Sinn Féin cannot tell the electorate how they would fund the State if Ireland needs emergency funding at some point in the future, according to the Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton. Speaking at a public meeting in Athlone this evening, Minister Creighton called on the Party to come clean and tell the electorate exactly where they would find the money.
Minister Creighton said: ‘What the Stability Treaty says is that, if we get our borrowing and expenditure into a balance – which is appropriate for us – there will be back-up emergency funding, should we need it’.
“Sinn Féin say that we shouldn’t reduce our borrowing, that we don’t need to pay any attention to what we are spending, and that there will still be lots of people out there willing to lend to us, especially the IMF.
“It is useful to remind ourselves of the changing Sinn Féin line on the IMF. In January 2011, Gerry Adams said the IMF should ‘go home and take their money with them’. In November 2010, Mary Lou McDonald said the IMF should ‘get lost’ and said ‘people out there need to understand what these people would do once they are let inside the door. Hundreds if not thousands of teaching and nursing positions would be in jeopardy, crippling our public services’.
“Even for Sinn Féin this is a remarkable policy U-turn, and it clearly demonstrates the populist hypocrisy they are offering. Are we really to believe that the IMF will pony up cash if we reject the terms and conditions needed to access the EU emergency fund?
“The amounts of money the IMF has lent to Greece, Ireland and Portugal are the biggest loans the IMF has ever made anywhere. In Ireland’s case the figure is €22.5billion or 2,322% of the IMF quota (the amount of money we contribute to the IMF). As the initial decision to lend such a huge amount of money to Ireland was justified on the basis of EU participation in the programme, it is highly unlikely that the IMF would agree to lend us even more money without such participation.
“The €700 billion ESM fund is the cheapest, most readily accessible source of emergency funding we will be able to access. By calling for a rejection of the Treaty, Sinn Féin are advocating that we lock ourselves out of the ESM fund. They are quite entitled to that policy but they have a responsibility to tell us exactly where they would access funding. I am calling on Sinn Féin to present the alternative.”