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Treaty truths

• The No campaign would have us believe that we will get money from somewhere if the Stability Treaty is rejected, though they don't say exactly where. Perhaps it's best not to think too much about our debts and how they will get paid provided we get what we want today. Perhaps it's best not to think about how Ireland's national debt has reached €186bn or 117pc of national output.

Even if we never had to deal with the bank problem, the debt would be over 80pc of output, but we can always leave it to the next generation to pay up.

On the other hand, we could ask ourselves why the Austrians, the Germans, the Finns and the Dutch have the lowest levels of unemployment in the EU.

They all manage their public finances well, thus providing the stability which every healthy economy needs.

The Stability Treaty would require all members of the euro to adopt the same rules of good housekeeping, which would be of lasting benefit to everyone -- including the coming generations.

Edmond Grace SJ
Jesuit Community, Dublin 2

• I can't understand why anyone is surprised at the reaction of the Taoiseach to being questioned in Athlone and the flippant comment by the Minister for Finance about feta cheese when, to date, Mr Kenny has failed to even reach the low expectations we had for him when we had no choice but to take a chance on Fine Gael reforming politics. Mr Kenny's idea of making a sacrifice was to take €200,000 instead of the €220,000 he was 'entitled' to pay himself.

In the context of Mr Kenny and others repeatedly telling us how we must vote Yes for fear of something worse, it's worth pointing out that since 2002 Mr Kenny has received hundreds of thousands in tax-free expenses.

This information is in the public domain through the Oireachtas website and confirmation from Fine Gael of the leader's allowance it paid Mr Kenny, which incidentally Fine Gael paid from funds it received from the taxpayer.

So of course they can't hold their temper when questioned directly or make flippant remarks. They prefer to peddle the myth that Greece's debt is all related to social spending, but prefer to ignore the fact that the largest portion of the Greek debt burden is for bailing out Greek banks, not for paying for nurses and teachers.

Mr Kenny, Mr Noonan and their colleagues have made sure each and every one of them is immune from any of the sacrifices everyone else has taken during this recession. They defend a system that allows them to claim thousands of euro every single month, tax free.

Desmond FitzGerald
Canary Wharf, London

• The Sinn Fein-supported 'War in the North' cost 3,500 lives before the republican leadership exercised its veto over the IRA. Forty years lost to peaceful, constructive nation-building is the hidden debt that these 'patriots' still owe the Irish people.

How much exactly did this Sinn Fein-supported war cost the Irish taxpayer as tens of billions in Irish Exchequer funds were diverted to the essential defence of our Republic against IRA violence? These lost billions were taken out of our social spending and the gaps in health, education and social infrastructure that Sinn Fein cost us still remain. Perhaps the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis can consider the payback now due to the Irish people from this robbery of state funds.

Sinn Fein was totally wrong in supporting the IRA campaign in the North and likewise Sinn Fein is totally wrong in supporting the No to fiscal stability campaign in the South. The IRA war produced only deeper divisions and prolonged instability in the North. The No campaign promises deeper austerity and prolonged instability throughout the entire island.

Pearse Doherty of Sinn Fein blames austerity in the North on the British government and as for austerity in the South, he blames the German government.

A strong Yes vote is the answer to the rise of such neo-nationalism in Ireland and throughout Europe.

'Ourselves Alone' in a rapidly converging Europe is a luxury we simply cannot afford.

Brian Brennan
Dublin 8

• Why can't we have a euro based on an exchange rate type mechanism?

Then the Irish, Spanish, Italian, Greek euro etc, would reflect their actual worth against the likes of the German, Belgian, Netherlands etc, euro.

There are a number of countries such as Canada, Australia, Barbados, Singapore etc, who use the word "dollar" in their currencies. Either a totally federal euro or this!

K Nolan
Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim

• I found myself pondering the real motives for Norah Casey's appeal for a Yes vote on Monday's 'Frontline' programme. I admire and respect Ms Casey as an entrepreneur and without too much analysis it would appear logical for business people to be pro-treaty given the stability it promises. But this stability is neither guaranteed nor does it look likely as this saga unfolds.

Had Ms Casey or other 'Dragons' applied their business acumen to analyse this problem they could have identified the largest deficit in Europe: the absence of any leadership with a realistic long-term solution.

If Ireland was a business that Ms Casey or any other guru were fixing (as in her new TV series) the first thing they would recommend would be to renegotiate their unsustainable debt (as proposed by Declan Ganley) and to stem the haemorrhage of money ASAP. Yet all of Ireland's business elite have come out in support of this treaty.

These intelligent people, who dissect and direct businesses for a living, are backing a short-term, undeveloped 'sticking plaster'.

Why? Perhaps they are chasing short-term goals? They are making money now so don't want to rock the boat. Labour is cheap due to unemployment, the currency is down so exports are more competitive.

Yet in their own businesses, they would never pursue this short-term policy and would take decisive action.

I accept that, Yes or No, we will have austerity, but I am loath to allow our Government to access any more money when they have not addressed public spending or debt reduction in any meaningful way. If voting No really does cut off funding, then our Government will have to address the very things these Dragons would tackle themselves: overpaid public sector workers, inefficient public services, lack of productivity, over-regulation etc. Business people have the power to turn this crisis into an opportunity to reform our country but are passing up that up to "fumble in the greasy till" for FY2012.

Presented with this short- sighted strategy, a wise Dragon would have declared "I'm out".

Alex Wilsdon Jnr
Kilkenny

• I have been reading and listening to all the arguments on the upcoming Stability Treaty and I feel like I'm working in a vacuum.

The Government parties argue for a Yes while Sinn Fein and others favour a No vote. All of the parties have lost all credibility both here and in Europe.

Our politicians betrayed us by not acting on our behalf over the past quarter of a century. The political system that has let us down.

"Trust me, my children" and vote Yes. Trust me! We need a Government we can trust and a European system which speaks with one voice. We have neither and shame on Micheal Martin, Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore and Gerry Adams for allowing the situation to arise where the majority of the Irish people (I believe) want to do the right thing and vote with their hearts but are hamstrung by a lack of trust in the political system. Yes, shame on them all.

Damien Carroll
Kingswood, Dublin 24

Irish Independent