I remind the Minister that I spoke last night on the importance of ensuring the Bill is worded as simply as possible in a language the people can understand. The wording of some of the previous treaties have been complicated and difficult to understand. The key words used in this treaty are simple and understandable.
We must deal with the facts. There is no point in dealing with lies. Members of the public must be able to discern what are the facts and what are untruths. I will highlight some of the truths. The truth is that we must balance our books. Regardless of what type of economy we have, it is vital that we balance our books. The original treaty in 1993 when the Single Market Act came into force and the Maastricht Treaty with the formation of the EMU dealt with many of the structural concerns people have. The facts are being distorted by the Opposition. I heard Deputy Colreavy mention yesterday that if we vote “Yes” in the referendum on the treaty that hundreds of thousands of people will emigrate. The fact of the matter is simple. Some 42,000 people emigrated from this country last year but there was net immigration into the country of 32,000. It is difficult, therefore, to comprehend that a Member would say that hundreds of thousands of people will emigrate as a result of the ratification of this treaty. The Deputy also said that unemployment is increasing but we all know the statistics show that currently there is a slight decrease in the level of unemployment. The Deputy mentioned that by 2015 one in ten people will be unemployed but currently one in seven people are unemployed. Therefore, that will lead to a decrease in unemployment.
Deputy Mary Lou McDonald stated that none of the economists came out in support of the treaty. I find that extraordinary when an eminent economist, Mr. Seamus Coffey, from UCC, wrote:
Of the internal imbalances it can be seen that Ireland was almost consistent in its breaching of the thresholds for the annual increase [this was during the boom period] in real house prices, the annual increase in private sector credit and the stock of the private sector credit. These are symptoms of the credit-fuelled property boom that existed in Ireland at the time. Given the large and persistent imbalances that can be seen it is very likely that this internal scorecard would have triggered an Excessive Imbalance Procedure.
During the boom time there would have been checks and balances in the treaty that was in existence at the time that could have ensured the current recession would not be as serious.
Mr. Coffey further wrote: “The expenditure rule would have put the country in a much stronger fiscal position to absorb the deficit and debt problems the crisis has created and it is likely we would have avoided entering an EU/IMF programme.” He was basically saying that if we were part of the treaty that was in place at the height of the boom, we would still have our financial sovereignty today.
I plead with people to deal with the facts. It is vital we vote “Yes” for this treaty because future Governments must not put us back into the situation with which we are now dealing.