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Why a left hook on treaty would be a knockout blow for economy

Sinn Fein and other politicians of the left wing have attempted to classify the European fiscal treaty, to be put to the people in an upcoming referendum, as the 'austerity treaty'.

The intonation they promote is that the referendum should be regarded as a simple Yes or No to the concept of austerity itself. This should sharply be regarded as a disingenuous basis for campaigning. If the treaty is defeated, the extent of austerity observable in this country is, if anything, likely to be greater.

The cutting off of ESM funding would be significant in that -- although it is strongly hoped Ireland will not need to avail of an additional bailout from this mechanism -- the removal of the possibility that Ireland could draw on such funding would dent confidence and prompt investor concern.

Failure of the treaty to pass would hurt Irish attempts to return to the bond markets by 2013 and potentially lead to a situation where austerity measures here would have to be implemented more urgently than is currently the case.

It is clear that left-wing parties have a significant incentive to oppose the treaty, as such a viewpoint appeals to a constituency that is disaffected as regards Europe.

Perhaps it is too much to hope that it would consider putting forward views that are in the national interest, instead of inferring that a No vote would lead to an improvement in the daily lives of Irish citizens, when demonstrably it will not.

John Kennedy
Goatstown, Dublin 14

Irish Independent