4 Reasons the ESM Treaty is illegal


The reasons which lead us to believe that the ESM Treaty as it stands is illegal under EU law and therefore unconstitutional in Ireland

The proposal to ratify the European Stability Mechanism Treaty as it stands and to approve the Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties as authorizing the Stability Mechanism envisaged in the ESM Treaty, are unlawful under the EU Treaties and are therefore unconstitutional in Ireland and the other EU Member States.

There are constitutional challenges to the ESM Treaty and the Article 136 TFEU amendment in Germany, in Estonia and in Ireland. In this country independent Dáil Deputy for Donegal Mr. Thomas Pringle has launched a constitutional challenge on these matters which opens in the Irish High Court on 19 June.

Deputy Pringle’s lawyers are seeking a constitutional referendum in Ireland on the ESM Treaty. They are also claiming that the EU Treaties should be amended under a different provision of the Art. 48 TEU treaty revision procedure than that currently used of the ESM Treaty as it stands is to be lawfully ratified under EU law.

Deputy Pringle’s legal action is seeking to defend the principle that the EU is an entity governed by the rule of law in face of a political attempt to change the EU treaties by subterfuge and to open a way to transforming the present EMU into a fiscal-political union for the Eurozone.

While my colleagues and I are not involved in Deputy Pringle’s action, we and many other Irish people share his concerns that the integrity of the existing EU Treaties and the Irish Constitution be upheld in face of the attempt by some Eurozone Governments effectively to take the Eurozone captive for their own ends and to organize the Economic and Monetary Union on quite different principles from heretofore by means of this ESM Treaty. We have respectfully requested several ambassadors therefore, to urge their Governments not to proceed with their country’s ratification of the ESM Treaty or approval of the Article 136 TFEU authorisation, until the Irish Courts have ruled on the issues raised by this constitutional action.

The reasons which lead us to believe that the ESM Treaty as it stands is illegal under EU law and unconstitutional in Ireland are the following:-

1. Article 3 TFEU of the EU Treaties which have been agreed by all 27 EU Member States provides that monetary policy for the countries using the euro is a matter of “exclusive competence” of the EU as a whole.

It is not therefore open to the 17 Member States of the Eurozone to attempt effectively to diminish the competence of the Union and to establish among themselves a Stability Mechanism entailing a €700 billion permanent bailout fund to lend to Eurozone governments as envisaged in the ESM Treaty. This ESM fund, to which Ireland would have to make significant contributions for the indefinite future, would trench profoundly on monetary policy for the euro area.

The Stability Mechanism envisaged in the ESM Treaty is effectively an attempt to find a way round the “no bailouts” provision of Article 125 TFEU, whereby it is forbidden for the EU to take on the debt of Member States or for Member States to take on the debt of other Member States.

It also breaches other EU Treaty articles. The ESM Treaty if ratified as it stands would effectively amount to an attempt to open a legal-political path to what France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy called for last November, namely “A Federation for the Eurozone and a Confederation for the rest of the EU“.

A radical step of this kind, which would transform the Economic and Monetary Union from what it has been up to now, may only lawfully be taken by means of the “ordinary” treaty amendment procedure of Art. 48.2 TEU. It cannot lawfully be done by means of a mere Decision of the European Council of Prime Ministers and Presidents under the “simplified” treaty amendment procedure of Art. 48.6 TEU. The latter procedure is meant to deal with minor technical amendments to the treaties, but is currently being used by the governments of the 17 Eurozone countries in an attempt to alter radically the character of the EMU by ratifying this ESM Treaty as it stands.

2. How can it be lawful for the ESM Treaty to permit a permanent ESM loan fund to be established for the 17 Eurozone countries when the express terms of the Article 136 TFEU amendment, agreed by all 27 EU Governments, authorises a Stability Mechanism only if that is established unanimously by the Eurozone States, as the general provisions of EU law require,

viz:

The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole” (emphasis added).

The Art. 136 amendment to the EU Treaties does not say that “Member States”, meaning some of them, may establish a Stability Mechanism, but rather The Member States” , namely all of them (In French Les Membres rather than Des Membres).

Yet the ESM Treaty which has been concluded among the 17 provides that the Stability Mechanism it envisages may come into being once States contributing 90% of the capital of the proposed fund have ratified the treaty.

The eight largest Eurozone States, a minority of the 17, can therefore establish this Stability Mechanism, while other Eurozone States that may need assistance from it badly are excluded.

How then can this be a Stability Mechanism “for the euro area as a whole“, as article 136 TFEU, which still has to be constitutionally approved by all 27 EU Member States, requires?

Likewise the so-called Fiscal Treaty – the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU – on which Irish voters have just voted and which cross-refers to the ESM Treaty, provides that it can come into force when it is ratified by 12 Eurozone Members.

Does not this treaty also require unanimous ratification by all 17 Eurozone Members before it can be lawfully binding on them under EU law?

3. How can the ESM Treaty be lawfully ratified by July 2012, as is the stated intention of the 17 Eurozone governments concerned, when the Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties authorising a Stability Mechanism does not have legal effect, once if has been constitutionally approved by all 27 EU Member States, until 1 January 2013?

Does not this mean that any treaty purporting to establish an ESM before 2013 must be legally void? ESM Treaty No. 1 which was signed by Eurozone Finance Ministers in July 2011 but was never sent round for ratification, conformed to the 2013 time-frame set by the Art. 136 TFEU authorisation, whereas ESM Treaty No. 2 which was signed by EU Ambassadors on 2 February 2012 does not.

This shows again how the exigencies of a political response to the financial crisis by some Eurozone States puts them in breach of EU law and therefore of the Irish Constitution.

4. EU Member States may only sign international treaties that are compatible with EU law. The EU Court of Justice has made clear that intergovernmental agreements cannot affect the allocation of responsibilities defined in the EU Treaties.

The provisions of the ESM Treaty and the Fiscal Treaty which involve the EU Commission and Court of Justice in the implementation of the proposed ESM go well beyond what is permissible under the current EU treaties and are therefore unlawful.
Copies of this article are being released to the Irish and international media for their information regarding the concerns which are widely shared in this country that the proposed ESM Treaty is in violation of EU law and in breach of the Irish Constitution.

Anthony Coughlan
Director, National Platform EU Research & Information Centre

Posted in Accountability, ESM / European Stability Mechanism, ireland, Referendum | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Pay no attention to that crisis behind the Euro


  • Private Eye, no. 1315, p.12 – ‘The Agri Brigade’ – of interest to the Irish state’s farmers; think the Euro is so great for your business?: … farmers within the eurozone represent UK farmers’ most important competitors… It is a big help to British farmers, therefore, if those potential imports are priced in a strong euro… There has been no more reliable predictor of UK farming’s profitability over the past decade than the relative strength of the euro against the pound. [From CSM article on Ireland below: “Agri-food is… worth 9 billion euros ($11.2 billion), with 83 percent of the sector’s exports going to EU countries.”]
  •  The EconomistIreland’s crash; After the race:
    “Once among the richest people in Europe, the Irish have been laid low by a banking collapse and the euro zone’s debt crisis…”
    The terms of the European element of the bail-out arouse particular ire. There is something approaching a consensus in Ireland that the country rescued Europe (specifically, German and French investors that had lent heavily to Irish banks) last November, rather than the other way around. There have been heated exchanges between Irish and EU politicians over how to apportion the blame for Ireland’s crash. Some compare Ireland’s bank guarantee unfavourably with Iceland’s decision, after a similar meltdown in October 2008, to let the banks go to the wall, creditors be damned. Eyeing an opportunity, the parties that are likely to form the next Irish government have made extravagant campaign promises about renegotiating the bail-out package. They may find it difficult to keep them once in office.
  • Irish Times – 2/June, 2012 – Kenny seeks bank debt deal from Merkel after Yes vote;
  • Irish Central – 5/June, 2012 – German government slam the door on new bank deal for Irish;
  • TheJournal.ieKrugman: Ireland voted for a ‘bad idea’ – and euro could collapse in two years;
  • Christian Science MonitorAs Ireland votes on EU treaty, many ask if it’s worth cost of membership: … unemployment is at 14.3 percent, up 0.1 percent since this time last year. In 2007, it was just 4.6 percent.
    Despite spending cuts and tax rises totaling 24 billion euros since 2008 (with another 8.6 billion euros to come before 2015) the country is still spending more than it raises in taxes. In 2011 it ran a budget deficit of 13.1 percent, 3.7 percent directly due to the nationalization of its banking debts, the remaining 9.4 percent due to the contraction of the economy.The news seems to keep getting worse. Accountants Kavanagh Fennell today published a report saying business insolvency is on the rise, with 155 companies going bust in April. The construction sector was the hardest hit, followed by retail.Labor union economist Michael Taft says government policy, including the proposed EU stability rules that forbid deficit spending, is what’s stalling recovery.
Posted in Agriculture, ECB/IMF, Economy, ESM / European Stability Mechanism, EU, Euro / Sovereign Money | Leave a comment

Alert: Government Attempts to Pass ESM with Minimal Public Debate


Today – Wednesday, & Tomorrow – Thursday

The Government will seek Dail approval of:
The Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties which authorises the setting up of the permanent Eurozone loan fund, the European Stability Mechanism
+ A motion to approve the ESM Treaty which is authorized by this amendment
+ A motion to approve future Government spending on the ESM,

TODAY – WEDNESDAY, AND TOMORROW – THURSDAY.
A guillotined debate on the second reading of the latter Bill will take place TOMORROW.

This means that the whole business of signing up the Irish State to the ESM Treaty for the Eurozone and committing us to significant expenditure to help bail out Spain and other Eurozone countries in the coming period, could go through all stages in the Oireachtas BY THE END OF NEXT WEEK – with minimal debate in the Irish media over the long-term implications of these steps or awareness of what this all means amongst the general public.

The ESM Treaty can be downloaded from the internet – http://www.european-council.europa.eu/media/582311/05-t…2.pdf

The relation of the ESM Treaty to the Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties authorizing it and to the Fiscal Treaty which Irish voters voted on last Friday is set out in the publication “A Tale of Two Treaties” by Cork solicitors Joe Noonan and Mary Linehan.

This can be downloaded from the internet at: http://taleoftwotreaties.tumblr.com

The letter below to the Ambassadors in Ireland of those EU States which have not yet ratified or approved the ESM Treaty or the Article 136 TFEU amendment sets out the reasons for regarding the ESM Treaty as it stands as illegal under EU law and in violation of the Irish Constitution.

A reformatted standalone version of this as explanatory text, is available here – http://nationalplatform.org/2012/06/06/4-reasons-the-esm-treaty-is-illegal-2/ – “4 Reasons why the ESM Treaty is illegal”.

If these measures are pushed through the Oireachtas this week and next in the way the Government proposes, the only way this profound illegality and unconstitutionality can be prevented is by President Higgins referring the relevant Bill to the Supreme Court for adjudication or by Deputy Thomas Pringle’s legal team securing a relevant injunction to stop it pending a Court hearing of the issues.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Coughlan
Director

_______
Copy of letter sent individually to the Ambassadors in Ireland of European Union countries which have not yet ratified the ESM Treaty or constitutionally approved the Article 136 TFEU amendment authorizing that treaty, re Deputy Thomas Pringle’s constitutional challenge to the ESM Treaty and his call for a referendum on that:
_______

FROM:
The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre
24 Crawford Avenue
Dublin 9
Ireland
Tel.: 00-353-1-8305792

Friday 1 June 2012

Your Excellency,
I am writing to you on behalf of this organisation to request you to draw your Government’s attention to the fact that the proposal to ratify the European Stability Mechanism Treaty as it stands and to approve the Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties as authorizing the Stability Mechanism envisaged in the ESM Treaty, are unlawful under the EU Treaties and are therefore unconstitutional in Ireland and the other EU Member States.

I am writing on similar lines to the Ambassadors to Ireland of the other EU Member States which have not yet ratified the ESM Treaty or approved the Article 136 TFEU amendment.

You are doubtless aware that there are constitutional challenges to the ESM Treaty and the Article 136 TFEU amendment in your own country, in Estonia and in Ireland. In this country Independent Dáil Deputy for Donegal Mr Thomas Pringle has launched a constitutional challenge on these matters which opens in the Irish High Court on 19 June.

We are informed that Deputy Pringle’s lawyers are seeking a constitutional referendum in Ireland on the ESM Treaty. They are also claiming that the EU Treaties should be amended under a different provision of the Art.48 TEU treaty revision procedure than that being currently used if the ESM Treaty as it stands is to be lawfully ratified under EU law.

Deputy Pringle’s legal action is seeking to defend the principle that the EU is an entity governed by the rule of law in face of a political attempt to change the EU treaties by subterfuge and to open a way to transforming the present EMU into a fiscal-political union for the Eurozone.

While my colleagues and I are not involved in Deputy Pringle’s action, we and many other Irish people share his concerns that the integrity of the existing EU Treaties and the Irish Constitution be upheld in face of the attempt by some Eurozone Governments effectively to take the Eurozone captive for their own ends and to organize the Economic and Monetary Union on quite different principles from heretofore by means of this ESM Treaty.

May we respectfully request you therefore to urge your Government not to proceed with your country’s ratification of the ESM Treaty or approval of the Article 136 TFEU authorisation until the Irish Courts have ruled on the issues raised by this constitutional action.

The reasons which lead us to believe that the ESM Treaty as it stands is illegal under EU law and unconstitutional in Ireland are the following:-

1.) Article 3 TFEU of the EU Treaties which have been agreed by all 27 EU Member States provides that monetary policy for the countries using the euro is a matter of “exclusive competence” of the EU as a whole. It is not therefore open to the 17 Member States of the Eurozone to attempt effectively to diminish the competence of the Union and to establish among themselves a Stability Mechanism entailing a €700 billion permanent bailout fund to lend to Eurozone governments as envisaged in the ESM Treaty.

This ESM fund, to which Ireland would have to make significant contributions for the indefinite future, would trench profoundly on monetary policy for the euro area. The Stability Mechanism envisaged in the ESM Treaty is effectively an attempt to find a way round the “no bailouts” provision of Article 125 TFEU, whereby it is forbidden for the EU to take on the debt of Member States or for Member States to take on the debt of other Member States. It also breaches other EU Treaty articles.

The ESM Treaty if ratified as it stands would effectively amount to an attempt to open a legal-political path to what France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy called for last November, namely “A Federation for the Eurozone and a Confederation for the rest of the EU”.

A radical step of this kind, which would transform the Economic and Monetary Union from what it has been up to now, may only lawfully be taken by means of the “ordinary” treaty amendment procedure of Art.48.2 TEU. It cannot lawfully be done by means of a mere Decision of the European Council of Prime Ministers and Presidents under the “simplified” treaty amendment procedure of Art.48.6 TEU.

The latter procedure is meant to deal with minor technical amendments to the treaties, but it is currently being used by the governments of the 17 Eurozone countries in an attempt to alter radically the character of the EMU by ratifying this ESM Treaty as it stands.

2.) How can it be lawful for the ESM Treaty to permit a permanent ESM loan fund to be established for the 17 Eurozone countries when the express terms of the Article 136 TFEU amendment, agreed by all 27 EU Governments, authorises a Stability Mechanism only if that is established unanimously by the Eurozone States, as the general provisions of EU law require, viz: “THE Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area AS A WHOLE ” (emphasis in capitals added)?

The Art.136 amendment to the EU Treaties does not say that “Member States”, meaning SOME of them, may establish a Stability Mechanism, but rather “THE Member States”, namely ALL of them (In French “LES” Membres rather than “DES” Membres).

Yet the ESM Treaty which has been concluded among the 17 provides that the Stability Mechanism it envisages may come into being once States contributing 90% of the capital of the proposed fund have ratified the treaty.

The eight largest Eurozone States, a minority of the 17, can therefore establish this Stability Mechanism, while other Eurozone States that may need assistance from it badly are excluded. How then can this be a Stability Mechanism “for the euro area as a whole”, as Article 136 TFEU, which still has to be constitutionally approved by all 27 EU Member States, requires?

Likewise the so-called “Fiscal Treaty” – the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU – on which Irish voters have just voted and which cross-refers to the ESM Treaty, provides that it can come into force when it is ratified by 12 Eurozone Members. Does not this treaty also require unanimous ratification by all 17 Eurozone Members before it can be lawfully binding on them under EU law?

3.) How can the ESM Treaty be lawfully ratified by July 2012, as is the stated intention of the 17 Eurozone governments concerned, when the Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties authorising a Stability Mechanism does not have legal effect, once it has been constitutionally approved by all 27 EU Member States, until 1 January 2013?

Does not this mean that any treaty purporting to establish an ESM before 2013 must be legally void? ESM Treaty No.1 which was signed by Eurozone Finance Ministers in July 2011 but was never sent round for ratification, conformed to the 2013 time-frame set by the Art.136 TFEU authorisation, whereas ESM Treaty No. 2 which was signed by EU Ambassadors on 2 February 2012 does not.

This shows again how the exigencies of a political response to the financial crisis by some Eurozone States puts them in breach of EU law and therefore of the Irish Constitution.

4. ) EU Member States may only sign international treaties that are compatible with EU law. The EU Court of Justice has made clear that intergovernmental agreements cannot affect the allocation of responsibilities defined in the EU Treaties. The provisions of the ESM Treaty and the Fiscal Treaty which involve the EU Commission and Court of Justice in the implementation of the proposed ESM go well beyond what is permissible under the current EU treaties and are therefore unlawful.

May I inform you that copies of this letter are being released to the Irish and international media for their information regarding the concerns which are widely shared in this country that the proposed ESM Treaty is in violation of EU law and in breach of the Irish Constitution.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Coughlan
Director

Posted in Accountability, Action Stations, ESM / European Stability Mechanism, EU, Fiscal Compact Treaty, ireland, Referendum | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Last Post of Referendum: If you haven’t yet voted, please read this…


  • John Corcoran (ICTA) writes in an email: At 8.25 am yesterday morning Paul Krugman and John Corcoran spoke simultaneously on BBC radio and advised the Irish people to vote No in the Fiscal Treaty Referendum.  John spoke on BBC radio ulster and Paul on BBC radio 4.  Both are distinguished former students of the London School of Economics.   Please join with John and Paul and ensure a No vote today.  If you click on the podcast link… you can hear the interview.
    John Corcoran, M.Sc. Economics London School of Economics and Political Science.
    Spokesperson, Irish Commercial Tenants Association;
  • David McWilliams / Irish Independent – The fiscal treaty will only make things worse: The situation in the eurozone is not getting any better. The fiscal treaty, by imposing austerity on an already enfeebled economy, will make things worse, prompting more capital flight. Rolling the snowball down the hill is not an honest option.
    Mightn’t it be better to open the negotiations properly now?
  • Forpras Financial SolutionsWhy vote NO to the Fiscal Stability Treaty? Why are our Irish politicians telling us to vote YES? Are you aware that the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) isn’t even setup and yet Portugal, Spain and Greece need immediate bailing out? Where will all this funding come from? Well, more and more taxes will be needed to pay for all these bailouts and ofcourse the vicious circle of Ireland having to borrow to help bailout itself out and our partners. Every cent borrowed needs to be repaid with excessive interest rates. The government tells us not to worry as they have agreed with their collegues in the EU that we will be permitted to pay these loans over an extended timeframe. But nobody is agreeing to help reduce our debts or even write a portion off? Why? […] It looks like Ireland and the Irish public will be left with mountains of debt. More and more Irish will be required to pay higher taxes (VAT 23%, property tax, water charges, higher car taxes, higher fuel taxes and the list goes on) resulting in the standard of living in Ireland falling, rising debt and a massive increase in the number of Irish unable to pay off their debts whether they be mortgages, credit cards, etc.
  • Vincent Browne / Politico.ie – We owe it to ourselves to oppose a trajectory that will vandalise society: I will vote No to express indignation with the cavalier disregard of the procedures and protocols of the European Union itself of the sovereignty of its member states, in the conduct of the leaders of the EU institutions and of Germany and France, in their insolence in interfering with the internal affairs of Greece and Italy, in their disregard for “democratic” procedures of the Union – even in the way this Fiscal Treaty came about.
    I will vote No to defy the wishes of the German elite, which benefited so spectacularly from the emergence of the Eurozone and now makes modest redistribution of that generated wealth, conditional on adherence to its economic and budgetary diktats, diktats that disadvantage not only the mass of people throughout the rest of Europe but the mass of people in Germany itself. 
    I will vote No to give backbone to the government’s dealings with the EU on the promissory notes and the other bank debt. 
  • TEEU – the power unionTEEU Executive Committee Urges Members to Vote No to Austerity: The inevitable result would be a further contraction in the size of the economy – already decreased by over a quarter since 2008 – with an accompanying increase in unemployment and decrease in government revenue. As Nobel laureate Paul Krugman simply put it, austerity “pushes depressed economies deeper into depression”. We, and others, have pointed out that a fiscal stimulus is what is required and have suggested, to no avail, a means of applying it.
Posted in Action Stations, ESM / European Stability Mechanism, EU, Fiscal Compact Treaty, ireland, Permanent Austerity Treaty, Referendum | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What would happen if Ireland left the Euro?


  • Emmett O’ConnellThe Consequences of Monetary Union (1972);
  • The EconomistComing In From The Cold, Lessons from Iceland: … the extra cost to a country of not standing by its banks can be surprisingly small… the benefits to a small country of being part of a big currency union are not all they were once cracked up to be… the euro looks more like a trap for countries struggling to regain export competitiveness.
  • Prof. Anthony Coughlan / Village MagazineEur-over; Ireland should abandon the Euro which was established for political not economic reasons and so has not worked: The value of having one’s own currency, and with it the ability to follow an independent exchange rate policy, was shown decisively in Ireland from 1993 to 1999.This was the only period in the history of the Irish State when we followed an independent exchange rate policy and, in effect, floated the Irish pound, giving us a highly competitive exchange rate. This boosted Irish exports, inhibited competing imports and gave us the “Celtic Tiger” years of high economic growth.
  • FT.com / LettersAccounts could be redenominated before Drachma in place: It is perfectly possible to redenominate euro bank accounts in Greece overnight at one-to-one into drachma without having any drachma banknotes or coinage in place. The drachma would be simply an accounting unit. It would take a day or two to establish the value of the new accounting unit against the euro, but if one assumed a 30 per cent discount, someone seeking to withdraw 100 drachma from a bank would be given 70 euro notes, while someone buying food for 10 drachma would pay €7. There would be no need to “impose exchange controls”, still less to “secure the borders to limit capital flight”, because euro notes and coins would remain unchanged in euros. Likewise, the effect on contracts can be exaggerated. In Greece itself, a one-to-one conversion could be done by Greek statute. As regards contracts governed by foreign law and jurisdiction, the Greek parliament could not change the parties’ obligations in foreign law, but it could certainly introduce a new insolvency regime for Greek companies modelled on Chapter 11, which could be very unfavourable to creditors claiming (non-Greek) euro-denominated debts. Adrian Jack, Barrister & Rechtsanwalt, London WC2, UK
  • FT.com / LettersAdopting Dollar will give Greece breathing space:
    The inevitable exit of Greece from the European Union will require it to implement its own monetary system. Re-implementing the drachma will require careful internal planning and external support and, if mishandled, could exacerbate Greece’s financial woes. Keeping the euro as the interim currency will not allow Greece the latitude it needs to resolve its problems as an independent nation. However, replacing the euro with the dollar as the interim currency will allow Greece the necessary breathing space to re-establish its own monetary system. In spite of all the criticism levied against it, the dollar remains the dominant global currency because there is just no other alternative for global finance and trade. Notwithstanding the dollar’s weakening over the past decade, most countries’ reserves are still in this currency. The dollar is accepted in all countries including Cuba, Iran and North Korea. Developing and emergent nations, such as Panama and Ecuador, even use the dollar as their de facto currency, a practice called dollarisation. The freely floating dollar enables dollarised countries to implement their national plans without having to worry about currency management – that is taken care of by the US and global finance. While dollarised economies are affected by variations in the value of the dollar, they are cushioned from the consequent impact as both internal and external transactions and trade are conducted in the dollar. Dollarisation allows these emergent economies the latitude to focus on fiscal policies and national development while being shielded by the US and the world at large from currency vagaries. Greece could, therefore, consider dollarisation as an interim solution for its monetary system when it leaves the EU.
    By adopting the dollar, Greece will be able to exploit both the dollar’s strength (global status) and its weakness (lower value). The recent quantitative easing by the US Federal Reserve chairman has injected hundreds of billions of dollars into the US economy, and consequently the global economy, thereby providing enough of dollars to absorb Greece’s needs without adversely affecting global dollar requirements. While the US government and the global financial institutions continue to manage the dollar, Greece can proceed to sort out its domestic financial and economic woes. At some stage in the future when Greece has attained financial stability, the country can consider introducing its own currency to exercise greater control over its financial affairs, or even rejoin the EU as a stronger partner. K. Pelly Periasamy, Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Daniel Hannan, MP / TelegraphThere is a way out for Ireland, and Britain should stand ready to offer it: Ireland could adopt the pound and treat its loans as having been issued in sterling. Immediately, Eire would be able to start exporting its way back to growth. And, because the UK and Ireland move in a synchronised, mid-Atlantic cycle, trade substantially with one another and have similar economic profiles, the problem of inappropriate monetary policy would disappear.
    In theory, of course, Ireland could simply declare sterling to be its currency without asking anyone’s permission. But this would be unsatisfactory on several levels. For one thing, Ireland is a sovereign country, and would presumably want to be represented as such: it would, for example, want to appoint its share of members to the Monetary Policy Committee. And, of course, much of the advantage of such a merger would be lost if Britain did not agree to accept the sterling denomination of existing Irish loans.
    Why should the UK be prepared to do such a thing? Because Ireland is our friend, because we have been through a great deal together, because we are intermingled and interrelated, because Ireland’s prosperity swells our own and because there is a risk that an economic breakdown would be followed by a political breakdown – which would be in no one’s interest. Is there any chance that we would agree? Interestingly, when Mark Reckless, the ancestrally Irish MP for Rochester, raised the idea with the Europe Minister David Lidington at a parliamentary committee meeting yesterday, the response was friendly.
  • Christopher M. Quigley / IrishCentral.comWhy Ireland should join dollar or sterling currency now: Thus Ireland needs to take action similar to that taken by Argentina in 2002. In that year the former South America tiger faithfully managed to “humble” American banks and dollar bondholders.She de-coupled her currency from a disastrous one-to-one parity with the Dollar and so saved her economy and the social contract with her citizens.In addition she forced American mortgage holders to accept “pari-pasu” payment in the new devalued currency rather than in old dollars. Thus Argentinean homeowners did not suffer the fate currently being experienced by Latvians and Lithuanians where hard Euro mortgages must be repaid in sinking national currencies.

    Ireland needs to get support from her Euro zone partners which will enable her to significantly cut her debt exposure to private bank bondholders. If this action is not allowed Ireland should let it be known that she will consider joining the Sterling Area or possibly merging with the dollar.

  • John GustavssonSterling; A solution for Ireland;
  • Barry Eichengreen / Department of Economics UC BerkeleyCosts and Benefits of European Monetary Unification;
ulsterbank-five-pound-note

Many of Ireland’s early banks depended for their survival on the issue of banknotes. Note issue was profitable as it amounted to borrowing money free of charge to lend again at interest.

bank-of-ireland-five-pound-notebank-of-ireland-five-note-back

plough-man-bank-note

Ploughman Notes: The consolidated banknote issue was created as a means to replace banknotes in circulation in the Irish Free State issued by the six commercial banks that ha the right of not issue under British rule. However, the Consolidated not issue extended this right to all eight joint stock commercial banks operating within the Irish Free State. Consolidated Banknotes were regulated by the Currency Commission, and were never Legal Tender, merely a promise to pay such.

Posted in ECB/IMF, Economy, EU, Euro / Sovereign Money, iceland, Independence/Nationalism, ireland, Solutions | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FINAL UPDATE: Citizen’s Campaign South East – Fiscal/Austerity Treaty Referendum: Public Meetings (Counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford)


Update/change: Last public referendum meeting – Wexford Town (Tues 8pm St Josephs)

FINAL UPDATE: TUESDAY 29th May           Wexford town

Wexford Sinn Féin @St Joseph’s Community Centre, Bishopswater, Wexford Town

“Our apologies: due to a local death, today’s (Mon) meeting needed to be postponed.”

————————————————–

Friday 4th May:           Bridgetown

Wexford Sinn Féin @ AOH Hall, 8pm.

Saturday 5th May:         Austerity Treaty Road Show, Wexford Town

(May Day Parade, Protest at SIPTU/Labour HQ)

Monday 7th May:           Ballycullane

Wexford Sinn Féin @ Tintern GAA Complex, 8pm

Saturday 12th May:       Austerity Treaty Road Show, Ferns,Gorey

Monday 14th May:            Enniscorthy

Riverside Park Hotel 8pm. Talk on Fiscal Treaty.

Tuesday 15th May:         Gorey

Wexford Sinn Féin @ Loch Garman Arms, 8pm

Wednesday 16th May:   Rosslare Harbour

Wexford Sinn Féin @ The Railway Club, 8pm

Thursday 17th May:      

Wexford Sinn Féin @ Ballagh Community Centre, The Ballagh

People’s Movement at 8.00 p.m.Tower Hotel, Waterford

Saturday 19th May:       Austerity Treaty Road Show, Bunclody, Enniscorthy

Tuesday 22th May:

Wexford Sinn Féin @ The Parish Pump, Rosbercon, New Ross

People’s Movement at 8.00 pm, Reddys Tullow Street, Carlow

Wednesday 23rd May:

People’s Movement at 8.00, Club House, Patrick Street, Kilkenny

Thursday 24th May:

Wexford Sinn Féin @ St Senans Community Centre, Enniscorthy

People’s Movement at 8.00, Park Hotel Dungarvan.

Saturday 26th May:       Austerity Treaty Road Show, Castlebridge, Wexford Town

Monday 28th May:           Wexford town

Wexford Sinn Féin @ TBA

Speakers:

  • TBA

Possible meetings forthcoming in Taghmon, Kilmuckridge and Bunclody. Other meetings are planned and details will be announced in due course.

Posted in Austerity / Cutbacks, Bankers' Bailout, Budget, ECB/IMF, Economy, ESM / European Stability Mechanism, EU, Fiscal Compact Treaty, ireland, Permanent Austerity Treaty, Referendum, Save Our Services | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Video: What will happen if we vote no?


Posted in Audio/Video, Humour, Referendum | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Conservative Alternative to Austerity Economics


… the basic idea could hardly be simpler. The growth figures that dominate the headlines are of “real” gross domestic product, which means they are corrected for inflation. With nominal GDP they are uncorrected. The idea of targeting nominal GDP is to leave room for real growth, but damp any inflationary take-off….

A nominal GDP objective is far from a new idea. It was promulgated by the Nobel Prize-winning economist James Meade and by Sylvia Ostry, one-time economic director of the OECD. Nominal GDP is at least discussed in the reports of the US Council of Economic Advisers. A target could in principle be adopted by the eurozone if it ever moved away from its obsession with fiscal austerity. It could also be the basis of a British “Plan B”. It cannot be emphasised enough that it is not an alternative to monetary and fiscal policy, simply a guide to how they should be used.

Samuel Brittan, Financial Times, “A real alternative to austerity economics”, 10/May 2012

Posted in Austerity / Cutbacks, Budget, Commodities & Cost of Living, Economy, EU, Fiscal Compact Treaty, Germany, Solutions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“A Federation for the Eurozone and a Confederation for the rest of the EU”


(Note: The following replaces & corrects earlier version of 7/May)

TWO TREATIES FOR THE EUROZONE AND AN AMENDMENT TO  ONE OF THE EU TREATIES  – ALL RELATED TO EACH  OTHER!

Reply to Dr Gavin Barrett, Senior Lecturer in European Law, UCD, who wrote an article urging a Yes vote in the Fiscal Treaty referendum in the Irish Times on Friday 4 May, by Anthony Coughlan, Director, The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre, 24 Crawford Avenue, Dublin 9; Tel.: 01-8305792

Wednesday 9 May 2012

INTRODUCTION:

AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE 136,  TREATY ON THE FUNCTIONING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (TFEU)  –

“The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole. The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality.”

– Proposed amendment to Article 136 TFEU of the EU Treaties by which the 27 EU Member States  authorize the 17 Member States of the Eurozone to establish a  Stability Mechanism

The above Art.136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties has still to be approved by Ireland in accordance with its constitutional requirements under the “simplified” EU treaty amendment procedure of Article 48.6 TEU.

The European Council “Decision” to insert this amendment into the EU Treaties comes into force on 1 January 2013 if  by that time it has been approved by all 27 EU Member States in accordance with their constitutional requirements.

The ESM Institution which the 17 Eurozone States seek to establish and which Ireland would become a Member of is to be set up by the ESM Treaty for the 17 on the basis of this  Art.136 TFEU authorization  by the 27.  The ESM Treaty states that it is “complementary” to the Fiscal Treaty on which we have a referendum vote on 31 May.

The Government has promised the other 16 Eurozone Governments that it will have the ESM Treaty ratified by July,  but without the necessary constitutional referendum being held on it and on the Art. 136 TFEU amendment which authorizes it.

Q.  BUT WHERE WILL WE GET THE MONEY?

A.   We will get the money by holding a referendum on the Article 136 TFEU amendment and the ESM Treaty that it authorizes. This is constitutionally required in Ireland in order to validate these proposals as they stand, but our supine Government wants to avoid such  a referendum at all costs.  The 16 other Eurozone States will have to persuade us to vote Yes in such a referendum if they are to establish the kind of Stability Mechanism which the ESM Treaty envisages.  They can do this by agreeing to forgive the private bank debt the ECB has insisted should be imposed on Irish taxpayers, plus the Anglo-Irish promissory notes etc.   An Irish referendum on Article 136 TFEU and the ESM Treaty would also be an opportunity to add the voice of the Irish people to the calls across  Europe for the Eurozone authorities to agree a growth strategy instead of the present failed austerity policies.

Q.  WHERE WILL WE GET THE MONEY IF WE VOTE NO TO THE FISCAL TREATY?

A.   Where will the Government get the money to pay the €11 billion the ESM Treaty will require from us –  €1.3 billion up front and €250 million of that this July! –  with an open-ended treaty commitment to pay further sums thereafter without limit?

 

DEAR DR BARRETT,

It is quite wrong of you to state in your Irish Times op-ed article of Friday 4 May that No-side advocates in the current referendum are “threatening to veto an institution as vital as the ESM”. Regrettably you do not mention in your article the €11 billion which the ESM Treaty requires Ireland to contribute in different forms of capital to the Stability Mechanism the ESM Treaty proposes – with €1.3 billion up front (1.6% of the total) “irrevocably and unconditionally” (ESM Treaty, Art.8).  Nor do you mention the blank cheque in this treaty for the ESM’s Board of Governors to raise further capital sums without limit as they decide may be required in future (ESM Treaty, Art.10).

WHY IRELAND HAS A VETO ON THE ARTICLE 136 TFEU AMENDMENT TO THE EU TREATIES AND THE ESM TREATY WHICH THIS AMENDMENT AUTHORISES

Those on the No-side in our Fiscal Treaty referendum who know what they are talking about are saying that the ESM Treaty and the Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties which authorises a “Stability Mechanism” should be put to referendum in Ireland before we can either ratify the ESM Treaty or approve this Article 136 TFEU amendment in accordance with the provisions of EU law and the terms of the Irish Constitution.

This is

(a) because a permanent commitment to the ESM as a new Eurozone Institution of which Ireland becomes a “Member”, together with its accompanying  rules and its extraordinary legal and taxation immunities for its Board of Governors and personnel, entails a surrender of  much of what is left of Irish State sovereignty;

and

(b) because if  the amendment to Article 136 TFEU quoted above is lawfully to permit a Stability Mechanism for the Eurozone like that proposed in the ESM Treaty – which would effectively override a number of existing EU Treaty articles –  then a different method of amendment of the EU Treaties needs to be adopted than that being used in the present instance.

It is therefore the No-side people who are seeking  in effect to defend EU law and the integrity of the EU Treaties by pointing this out and calling for  the Article 136 TFEU authorisation and the ESM Treaty which it purports to authorise to be ratified in the only manner which is lawful under the EU Treaties and constitutional  in Ireland –  namely, by way of referendum of the people. It is a pity that your Irish Times article fails to acknowledge this.

WHY UNANIMITY AMONG THE 17 EUROZONE STATES IS REQUIRED TO APPROVE OR RATIFY ANY STABILITY MECHANISM FOR THE EURO AREA COUNTRIES

I am surprised that you do not acknowledge that the express terms of the Article 136 TFEU authorisation quoted above require unanimity amongst the 17 Euro area States for the establishment of any Stability Mechanism which the latter may decide to set up.

If you look at the words of the proposed Article 136 TFEU authorisation, you will see that it does not say that  “Member States whose currency is the euro” –  meaning some of them –  may set up a Stability Mechanism, but The Member States”, meaning all of them (In French Les membres” as against Des membres”).  The proposed ESM Treaty as it stands provides that it can come into force when Eurozone States contributing 90% of the capital have ratified it.  The eight largest of the 17 Eurozone States can do this, thereby bringing the Stability Mechanism into being, even though they would be a minority of the countries of the euro area.

How then can the Stability Mechanism for the 17 that is envisaged in this ESM Treaty be for “the euro area as a whole”, as required by the Article 136 authorisation by the 27 EU Member States quoted above?

There are other, even legally weightier, reasons for unanimity being required for ratification of an ESM Treaty of the kind the Government will be asking the Dáil to ratify in June, once our referendum on the Fiscal Treaty is over, as well as sanction the first €250 million payment to the ESM fund in July, but this is one good reason.

THE ESM TREATY SEEKS TO OPEN THE LEGAL PATH TO THE “FEDERATION FOR THE EUROZONE, A CONFEDERATION FOR THE REST OF THE EU” WHICH NICOLAS SARKOZY CALLED FOR LAST NOVEMBER

The ESM proposed in the ESM Treaty would radically restructure the rules of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) which Ireland joined under the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties.  Having failed to obey the 3% and 60% of GDP “excessive deficit rules” set out in those treaties, Germany and France are now proposing to put the EMU on an entirely different basis than hitherto by means of this new EU Institution, the ESM.  They thereby want to override the “no bailout” rule of Article 125 TFEU which forbids EU loans to Governments in order to enable the proposed ESM for the Eurozone to do this, something which is forbidden under the current EU treaties.

Germany and France are seeking in this way to by-pass the rules of the current EMU and to carve out a legal-political path to what French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for last November: “A Federation for the Eurozone and a Confederation for the rest of the EU”.  The proposed ESM Institution is intended to be the Bank-cum-embryonic-Finance Ministry of the future Eurozone Federation which the ESM Treaty effectively creates the legal path toward.

WHY THE WRONG TREATY REVISION METHOD IS BEING USED TO INSERT ARTICLE 136 TFEU INTO THE EU TREATIES IF THIS PROPOSED AMENDMENT IS TO VALIDATE THE ESM TREATY AS IT STANDS

The 27 EU Member States are of course legally entitled to amend the EU Treaties in order to permit the establishment of a Stability Mechanism for the 17 Eurozone States of the radical kind proposed in the ESM Treaty – as long as they do this by the proper legal method governing the revision or amendment of the Treaties set out in Article 48 TEU.

Majority legal opinion is of the view that if Article 136 TFEU is lawfully to permit an ESM of the radical character envisaged in the proposed ESM Treaty, then the EU Treaties need to be amended by the procedure set out in Article 48.2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the so-called “ordinary” treaty revision procedure,  rather than  by  “simplified” treaty revision procedure of  Article 48.6 TEU which is currently being used.

As you know, this “simplified” treaty revision procedure was inserted into the EU Treaties by the Treaty of Lisbon.  It allows the European Council of EU Prime Ministers and Presidents to amend the treaties merely by taking a “Decision” among themselves – such a “Decision” being subject to subsequent constitutional approval by their respective Member States.  See the enclosed copy of the European Council “Decision”, set out in the EU’s Official Journal, on this.

The Prime Ministers and Presidents on the European Council did not sign anything when they took this “Decision” on 25 March 2011. They took their “Decision” collectively among themselves, but it must still be constitutionally approved by their National Parliaments or by referendum of their peoples. The constitutional process of “approving” such a “Decision” is analogous to but not the same as the process of ratification of a treaty following its signature. The “Decision” may well not be constitutionally approved, just as a Treaty may not be ratified even if it has been signed.

This EU “simplified treaty amendment procedure” of Art.48.6 TEU is a form of  legal short-cut meant to deal with minor technical amendments to the EU Treaties which do not really require a full intergovernmental conference to be called,  followed by a lengthy treaty ratification process.  The “simplified treaty amendment procedure” was however never meant to provide for such a radical scheme as the fundamental restructuring of the Economic and Monetary Union which the ESM Treaty as it stands proposes.

This ESM Treaty is tantamount to a German-inspired attempt to organize a legal-political coup to override the EU Treaty provisions on which the existing EMU is based.  Hence the proposed Article 136 TFEU amendment is almost certainly being “approved” in an unlawful way under the  EU Treaties if it is taken as authorizing the ESM Treaty Messrs Kenny and Gilmore want to ratify by July 2012 – even before the Art.136 authorizing amendment comes into force on 1 January next! That is another reason why this step would be unlawful.

I am informed that this is an important issue in the constitutional challenge to the amendment to Article 136 TFEU and the ESM Treaty which has been launched in the High Court by Donegal Independent TD Thomas Pringle.  Thomas Pringle is seeking to defend EU law, the integrity of the EU Treaties and the Irish Constitution by his legal action.  He deserves the support of every democrat and patriotic Irish person. It would be helpful if you would consider in some future Irish Times article the important legal and constitutional issues which Thomas Pringle’s brave challenge raises.

DR GAVIN BARRETT’S CONTENTION THAT THE ARTICLE 136 EU TREATY AMENDMENT IS “UNNECESSARY” FOR THE ESM TREATY’S  STABILITY MECHANISM TO BE ESTABLISHED?

I am truly surprised to see such a distinguished exponent of European law as yourself write in your article that, “It is far from clear that the Article 136 TFEU amendment is really necessary in order to set up the ESM”.

If that is so, why do all 27 EU Member States think it necessary to insert the Article 136 TFEU amendment quoted above into the EU Treaties?  The EU is a Union governed by law.  The Member States do not amend the EU Treaties  unnecessarily.   Why are all 27 EU countries currently going through their constitutional processes for approving the European Council Decision to amend the EU Treaties in order to permit the establishment of a Stability Mechanism for the Eurozone if, as you say in your article, ”it is far from clear” that this is necessary?  Are you really suggesting that the 27 EU Governments and their legal advisers are all wrong  and do not know what they are doing?

You mention in your Irish Times article that the ESM’s temporary predecessor, the three-year EFSF loan fund set up for Greece in 2010 and from which Ireland and Portugal later got their bailouts, was ”successfully set up” under another treaty article – Art.122 TFEU to be precise – but you are presumably well aware that this treaty article  was never meant for such a purpose.

That EU Treaty Article deals with mutual aid between EU Member States in the event of natural disasters. It was clearly never meant to cover sovereign bailouts for Eurozone countries which had got into a financial mess because they failed to obey the 3% and 60% “excessive deficit rules” of the existing EMU.  That is why an entirely new legal provision needs to be inserted into the EU Treaties – namely, the proposed amended Article 136 TFEU – in order to provide a legal base in the Treaties for the proposed permanent ESM loan fund of €700 billion for the Eurozone, together with all the other radical things which this new ESM Institution could do, of which the 17 Eurozone States would become Members.  How does one become a “member” of a “Mechanism” by the way?

MONETARY POLICY FOR THE EURO AREA IS AN “EXCLUSIVE EU COMPETENCE” AND NOT SOMETHING AN EU SUB-GROUP OF 17 EUROZONE STATES CAN ARROGATE TO THEMSELVES

It is regrettable that your uncritical political commitment to further Eurozone integration should lead you to try to sidestep such a basic principle of EU law as Article 3(c) TFEU, which provides that anything to do with monetary policy for Member States whose currency is  the euro is an “exclusive competence” of the supranational EU as a whole. This competence cannot lawfully be arrogated to themselves by a sub-group of EU Member States, namely the 17 countries  of the Eurozone, just because that is what Germany wants, with France tagging along.

It is an ABC principle of the EU Treaties that the Eurozone States must abide by the existing provisions of EU law as regards anything they might desire or propose which would affect monetary policy for the euro area, because this is an “exclusive EU competence”.  The establishment of an entity such as the proposed ESM with its associated  €700 billion permanent fund for lending directly to sovereign governments would certainly affect monetary policy for the Eirozone.

Germany, France and the other Eurozone Members cannot lawfully do whatever they like with the EMU – although that essentially seems to be what they are seeking to do by means of this legally flawed ESM Treaty.

THE ECJ DECIDES ON EXISTING EU TREATY LAW, NOT ON PROPOSALS FOR FUTURE LAW

The statement in your article that “The European Court of Justice has never said” that setting up a  €700 billion Stability Mechanism for the Eurozone requires an EU Treaty amendment such as Article 136 TFEU is surprising.  How could the ECJ have possibly made any judgement of this kind when Article 136 TFEU is a proposed amendment to the Treaties and not an actual Treaty Article?  This proposed Article 136 TFEU amendment will not  have legal force until next January, if by then it has been constitutionally  approved by all 27 EU Member States.

The ECJ has therefore no jurisdiction with regard to it. It is a matter for the Irish Supreme Court to rule on if the Supreme Court chooses to exercise its constitutional powers – which of course include protecting the integrity of the provisions of the EU treaties as these now form part of Irish law.

I put it to you that the above considerations make it clear why we need to have a constitutional referendum in Ireland on the ESM Treaty and on the Article 136 TFEU on which the proposed ESM Treaty as it stands is legally dependent.

USING IRELAND’S VETO THROUGH A REFERENDUM WOULD  PUT US IN A POWERFUL BARGAINING POSITION VIS-À-VIS THE EUROZONE AS NOTHING ELSE CAN POSSIBLY DO

Those who want an ESM like that proposed in the ESM Treaty wish for it to be established in the legally and constitutionally right way, for it would profoundly affect our Constitution and it requires a referendum here.

A referendum on the Article 136 TFEU amendment and the ESM Treaty would nonetheless be an opportunity for Ireland.  It would be a real chance for us to get radical relief on our State debts. It would put Ireland in a powerful bargaining position vis-a-vis  the Eurozone if  the other Eurozone Governments wish to press ahead with  the kind of radical new ESM Institution with enormous powers which is envisaged in the ESM Treaty as that stands at present.

Standing by the Irish Constitution in face of German-led pressure and exercising Ireland’s veto in defence of EU law and the EU Treaties would of course require some gumption from Messrs Kenny, Gilmore and their fellow Ministers.  Holding a referendum on Article 136 TFEU and the ESM Treaty would put Ireland in a powerful bargaining position by means of which we could rid ourselves of the burden of the enormous private banking debt and all that that entails.  Would we not be mad to fail to take advantage of that?

May I therefore invite you to join me and my colleagues in calling for such a development.  Let us exercise the Veto that we have on Article 136 TFEU and the ESM Treaty and make our politicians stand up for Ireland and the Irish people who elected them, while at the same time defending EU law and the EU Treaties against Germany’s and France’s takeover-bid for the Eurozone.

With best regards,
Yours sincerely

Anthony Coughlan
Director
(Associate Professor Emeritus in Social Policy, TCD)
First published online @ http://www.indymedia.ie/article/101805 (Please note: this page replaces and corrects original Indymedia – and any other online publication – version)
Posted in Accountability, Austerity / Cutbacks, Bankers' Bailout, ECB/IMF, Economy, EFSF / European Financial Stability Fund, ESM / European Stability Mechanism, EU, Euro / Sovereign Money, Fiscal Compact Treaty, France, Germany, ireland, Promissory Notes, Referendum | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Euro-spawned divergent growth and inflation caused external payments imbalances


Euro-spawned divergent growth and inflation caused external payments imbalances. Government profligacy did not divide ‘saints’ from ‘sinners’. In the good years Germany was a near-sinner. Its budget deficit exceeded the Eurozone average and was a whisker below the 3% Maastricht limit. Spain and Ireland were saints with budget surpluses.

Lombard Street Research, Special Report – March 5, 2012, p. 7

Source: lombardstreetresearch

Posted in Accountability, Austerity / Cutbacks, Bankers' Bailout, Budget, Commodities & Cost of Living, Economy, EU, Euro / Sovereign Money, Fiscal Compact Treaty, Germany, ireland, Referendum | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Tale of Two Treaties: Citizens’ Guide


Ireland is being asked to approve two new international treaties and an amendment to the European Union Treaties.

These are:

1. Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism
(called ‘ESM Treaty’)

2. Treaty on Stability Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (‘Fiscal Treaty’ or ‘Stability Treaty’)

3. Amendment to Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’)

Referendum (31st May 2012)

The Government has decided on advice of the Attorney General that Ireland cannot ratify the Fiscal Treaty without the consent of the Irish people. The Referendum will take place on 31st May 2012, seeking the approval of the people to amend the constitution so as to permit ratification.

The Government is not holding a referendum on the ESM Treaty or on the Article 136 amendment. The Government intends to ratify the ESM Treaty and to approve the Article 136 Amendment by passing laws but will not do so until the outcome of the Referendum on the Fiscal Treaty is known. If there is a Yes to the Fiscal Treaty in the Referendum, the Government’s plan is to ratify both treaties and approve the Article 136 amendment so that Ireland will then be bound by all three.

The purpose of this website is to give people an introduction to the content of each treaty and to explain how the two treaties are interlinked. We also describe the proposed amendment to Article 136, agreed by EU Heads of Government to facilitate the establishment of the ESM.

On the top are links to guides to both of these treaties as well as to the texts of the treaties themselves for you to read.

Feel free to share the information.

This Citizen’s Guide was written by Mary Linehan, Solicitor and Joe Noonan, Solicitor.

Posted in ESM / European Stability Mechanism, EU, Fiscal Compact Treaty, ireland, Permanent Austerity Treaty, Referendum | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Nobody within our ranks i…


Nobody within our ranks is in agreement with the fiscal treaty. Everyone thinks it is a bad treaty. We don’t see any merit in it.

– David Begg, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions

Source: ft.com

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The evidence suggests tha…


The evidence suggests that Ireland will have continued access to EU funding until we have regained market access regardless of the outcome of the forthcoming referendum as long as we meet the terms of the programme.

, Lecturer in Economics, University College Cork

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Fiscal/Austerity Treaty online information


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People’s Movement Referendum Campaign


Warning: Permanent Austerity Ahead!

The People’s Movement has opened an office in central Dublin for the duration of the referendum campaign on the Permanent Austerity Treaty. The office is at 5 Cavendish Row, directly opposite the Gate Theatre.

We are near intersection of Parnell & O'Connell Streets
We are near intersection of Parnell & O’Connell Streets

Get involved!

People's Movement Referendum HQ: 5 Cavendish Row
The result of this important referendum will have a major influence on this country and the welfare of its people.

So why not become involved? You don’t have to be a treaty expert to deliver leaflets or put up posters—just a willing worker, and there are many more tasks in a campaign. It is a relatively easy way to participate in a process whose result will profoundly shape your future.

There are now only three weeks to go to polling day, and every effort, no matter how small, to boost the No vote counts.

So why not give us a call or send a text to 087-2308330, or drop a line to post@people.ie. 

Appeal

Warning: Permanent Austerity Ahead!
This is an urgent appeal for financial support to help us to wage a successful campaign against the Austerity Treaty. The treaty has been roundly rejected by such bodies as the European Trade Union Confederation and large swathes of opinion throughout Europe.

In Ireland we have a chance to decisively reject the treaty in a referendum. Our campaign is swinging into operation, but, as always, it is an uneven struggle with regard to resources. In the last Lisbon referendums the Yes side spent some €2.3 million, while the combined No side spent €1.2 million. In the second referendum the contrast was even greater: €10.206 million for the Yes side against €780,000 for the No side. All the indications are that vast resources will again be expended to engineer a Yes vote on 31 May.

We urgently need your help!

peoplelogo.jpg
Opinion polls on voters’ attitudes show 30 per cent in favour, 23 per cent against, and 39 per cent still undecided.

Already non-partisan commentators have found the Yes campaign to be faltering, as four major trade unions decide to urge a No vote and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions declares that it will not be supporting the treaty.

Thomas Pringle TD, a patron of the People’s Movement, is challenging the constitutionality of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Treaty.

Robert Ballagh: Mise Eire (limited edition fine art prints)
This treaty is closely linked to the Austerity Treaty, and he is asking the High Court to determine, among other matters, whether the Constitution of Ireland requires a referendum on that treaty also.

It will be a victory for democracy if he is successful; but it will also put a further enormous strain on our resources, as it will necessitate yet another referendum.

We earnestly ask you to respond favourably to this request.

Robert Ballagh print Mise Éire

A few copies of the limited edition of 250 copies of this fine-art print, signed, numbered and blind-stamped by the artist, Robert Ballagh, are still available. The print can be purchased for €250. Robert Ballagh is Ireland’s premier artist. All proceeds will go to the referendum campaign.

Contact post@people.ie or 087 2308330.

Posted in Action Stations, Austerity / Cutbacks, Budget, Economy, ESM / European Stability Mechanism, EU, Fiscal Compact Treaty, ireland, Permanent Austerity Treaty, Referendum | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Reply to Dr Gavin Barrett’s article on the Fiscal Treaty referendum in last Friday’s Irish Times


By Anthony Coughlan, Director, The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre

“The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole. The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality.”
– Proposed amendment to Article 136 TFEU of the EU Treaties by which the 27 EU Member States authorize the 17 Member States of the euro currency area to establish a Stability Mechanism

INTRODUCTION

This amendment to the EU Treaties has still to be approved by Ireland in accordance with its constitutional requirements under the “simplified” EU treaty amendment procedure of Article 48.6 TEU. The European Council decision to insert the Article 136 TFEU amendment into the EU Treaties comes into force on 1 January 2013 if by that time it has been approved by all 27 Member States in accordance with their constitutional requirements. The ESM Institution which the 17 Eurozone States seek to establish and which Ireland would become a Member of is set out in the ESM Treaty. This treaty cross-refers to the Fiscal/Stability Treaty on which we vote on 31 May. The ESM Treaty states that it is “complementary” to the Fiscal/Stability Treaty. The Government has promised the other 16 Eurozone Governments that it will have the ESM Treaty ratified by July, but without the necessary constitutional referendum being held on the Treaty and the Art. 136 amendment which authorizes it.

Q. Where will we get the money if we vote No on 31 May?

A. Where will the Government get the money to pay the €11 billion the ESM Treaty will require from us, with an open-ended treaty commitment to pay further sums thereafter without limit?

Q. But where will we still get the money ?
A. We will get it by holding a referendum on the Article 136 TFEU amendment and the ESM Treaty, as that is constitutionally necessary in order to authorize these proposals as they stand. The 16 other Eurozone States will have to persuade us to vote Yes in such a referendum if they are to establish the kind of Stability Mechanism which the ESM Treaty envisages. They can do this by agreeing to forgive the private bank debt they have insisted should be imposed on Irish taxpayers, plus the Anglo-Irish promissory notes etc. A referendum can also be used to press the Eurozone authorities to agree a growth strategy for the Eurozone instead of the present failed austerity policies.

———————————————

Sunday 6 May 2012

DEAR DR BARRETT,

It is quite wrong of you to state in your Irish Times op-ed article of last Friday that No-side advocates in the current referendum are “threatening to veto an institution as vital as the ESM”. Yet you make no mention of the €11 billion which the ESM Treaty requires Ireland to contribute in different forms of capital to the Stability Mechanism the ESM Treaty proposes – with €1.6 billion up front “irrevocably and unconditionally” (ESM Treaty Art.8) and a blank cheque in the treaty to paying in further sums without limit in future as required.

WHY IRELAND HAS A VETO ON THE ARTICLE 136 TFEU AMENDMENT TO THE EU TREATIES, AND THE ESM TREATY WHICH THIS AMENDMENT AUTHORISES

Those on the No-side who know what they are talking about are saying that the ESM Treaty and the Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties which authorises a “Stability Mechanism” should be put to referendum in Ireland before we can either ratify the ESM Treaty or approve this Article 136 TFEU amendment in accordance with the provisions of EU law and the terms of our Constitution.

This is

(a) because a permanent commitment to the ESM as a new Eurozone Institution of which Ireland becomes a “Member”, together with its accompanying rules and its extraordinary legal and taxation immunities for its Board of Governors and personnel, entail a drastic surrender of most of what is left of Irish State sovereignty; and

(b) because if the amendment to Article 136 TFEU quoted above is lawfully to permit a Stability Mechanism for the Eurozone of the kind set out in the ESM Treaty – a Mechanism which would effectively contravene a number of existing EU Treaty articles – then a different method of amendment of the EU Treaties needs to be adopted than the method being employed in the present instance.

It is therefore the No-side people who are seeking to defend EU law and the integrity of the EU Treaties by pointing this out and calling for the Article 136 TFEU authorisation and the ESM Treaty which it purports to authorise to be ratified in the only manner that is lawful under the EU Treaties and constitutional in Ireland – namely, by way of referendum of the people. It is a pity that your article fails to acknowledge this.

WHY UNANIMITY AMONG THE 17 EUROZONE STATES IS REQUIRED TO APPROVE OR RATIFY ANY STABILITY MECHANISM FOR THE EURO AREA COUNTRIES

I am surprised that you do not acknowledge that the express terms of the Article 136 TFEU authorisation quoted above require unanimity amongst the 17 Euro area States for the establishment of any Stability Mechanism the latter may decide to set up.

If you look at the words of the proposed Article 136 TFEU authorisation, you will see that it does not say that “Member States”, meaning some of them, may set up a Stability Mechanism, but “THE Member States”, meaning all of them (In French it is “LES membres” as against “DES membres”). The ESM Treaty as it stands provides that it can come into force when Eurozone States contributing 90% of the capital have ratified it. The eight biggest of the 17 Eurozone States can do this, thereby bringing the Stability Mechanism into being, even though they would be a minority of the countries of the euro area. How then can the Stability Mechanism for the 17 that is envisaged in the ESM Treaty be for “the euro area as a whole”, as required by the Article 136 authorisation by the 27 EU Member States quoted above?

There are other, legally weightier, reasons for unanimity being required for ratification of an ESM Treaty of the kind the Government will be asking the Oireachtas to ratify in June, immediately our referendum on 31 May is over, but this point will do for now.

THE ESM TREATY IS THE WAY TO THE “FEDERATION FOR THE EUROZONE, A CONFEDERATION FOR THE REST OF THE EU” WHICH NICOLAS SARKOZY CALLED FOR LAST NOVEMBER

The ESM proposed in the ESM Treaty would radically restructure the rules of the Economic and Monetary Union which Ireland joined under the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties. Having failed to obey the 3% and 60% of GDP “excessive deficit rules” set out in those treaties, Germany and France are now proposing to put the EMU on an entirely different basis than hitherto by means of this new EU Institution, the ESM. They thereby want to override the “no bailout” rule of Article 125 TFEU which forbids EU loans to Governments so that the proposed ESM can do this, something that is forbidden under the current EU treaties.

Germany and France, are seeking in this way to by-pass the rules of the current EMU and carve out a legal path to what French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for, “A Federation for the Eurozone and a Confederation for the rest of the EU”. The ESM Treaty envisages this new ESM Institution with its giant €700 billion associated fund as becoming in effect a new Bank-cum-Finance Ministry for this Eurozone Federation of the future.

WHY THE WRONG TREATY REVISION METHOD IS BEING USED TO INSERT ARTICLE 136 TFEU INTO THE EU TREATIES IF THIS AMENDMENT IS TO VALIDATE THE ESM TREATY AS IT STANDS

The 27 EU Member States are of course legally entitled to amend the EU Treaties in order to permit the establishment of a Stability Mechanism for the 17 Eurozone States of the radical kind proposed in the ESM Treaty – as long as they do that by the legally proper method governing the revision or amendment of the Treaties as set out in Article 48 TEU.

It looks very probable that if Article 136 TFEU is lawfully to permit an ESM of the radical character envisaged by the proposed ESM Treaty, then the EU Treaties need to be amended by the procedure set out in Article 48.2 of the Treaty on European Union(TEU), the so-called “ordinary treaty revision procedure”, rather than by “simplified treaty revision procedure” of Article 48.6 TEU which is currently being used. As you know, this “simplified” treaty revision procedure was inserted into the EU Treaties by the Treaty of Lisbon. It allows the European Council of EU Prime Ministers and Presidents to amend the treaties by a “Decision” among themselves to do that – such a Decision being subject to subsequent constitutional approval by their respective Member States.

See a copy of the European Council Decision enclosed, taken from the EU Official Journal. The Prime Ministers and Presidents on the European Council did not sign anything when they took this Decision on 25 March 2011. They took that Decision collectively amongst themselves, but it must still be constitutionally approved by their National Parliaments or by referendum of their peoples. The constitutional process of approving that Decision is analogous to, but not the same, as the process of ratification of a treaty following its signature. The Decision may well not be constitutionally approved, just as a Treaty may not be ratified.

This EU “simplified treaty amendment procedure” is a form of legal short-cut which is meant to deal with minor technical amendments that do not require a full intergovernmental conference to amend the EU Treaties, followed by a lengthy treaty ratification process. This “simplified treaty amendment procedure” was however never meant to provide for such a radical scheme as the fundamental restructuring of the Economic and Monetary Union which the ESM Treaty as it stands proposes. This ESM Treaty is tantamount to an attempt to organize a legal-political coup to override the EU Treaty provisions on which the existing EMU is based. Hence the proposed Article 136 TFEU amendment is almost certainly being “approved” in the wrong way under EU law if it is taken as authorizing the ESM Treaty that Messrs Kenny and Gilmore want to ratify by July 2012.

I am informed that this is a central issue in the constitutional challenge to the amendment to Article 136 TFEU and the ESM Treaty which has been launched in the High Court by Donegal Independent TD Thomas Pringle. Thomas Pringle is seeking to defend EU law, the integrity of the EU Treaties and the Irish Constitution by his legal action. He deserves the support of every democrat and patriotic Irish person. It would be helpful if you would consider in some future Irish Times article the important legal and constitutional issues which Thomas Pringle’s brave challenge raises.

DR GAVIN BARRETT’S CONTENTION THAT THE ARTICLE 136 EU TREATY AMENDMENT IS “UNNECESSARY” FOR THE ESM TREATY’S STABILITY MECHANISM TO BE ESTABLISHED?

I am truly surprised to see such a distinguished exponent of European law as yourself write in your article that, “It is far from clear that the Article 136 TFEU amendment is really necessary in order to set up the ESM”.

If that is so, why do all 27 EU Member States think it necessary to insert the Article 136 TFEU amendment quoted above into the Treaties? The EU is a Union governed by law, The Member States do not amend the EU Treaties without cause. Why are all 27 EU countries currently going through their constitutional processes for approving the European Council Decision to amend the EU Treaties to permit the establishment of a Stability Mechanism for the Eurozone if, as you say in your article, ”it is far from clear” that this is necessary? Are you really suggesting that the legal advisers of 27 EU Governments are all wrong?

You mention in last Friday’s article that the ESM’s temporary predecessor, the three-year EFSF loan fund set up for Greece in 2010 and from which Ireland and Portugal later got their bailouts, was ”successfully set up” under another treaty article – Art.122 TFEU to be precise – but you are well aware doubtless that this article was never meant for such a purpose.

That EU Treaty Article deals with mutual aid between EU Member States in the event of natural disasters. It was clearly not meant to cover sovereign bailouts for Eurozone countries which had got into a financial mess because they failed to obey the 3% and 60% “excessive deficit rules” of the existing EMU. That is why an entirely new legal provision has to be inserted into the EU Treaties – namely, the proposed amended Article 136 TFEU – in order to provide a proper legal base for the proposed permanent ESM loan fund of €700 billion for the Eurozone, together with all the other radical things this new ESM Institution would do, of which the 17 Eurozone States would become “Members”. How does one become a member of a “Mechanism” by the way?

MONETARY POLICY FOR THE EURO AREA IS AN “EXCLUSIVE EU COMPETENCE” AND NOT SOMETHING AN EU SUB-GROUP OF 17 EUROZONE STATES CAN ARROGATE TO THEMSELVES

It is regrettable that your uncritical political commitment to further Eurozone integration should lead you to try to sidestep such a basic principle of EU law as Article 3 TFEU, which provides that anything to do with monetary policy for the euro area is an “exclusive competence” of the supranational EU as a whole. This competence cannot be arrogated to themselves by the 17 Eurozone States, just because that is what Germany wants, with France going along.

It is an ABC principle of the EU Treaties that the Eurozone States must abide by the existing provisions of EU law as regards anything they might desire or propose which would affect monetary policy for the euro area, because that is an “exclusive EU competence”. The establishment of an entity such as the proposed ESM with its associated €700 billion permanent fund for lending directly to sovereign governments would certainly affect that. Germany, France and the other Eurozone Members cannot lawfully do whatever they like with the EMU – although that essentially seems to be what they are seeking to do by means of this ESM Treaty.

THE ECJ DECIDES ON EXISTING EU TREATY LAW, NOT ON PROPOSALS FOR FUTURE LAW

The statement in your article that “The European Court of Justice has never said” that setting up a €700 billion Stability Mechanism for the Eurozone requires an EU Treaty amendment such as Article 136 TFEU is surprising. How could the ECJ possibly have made any judgement of this kind when Article 136 TFEU is a proposed amendment to the Treaties and not an actual Treaty Article? Article 136 is not yet part of the EU Treaties and will not have legal force until next January, if by then it is approved by all 27 EU Member States. The ECJ has therefore no jurisdiction with regard to it. It is a matter for the Irish Supreme Court to rule on if the Supreme Court choses to exercise its constitutional powers – which of course includes protecting the integrity of the EU treaties that now form part of Irish law.

I put it to you that the above considerations make it clear why we need to have a constitutional referendum in Ireland on the ESM Treaty and on the Article 136 TFEU on which the ESM Treaty as it stands is legally dependent.

USING IRELAND’S VETO THROUGH A REFERENDUM WOULD PUT US IN A POWERFUL BARGAINING POSITION VIS-À-VIS THE EUROZONE AS NOTHING ELSE CAN POSSIBLY DO

Those who want an ESM like that proposed in the ESM Treaty wish for that to be done in the legally and constitutionally right way, for it would profoundly affect our Constitution and it requires a referendum here.

It is quite incidental to the legalities of the issue that such a referendum would put Ireland in a powerful bargaining position vis-a-vis the Eurozone if the other Eurozone Governments press ahead with the kind of radical ESM Institution which is envisaged in the ESM Treaty as that stands at present.

A referendum on Article 136 TFEU and the ESM Treaty would nonetheless be an opportunity for Ireland. It would be a real chance for us to get radical relief on our State debts.

Standing by the Irish Constitution in face of German-led pressure and exercising Ireland’s veto in defence of EU law and the EU Treaties would of course require some gumption from Messrs Kenny, Gilmore and their fellow Ministers. Holding a referendum on the ESM would put Ireland in a powerful bargaining position by which we could rid ourselves of the enormous private banking debt and all that that entails.

May I therefore invite you to join me and my colleagues in calling for such a development.

Let us exercise the Veto that we have on Article 136 TFEU and the ESM Treaty and make our politicians stand up for Ireland and the Irish people who elected them, while at the same time defending EU law and the EU Treaties against Germany’s and France’s takeover-bid for the Eurozone.

With best regards,
Yours sincerely

ANTHONY COUGHLAN
Director
(Associate Professor Emeritus in Social Policy, TCD)

Source: nationalplatform.org

Posted in Budget, ECB/IMF, EFSF / European Financial Stability Fund, ESM / European Stability Mechanism, EU, Euro / Sovereign Money, Fiscal Compact Treaty, ireland, Permanent Austerity Treaty, Promissory Notes, Referendum | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gilmore: Ireland could apply to IMF if we reject the treaty


Via Politics.ie:

Posted in Accountability, Economy, EU, Fiscal Compact Treaty, IMF, ireland, Permanent Austerity Treaty, Referendum | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“No Minister Noonan, I didn’t ‘misinterpret’ IMF…”


 Tweets from Mark Paul, Sunday Times, regarding his story on IMF funding for Ireland in case of ‘No’ vote…

@SimonPRepublic thanks Simon. I wasn’t prepared for such a co-ordinated pincer movement from gov/IMF. That’ll teach me for next time

@EugeneReavey I wouldn’t advocate one way or the other Eugene. I just report. Cut through the spin if you can, tho, plenty from both sides.

@NORTHANNE you said the article manipulated facts. It manipulated nothing. I don’t advocate yes or no, just report what IMF said

@NORTHANNE article never said “get”. Article said “apply”. Same as Gilmore said. Have you read the article?

Newstalk: Gilmore say Ire COULD apply 2 IMF even with no vote. Tallies 100% with my story in ST. Gov spinning so much now it’s dizzy #euref Continue reading

Posted in Fiscal Compact Treaty, IMF, ireland, Permanent Austerity Treaty, Referendum | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ó Cuív says “No”


The Journal.ieÓ Cuív breaks ranks to advocate No vote in Fiscal Compact:

Ó Cuív told the Adhmhaidin show that a No vote against the fiscal compact would lead to the appraisal of the European Stability Mechanism treaty, which is due to be ratified by Ireland in the Oireachtas in June pending a Yes result in the referendum.

He added that it was becoming “clearer and clearer” that people around Europe were opposed to the treaty, and that Ireland should reflect on this when it held a public vote on it…

The former social protection minister went on to argue that Ireland would be unable to abide by the terms of the treaty – which requires countries to limit their budget deficits, and work to reduce their government debts – unless a deal was struck on reforming its banking debts.

Posted in Bankers' Bailout, ESM / European Stability Mechanism, EU, Fiscal Compact Treaty, ireland, Permanent Austerity Treaty, Referendum | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Morgan Kelly: Ireland’s future depends on breaking free from bailout


OPINION: Ireland is heading for bankruptcy, which would be catastrophic for a country that trades on its reputation as a safe place to do business, writes MORGAN KELLY 

WITH THE Irish Government on track to owe a quarter of a trillion euro by 2014, a prolonged and chaotic national bankruptcy is becoming inevitable. By the time the dust settles, Ireland’s last remaining asset, its reputation as a safe place from which to conduct business, will have been destroyed.

Ireland is facing economic ruin.

While most people would trace our ruin to to the bank guarantee of September 2008, the real error was in sticking with the guarantee long after it had become clear that the bank losses were insupportable…

From the Irish Times

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bizarre behaviour of NI Prison Service on Easter lily indicates forceful resonance the symbol


It has been reported that republican prisoners at the notorious Maghaberry Prison in Northern Ireland have once again been punished for wearing Easter Lily symbols this year.

Prisoners who wore the symbol to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising are reported to have been returned to their cells and denied visits.

Prison policy is markedly hypocritical as remembrance poppies are allowed to be worn in the prison each year in November when they are on sale.

Would you like to know more? http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3829

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Ghostbusters quote, with special guest, Karl Whelan


Those “out-of-context” quotes…

… & supposed Sinn Féin leaflet controversy, in a nutshell. Courtesy of the original Ghostbusters, and Professor Karl Whelan(*):

Dr. Karl Whelan: Everybody can relax, I found the car. Needs some suspension work and shocks. Brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear-end.
Dr. Peter Venkman: How much?
Dr. Karl Whelan: Only $4800.
[Venkman looks shocked]
Dr. Karl Whelan: Also new rings, mufflers, a little wiring… But, on balance, the arguments favour us signing up to it!

(* “Comments are closed” – ooooh!)

Posted in Accountability, Budget, Economy, Fiscal Compact Treaty, ireland, Permanent Austerity Treaty, Quotable Quotes, Referendum | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Vincent Browne & Joe Costello: “Labours way or Frankfurts”, Howlin & TD Expenses, Shatter vs. Fianna Fáil


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Lá Féile Pádraig Shóna Duit / Happy Saint Patrick’s Day…


Warning: Totally Politically Correct:

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Joke of the Day


An engineer, a biologist and an economist are washed ashore on a desert island. After a few days without food they are starving. Eventually, they stumble on a can of beans on the beach.

They spend a few minutes considering how they might feed themselves. The engineer is the first to speak: ‘We could hit the can with a rock until it opens.’

The biologist counters, ‘We could suspend the can in a seawater solution and wait for erosion to work its magic.’

The economist is last to contribute: ‘Let’s just assume we have a can-opener.’

Tim Price

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