I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this debate. I find it confusing that a number of Independent Members have not signed the motion. We will never find out if they are in favour of it, but they come from both sides.
There have been five referendums in the past ten years in this country and plenty of opportunity for public debate. The last referendum on the fiscal compact was the only one which focused on what we are discussing, namely, the eurozone and the consequences of managing our public debt. Previous debates have taken place across the spectrum. The first Lisbon treaty referendum in 2008 was defeated. One could see that the public was worried about the fact we might lose our Commissioner and 12.5% corporation tax rate. They were sidetracks to the issues raised in the current public debate.
It is also confusing to hear Independent Members say we should leave the eurozone. Only last week the Conservative Party in the UK introduced a Bill which was probably designed to look after its eurosceptics and UKIP. Can I assume that the ragtag group of Independents be now called the Irish republican independent party? Based on the motion before the House, do they want to pull us out of the eurozone?
Deputy Ross is clearly very confused on this issue. He voted against the fiscal stability treaty. Yet, on a Second Stage debate on the Lisbon treaty on 1 May 2008 in the Seanad, he said, “On the whole, Europe has been good for Ireland and if gratitude exists in politics let us be grateful for what it has done for us. Much of the structural funding went in our favour. We are net receivers of money and donations for very long time.” When I look at the people here who are trying to bring us out of Europe, and I find Deputy Ross was on his knees praising it, I become extremely confused.
I welcome the debate. The Taoiseach and Tánaiste bring information back on a monthly basis about the European Council meetings that take place. As far as I am concerned, sufficient debate is taking place. Matters are also in the public domain on a regular basis. We have had five referendums in the past ten years. Calling for further public scrutiny and debate seems to be a waste of time.