Generation YES is back!

The logo of Generation Yes, a group of young, ...
The logo of Generation Yes, a group of young, Irish people campaigning for a Yes vote on the Lisbon Treaty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

YOUTH campaign group Generation YES is back and is saying ‘Yes’ to the referendum on the stability treaty. The group, which formed to burst the bubble on myths around the Lisbon Treaty, have re-launched to challenge what they see as fear-mongering on both sides of the debate on the stability treaty with an online campaign.

Andrew Byrne, Executive Director of Generation YES, says: “We want to present the facts on the stability treaty in a no-nonsense way and we are determined to take on lies and mistruths that anyone else – on the Yes or No sides – spreads in the campaign.

“We’re not going to waste anyone’s time with slogans like “Yes to Jobs”, with baseless threats or poorly informed statements.  We know this treaty isn’t a solution to all of Europe’s problems but after taking the time to read carefully through the text, research the economic, legal and political arguments, we have no doubt that voting Yes is the right thing to do.”

The Generation YES campaign will focus on the online space to reach their 18-35 year old audience. Generationyes.ie went live yesterday and will post the facts on the treaty that no one else is talking about.  What marks the website out among Yes campaigns is its forceful, no-nonsense arguments backed up with solid evidence. The GenYES facebook page, which has over 4,000 followers, and twitter accounts have already been reactivated.

“The members of Generation YES have come together again because thus far no other group is answering our questions or discussing the issues we want raised.   We want a realistic, frank debate on the facts and we will make sure that our generation gets that debate, “ adds Byrne.

A group of young people formed Generation YES in 2009 out of a sense that the political establishment had failed to speak to them during the first referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.  The group’s objective is to bring the debate on Europe back to the facts.

Do read the their pages “Why vote yes?” and “3 Questions for the No Side

It is great to see Gen Yes back!

Why I am Voting Yes – For Stability

A number of people have asked me why I am voting yes in the upcoming referendum on the Stability Treaty (Fiscal Compact, whatever you want to call it!), so I have decided to do a series of posts on why I am voting Yes. Here is the first part of the series.

One of the main reasons I am voting yes to the 30th Amendment to the Constitution on May 31st is to ensure Ireland has stability in the future. If we do not have access to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) we put this at risk, in my view.

We are going through a tough time as a country at the moment, with the Troika (IMF, ECB and the EC) here telling us we have to cut spending and raising taxes to meet certain targets. We need to hit these to enable us to return to the markets.

If we do not accept this treaty we will not have access to the ESM, which will have more money available to us then the IMF.

While we will still have access to the IMF, we will not get the same level of funding as we did last time. It could mean a tougher time for us as citizens. UCD Economist Karl Whelan recently explained this on Morning Ireland

Ireland could apply to the IMF for funds. However, people need to  understand that the IMF has its procedures in which is assesses how much money it’s willing to lend to a country. How much money they’re normally willing to lend a country, depends upon what’s called the size of a country’s IMF Quota. They normally will lend maybe three, four, five times a country’s Quota. They’ve already loaned Ireland, fifteen times our Quota. So that is well beyond their normal behaviour. Now why did they do that? They explained why they did that. They said that because Ireland has this additional support from Europe, they think that they’re not in as much, in as risky a situation. So we are now talking about, in addition to those loans that we already have from the IMF, will they give us far more than that, because now instead of being one third of the current bailout, they would have to be all of what’s afterwards. Most likely in that situation, what the IMF would do is deem Ireland’s debt situation to be unsustainable. The only way I think that they would be willing to lend to us, is if they say oh yeah, these guys are not going to be able to pay back all their debts. So you will see the existing debts, the sovereign bonds that we’ve issued to private investors, will at that point most likely be restructured. At that point they may be willing to think about, after a default, and we are shut out of financial markets for a number of years, they may be willing to give us a small amount of money.

So that means we have the possibility of a default if we do not vote Yes. Also possibility of a default means that we have a chance of having more austerity then less. As Karl Whelan again pointed out on Morning Ireland,

I think a most likely outcome of a No Vote that isn’t in any way reversed, and we just say we don’t want to borrow from the ESM, the most likely outcome from that is a large scale sovereign default, followed by possibly a small IMF Programme that would see the country have to run a zero budget deficit very very quickly. In other words, far more Austerity. So people who think they’re Voting No because they don’t like the Austerity, need to understand that it is more than likely that a No Vote would being us more Austerity in the near term than a Yes Vote.

So to avoid this scenario and to provide stability to the Irish Economy in Future, I am voting Yes on May 31st.

Could we be voting on the ESM Treaty Amendment also?

Four Courts, Dublin's main court building.
Four Courts, Dublin's main court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Independent TD, Thomas Pringle of Donegal South West, is taking the Government to court claiming that the ESM Treaty ratification should have been via a referendum rather then just a vote in the Oireachtas.

This treaty change is linked to the Fiscal Compact which Ireland will be having a referendum on ratification on May 31st.

Deputy Pringle is concerned that the European Stability Mechanism treaty and the Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (Fiscal Compact) treaty raised “serious legal difficulties” both in Ireland and Europe.

“In effect [the treaty] can direct the State to raise sovereign debt, give the money so raised to it and can then decide, where, when, whether and how it is to be spent,” he said. “Therefore Ireland will not have power to control decisions regarding the use of funds raised by it.”

“What if a majority of voters in the May referendum on the fiscal compact vote in favour of imposing permanent austerity rules on the country in order to get access to a proposed permanent euro zone loan fund only to discover that the treaty to establish that fund is illegal under EU law and unconstitutional in Ireland and may never in fact come into force,” he said.

A plenary summons was lodged at the High Court last Friday and served on the chief State solicitor that day. A copy was also sent to the offices of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.

Deputy Pringle said he was forced to take this action as he had not received a reply to letters sent by his solicitors to Mr Kenny and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan raising issues with the treaties.

This will be an interesting case as this will be the first case challenging the state’s ratification of a state treaty since Raymond Crotty challenged the states ratification of the Single European Treaty. It will be interesting if the court will make any recommendations on treaty ratifications when no power is being transferred.

Fiscal Treaty Referendum: Thursday May 31st

The date has been set for the Fiscal Treaty Referendum and it will take place on Thursday May 31st. Polls will be open from 7am until 10pm.

The date was announced by An Táiniste Eamonn Gilmore in the Dáil this afternoon following a Cabinet Meeting this morning when the date was agreed upon.

There will be much disappointment that the vote will be held on a Thursday considering that Fine Gael and Labour regularly lambasted past Governments for holding elections on weekdays.

Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin has called on the Government to produce a white paper on the treaty to aid discussion and debate on the treaty.

The next step for the Government now will be to publish the bill to amend the Constitution to allow for the treaty to be ratified and then to set up a Referendum Commission to inform the public.

Campaigners have 64 days to persuade people of there arguments and with recent polls showing the Yes side in the lead with 60% its going to be a tough campaign!

Don’t forget you can read the treaty here!