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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Yes supporters only offering voters a ticket for the Titanic, says Ganley

Declan Ganley at the launch of the Libertas campaign against the treaty in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath
Declan Ganley at the launch of the Libertas campaign against the treaty in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

BUSINESSMAN Declan Ganley yesterday defended his decision not to run in the general election to seek a reduction in Ireland's banking debt.

Mr Ganley is now making the country's "morally unjust" banking debt the centrepiece of his No campaign against the fiscal treaty -- and is providing €50,000 to fund a poster campaign by his Libertas think tank.

He said yesterday that it had not been the right thing to do at the time, when asked why he had not sought a democratic mandate from the people last year.

"But the argument I'm making today about cutting the banking debt is something that the Irish people are familiar with. We all know it has to be dealt with, everybody knows that," he said.

Mr Ganley ran in the European elections in the Ireland North-West constituency in 2009 but failed to get one of the three seats. But his Libertas group had a major influence in the 53pc No vote in the first Lisbon Treaty referendum in 2008.

He was asked yesterday what difference a No vote would make to the stance of the European Central Bank (ECB) -- which has remained resolutely opposed to a banking debt write-off. He said the Irish people had given a clear message last year that they wanted the banking debt reduced by electing Fine Gael and Labour.

"It hasn't been dealt with. We were ignored," he said.

Mr Ganley insisted yesterday that being cut off from the new €500bn European bailout fund under a No vote would not be a disadvantage. He said the European Stability Mechanism would not have enough money to bail out every country.

"This is like being offered a ticket for the Titanic and saying that if you don't get your ticket now, you're going to miss the boat. That's one boat there's no harm in missing," he said.

The €50,000 Libertas budget in this campaign will be less than 1pc of the €5.65m it spent in 2009 when it ran a pan-European election campaign, as well as a campaign against the second Lisbon Treaty referendum.

Irish Independent

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