Irish Times
9 May 2012

SINN FÉIN leader Gerry Adams yesterday said the budget deficit had “almost doubled” since the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition came to power, a claim that was rejected by the Government.

Responding to Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s comment that Ireland would find itself “back in the eye of the storm” in the event of a No vote in the fiscal treaty referendum, Mr Adams blamed Government policy for sending young Irish people to Australia and Canada to find work.

“Any sensible person knows that the whole of the European Union is going to be in the eye of the storm for some considerable time. It’s how we come out of the storm,” he said.

“We think that the last four years of austerity have proved that austerity doesn’t work. It’s self-evident. Eamon Gilmore has been in Government for a year and the deficit has almost doubled.”

Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton later rejected Mr Adams comments about the deficit, accusing Sinn Féin of “using fantasy figures cooked up on the back of an envelope” to frighten people into voting No in the referendum on May 31st. Ms Creighton said the underlying budget deficit for 2011 was 9.4 per cent of GDP, which was significantly ahead of the EU-IMF target of 10.6 per cent. The Government was committed to a general deficit of not more than 8.6 per cent of GDP for 2012, she added.

“Deputy Adams will be aware that the headline deficit figure for 2010 was over 30 per cent of GDP. Sinn Féin needs to invest in a calculator and stop plucking figures out of the sky. The stability treaty will provide us with sound economic policies well into the future. The Sinn Féin alternative is Gerrynomics,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Workers’ Party launched its referendum website outlining the reasons the party is campaigning for a No vote in the referendum. For the first time the party is also making extensive use of social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook.

Workers’ Party president Michael Finnegan insisted that people could not rely on the information being given out by what he described as “Government’s media”.

He claimed people were being bombarded by “barefaced lies and threats” and said the treaty had “deliberately been written in dense legalistic language”.

The Communist Party of Ireland called on the trade union movement to come forward “in a united opposition against this treaty and cut the anchor of the Labour Party which is dragging it down an endless spiral of cuts and job losses”.

Calling for a No vote on May 31st, the party said voters would have an opportunity to pass verdict “on the prioritisation of debt repayments, the bailing out of German and French banks and the imposed austerity by rejecting the permanent austerity treaty”.