government’s policies have been set to remedy and redress our economic woes. I have supported the Government on most of its policies but not all. We now need to focus on Recovery and Growth.
There is no doubt that we are living through a crucial time in the history of the European Union. In an EU of 27, we have 27 voices, each trying to articulate a point of view. If you do not speak, are not audible, are not coherent, you will be forgotten. To influence decisions, we must engage.
We need to make our mark. We need to increase public debate, to reinforce citizens and civil society’s involvement in the shaping of EU policy. We need to be able to stand up and play our role in the EU. We need to be a critical friend whilst ensuring that we are not airbrushed from the European landscape.
To sum it up! I will be voting Yes on 31 May because…When the music stops Ireland shouldn’t be without a seat at the table.”