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Tory MP warns against EU pact

TORY MP and Eurosceptic Bill Cash told an Oireachtas committee yesterday that the Fiscal Treaty was leading Europe into "very dangerous water".

Mr Cash, who is chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee at the House of Commons, described the EU as "a failing system", adding that he "would be seriously worried, very worried, if we (Britain) were in the eurozone".

Mr Cash was speaking during the first day of a three-day session being held by the newly established Oireachtas Sub-Committee on the EU Fiscal Treaty, in advance of the referendum which is to take place on Thursday, May 31.

Referendum

Mr Cash addressed the committee alongside Irish MEPs Nessa Childers and Phil Prendergast of the Labour Party, Independent MEP Marian Harkin and the Socialist Party's Paul Murphy.

Ms Harkin expressed reservations about the referendum but advocated a Yes vote. She said the crucial issue was access to the European Stability Mechanism. That view was echoed by Labour's Nessa Childers, who said: "I'm not recommending a No vote because it's too risky."

Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy told the committee that he opposed the treaty as he believed that the EU Commission's method of measurement discriminated against those countries that engage in higher amounts of social welfare spending, public spending and that it was an "incredibly political mechanism".

He added: "It rules the policies I stand for, socialist economic policies, illegal."

Irish Independent