Dáil debates

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

10:30 am

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Taoiseach will attend the informal summit of leaders from across Europe later today, at which it is imperative radical action is taken to restore confidence and growth across Europe. The situation today is graver than it has been at any time during the past three years. There is no more room for manoeuvre and delay. It is essential that Europe takes critical steps on three basic issues, namely, the sovereign debt crisis, which must be tackled by the establishment of a more secure and larger facility for the purchase of Government bonds; the financial crisis, by ensuring that banks are capitalised to a level which ensures their long term survival is unquestioned across Europe, including dealing with Irish bank and mortgage debt; and, the jobs crisis, by utilising the eurozone's enormous resources to deliver immediate job creating investment. Minimalist approaches are no longer acceptable. People in Ireland should and must vote "Yes" in the upcoming referendum because this will give us the most secure and cheapest access to the funding we need to retain public services and pay pensions in the years ahead. Europe is on a precipice and we must do nothing here to push it over the edge.

It is in that context that I believe we should take the debate to the people. Political leaders should be willing to engage in a national debate with those advocating a "Yes" vote and those advocating a "No" vote. Many voters remain undecided. Some polls suggest up to 30% of people are undecided. I believe a leaders' debate should be facilitated. We live in a democracy. I understand that invitations for such a debate have issued from RTE, the public service broadcaster which has a particular responsibility in this regard. TV3 attempted to organise a leaders' debate but leaders, with the exception of Deputy Joe Higgins and I, declined to participate. People expect leaders to engage. Will the Taoiseach confirm if, as indicated by a spokesperson yesterday, he has been invited by RTE to participate in a debate and what are his intentions in that regard?

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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The Taoiseach should escape from his handlers for once.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Higgins is doing a bit of handling these days himself.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I will deal any time with Deputy Higgins.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This is Leaders' Questions. Please allow the Taoiseach to respond to Deputy Martin's question.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I thank Deputy Martin for his public support, and that of his party, for a "Yes" vote on the referendum on the fiscal stability treaty. It is important there is no equivocation about this. It is of particular and fundamental concern for the future of our people and country.

This evening's informal meeting of European leaders is, I am glad to say, the realisation of the claims by quite a number of leaders for some time that Europe should focus on growth investment and job opportunities. It is important to note that this is a meeting of 27 leaders rather than of 25 leaders because growth affects all European Union countries. The opportunity and potential exists for the European Union to be the engine of trade in a global sense, to reduce the cost of business and to complete the Single Market. It also has potential in the digital area and to deal with the crisis issues in the eurozone in the context of the discussions on project bonds, eurobonds and other facilities to relieve pressure on sovereign Governments and to look at the broader spectrum of EU-US and EU-China trade relations. I expect leaders of the 27 countries will contribute to this evening's meeting on the growth agenda for the future. I am happy to participate in that debate from a national and European perspective.

I have no difficulty discussing the fiscal stability treaty. However, I turned down the invitation to appear on a particular programme for good reasons. RTE has invited me, as Taoiseach, to do a broadcast on Sunday following the Ard-Fheis contribution of the leader of Sinn Fein, Deputy Gerry Adams. However, I believe that to be predicated on how much time Deputy Adams devotes to the fiscal stability treaty issue on Saturday evening.

A Deputy:

Deputy Adams will have to read the treaty now.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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His contribution will be brief.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I am glad Deputy Martin raised the matter. Were I to cave in to the pressure that has been around for some days I would be elevating Deputy Adams to the position of Leader of the Opposition-----

Photo of Pádraig MacLochlainnPádraig MacLochlainn (Donegal North East, Sinn Fein)
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The Taoiseach has called him that at least ten times. He started this.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----which he is not. I have yet to hear Deputy Adams, as the leader of a political party, say he accepts the validity of the Irish Constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann. I am a little sceptical about much of what I hear from that side of the House.

We will consider these matters.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I am unclear as to the Taoiseach's response to my question.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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The Taoiseach is like Jedward.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I accept that today's meeting is extremely important. However, the debate here is equally important. I read in The Irish Times this morning that the Taoiseach's spokesman confirmed last night that the Taoiseach had received a request from RTE to participate in a leaders' debate.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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It must be true so.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The spokesman said the Taoiseach had received numerous requests. I asked the Taoiseach if he would confirm that he had received a request from RTE to participate in a debate. Fianna Fáil has inquired of RTE if there is to be a debate but has received no response in that regard. It is a fair question. I am not getting involved in any issue between the Taoiseach and Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin is holding its Ard-Fheis this weekend----

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Ammunition for Fianna Fáil.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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-----which I believe is the context of the invitation to the Taoiseach to do a broadcast. It is an unusual set of circumstances because normally political parties holding ard-fheiseanna are informed by RTE that if an Ard-Fheis takes place six weeks in advance of any general election there will be no coverage of it.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Can we have a supplementary question, please?

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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That would normally be the case but this is a change of tack in regard to how Sinn Féin is being treated. The Taoiseach has been invited but that is not really my point. That is for another day and other parties will also have issues about it in the fullness of time.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Do you have an issue?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Thank you, you are over time.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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What I am trying to get at here is the need for a genuine political debate between the political leaders on both sides who are advocating positions on the treaty. It is the fairest way to resolve any claims or counter-claims about lack of balance in how particular parties are treated or in terms of the campaign. More important, we should have the confidence in our position to be able to go on national television and debate the issues. People do not understand a reluctance to become involved.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, you are considerably over time. Do you have your supplementary question?

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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What about the Independents?

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Will the Taoiseach confirm that RTE has invited him to participate in a debate, as his spokesman stated last night?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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We need to reflect on this in the House in a general sense. Leaving the referendum and the treaty question aside for the moment, we need to look at what is happening in regard to referenda in general. Referenda are matters for the people to make decisions on; they are not about giving profiles to individual politicians. Irrespective of the public response in its votes for the different parties, that situation is never reflected in the case of a referendum. I have been through perhaps 22 of the Twenty-six Counties debating this publicly, in village halls, town halls and on the streets-----

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Not debating.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----and, indeed, meeting the professional dustbin bashers brigade in various locations around the country. Peaceful protest is perfectly legitimate in this country. I have no fear at all of dealing with public debate on this issue. However, I am not sure we should turn this into a crisis situation, offering more advantage for, shall we say, minority party views.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Fear.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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It is called democracy.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Adams had his fling on the "Frontline" debate-----

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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What side are you on, Finian?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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------with the Tánaiste and more than met his match.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Has RTE invited the Taoiseach?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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When the Deputy speaks of balancing the debate, if that were to be the case, I consider that I, the Tánaiste and the Deputy's good self would be more than a match for Deputy Adams. He would regard that as being very unbalanced, I am quite sure.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Let us have it.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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Throw the ball in, Taoiseach.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Ask Mr. Rabbitte to give us a song.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are over time, thank you.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I know an invitation has come for the Taoiseach to deliver an address on Sunday. I have not personally seen an invitation from RTE to participate in a debate.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I just wanted to confirm if RTE had invited the Taoiseach. That is all.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I have not seen any invitation-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Through the Chair, please.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----but I will confirm it to the Deputy after the Order of Business.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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The spindoctors will have it.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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The Independent Deputies should get an invitation as well.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Through the Chair, please.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I hear Deputy McGrath is on the "Yes" side in Clontarf.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Adams. Maybe we will all settle down now.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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Deputy McGrath does not know whether he is a "Yes" or a "No".

(Interruptions).

A Deputy:

Finian is debating with himself.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I do not know if you are hard of hearing. I called Deputy Adams. Thank you. I know the Deputy is very good. It is the man behind him.

A Deputy:

He could debate with Deputy Ross.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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I welcome the upcoming Sinn Féin Ard-Fheis. It is not that long since the Fianna Fáil, Labour and Fine Gael parties tried to stop us from meeting in ard-fheiseanna.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Do not waste your time. A question, please.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Welcome to democracy, Taoiseach.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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An armalite in one hand, the ballot box had not yet got-----

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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I also welcome the Taoiseach's newfound conversion to the growth and jobs agenda. When he came back to the Dáil on 14 December to report on the austerity treaty, he never once mentioned in his statement jobs or growth. He waxed lyrical and promoted the treaty around its budgetary discipline, reinforced budgetary rules for countries but there was no word about getting people off the dole and back to work. That is in spite of advice from Sinn Féin. He settled for much less that anybody else and now he is trying to play catch-up.

Is léir go dtugann an Taoiseach tacaíocht dos na beartais céanna a bhfuil teipthe orthu ar fud na hEorpa agus anseo in Éirinn.

Will the Taoiseach stand aside from these EU summits where he is very clearly out of his depth? Why does he not send Jedward to represent us? They might at least stand up for Ireland's interests.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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That would fit in well with Sinn Féin strategy.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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That is about as intelligent a comment as the Deputy has made so far on the treaty debate.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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As an elected representative of the House, perhaps Deputy Adams might tell us whether he accepts the validity of Bunreacht na h-Éireann.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Of course I do.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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Maith an fear.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Thank you. That is the first time I have heard the Deputy say that.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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More diversions. Answer the question.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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Never a member of the IRA.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Martin pointed out this is a change from the usual procedure in respect of the Sinn Féin Ard-Fheis but good luck to the Deputy.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Thank you, Taoiseach.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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We also wish good luck to Jedward in their-----

(Interruptions).

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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As to the rest of Deputy Adams's contribution, it does not merit any response-----

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Ask Deputy Rabbitte to give us a line of a song.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----because he was very badly exposed in his economics more than once in the last election.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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If he will pardon the pun, that is a bit rich given the mess the Taoiseach is making of our economy and that he believes that cutting-----

Photo of Ray ButlerRay Butler (Meath West, Fine Gael)
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I hope you read the report on the Antrim Area Hospital list.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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-----making savage cuts-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Thank you.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Given that he believes in savage cuts and given his failure to put money into jobs investment and have direct Government-led investment, instead putting money into banks, that is very bad economics. That is why he supports the austerity treaty. His is a party of austerity.

In terms of the debate, or the Taoiseach's failure to take part in one, does he not think it is very bizarre that, as Taoiseach, he will be allocated some time, proportionate to what I might say on this treaty at the Ard-Fheis?

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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It is called balance.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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He will then trot out and say his little bit and try to persuade people to say "Yes" to austerity, when people are sensible and will say "No" to it. The Taoiseach should remember it is a very good thing to say "No" to something that is not good for oneself, one's family, one's community, one's state or one's country.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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Say it to violence.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Would it not be more leaderly, for the Taoiseach, to come into a television studio and inform people, leaving his policies open to scrutiny by others and have a genuine informed debate, as opposed to the hecklefest he has in the Chamber? He could argue these points so that people can take an informed decision on 31 May? I certainly hope that people will vote "No".

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I completely reject the Deputy's assertions. It is also good to say "Yes" to access to money, to stability for investment.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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"Yes" to jobs.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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"Yes" to confidence for growth, to jobs, 1,000 of which have come to Dundalk, as a consequence of Paypal making its decision to invest money in this country.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Thirty per cent of our youth are unemployed.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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"Yes" to a continued line of investment, week after week, now running at more than 1,000 jobs announced per month because of investment in our country

Photo of Pádraig MacLochlainnPádraig MacLochlainn (Donegal North East, Sinn Fein)
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"Yes" to a debate.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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"Yes" to opportunities where Government can make decisions about having access to finance being made available for small and medium enterprises and small business to create jobs for our young people at home.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Then why not debate it?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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These are the positive reasons.

The Deputy, his representatives before him, his party outside, have come into this Chamber but they have never once supported any European Union treaty or any European measure. All he wants to do is to create publicity and garner support through protest. That is perfectly legitimate in this country. However, he has never supported a European Union issue.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Jobs.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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In fact, I had to drag out of him words of credit for a multinational that decided to put 1,000 jobs into his own town of Dundalk. It took the Deputy a long time to come round to recognising that people who are his constituents will have jobs in that plant.

This treaty, for from being about austerity, is about bringing stability, confidence, investment, growth and opportunity.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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It is not.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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If Deputy Adams does not recognise that we have to do good housekeeping to get our house in order-----

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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The Taoiseach should read what was said.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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That will never go away unless we fix it.

Photo of Pádraig MacLochlainnPádraig MacLochlainn (Donegal North East, Sinn Fein)
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Let us have a debate on it.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Mac Lochlainn spoke yesterday about inserting the entire treaty into the Constitution.

Photo of Pádraig MacLochlainnPádraig MacLochlainn (Donegal North East, Sinn Fein)
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What is the Taoiseach afraid of?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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That is the kind of hypocrisy I have to listen to from Sinn Féin.

Photo of Pádraig MacLochlainnPádraig MacLochlainn (Donegal North East, Sinn Fein)
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Let us have a debate.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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This is a debate.

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal South West, Sinn Fein)
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We had the blueshirts and now we have the yellowshirts.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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Nul points.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Boyd Barrett.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Let us hear the quiet man.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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He should speak up. We cannot hear him.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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Give us the Lisbon treaty jobs first - they are three years overdue.

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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No agreement, Joe.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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The Taoiseach should debate the treaty. He should stop hiding behind media soundbites.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy should know all about media soundbites.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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He always gets the last word during these brief Dáil exchanges. The people should get full information on all the issues pertaining to this treaty. The European Stability Mechanism is one of the central issues he has raised as an argument for supporting the treaty. He should take this opportunity to tell the people of this country the truth about the ESM. Will he admit the reality that we will be liable to pay up to €11 billion if we sign up to the ESM? That is what our liability will amount to.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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What will it be if we do not sign up?

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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That money is likely to end up bailing out Spanish banks.

Photo of Arthur SpringArthur Spring (Kerry North-West Limerick, Labour)
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Two plus two equals ten.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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After putting billions of euro into bailing out Irish banks, we will end up bailing out Spanish banks and other European banks. Where will we get the €11 billion from? That money is in addition to the €8 billion in cuts under the troika programme over the next three years, the €5 billion in cuts that are required to meet the deficit targets under the fiscal treaty and the billions in interest repayments on a debt that will be €200 billion by the time we exit the programme.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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The Deputy's answer is to default, to walk away and to let it all fall.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Will the Taoiseach admit that even if we pass the fiscal treaty, there is no guarantee that we will get money from the ESM? If the Spanish banks require recapitalisation, there might not be enough money in the ESM to provide assistance to this State if it requires it.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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It will be all gone.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Even if we can access money from the ESM, it will be subject to strict conditionality, which means more austerity will be shoved down the throats of the people of this country.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy is advocating the ESM.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Is he in favour of good housekeeping?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Can we have a question, please?

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Is it not incredible that the ESM gives complete immunity from legal prosecution to the board of governors of the ESM?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Would you ask a question, Deputy?

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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The ESM will pay no tax. All of its documentation will be inviolable from any sort of oversight or investigation.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask the Deputy again to ask a question. He is over time.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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That is what is in the treaty.

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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Rubbish.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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Ask a question.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Will the Taoiseach admit that the ESM is not an insurance policy for the Irish people? It is not a good reason to vote for the fiscal treaty.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Thank you.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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It is actually one of the best reasons to vote against the fiscal treaty.

Photo of Michael McCarthyMichael McCarthy (Cork South West, Labour)
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This is an opinion piece. The Deputy is not asking questions.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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It is not an insurance policy for the people of this country. It is an insurance policy for the banks and the speculators in Europe.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is over time. I will have to cut him off if he does not ask a question.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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It is a mechanism to shove more austerity down the throats of Irish citizens-----

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Is the Deputy in favour of good housekeeping?

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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-----and citizens across Europe.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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The Deputy thinks default is the answer.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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Is there austerity in St. Michael's?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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That hysterical rant was completely meaningless and without truth.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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It was a rant.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The last word always rests with the people. The people own this referendum. The independent Referendum Commission, chaired by Mr. Justice Feeney, is absolutely above reproach. It has been entirely objective, truthful and accurate in its comments to every citizen who has asked it a question about this treaty. The commission has made the point quite clearly that as the law has been passed, this referendum is the people's property. The people will have the last word. The chairman of the independent commission pointed out quite clearly on page 9 of the guide to the stability treaty that "the granting of financial assistance in the framework of new programmes under the European Stability Mechanism will be conditional, as of 1 March 2013, on the ratification of this Treaty by the Contracting Party ". Mr. Justice Feeney has confirmed that is the case. In other words, countries that ratify the treaty will have access to the European Stability Mechanism. Our contribution to the ESM is €1.2 billion. We contribute less than 2% of it. We have a place on the board. We have a say in how that money will actually be spent.

It is clear that the analysis of the Spanish banks which is to be carried out will bring factual evidence of what the situation there is. The Spanish Prime Minister, Mr. Rajoy, has been speaking about this. The ESM is the permanent bailout facility for the European countries. As the House is aware, it can be used where required for the payment of salaries and pensions and for the running of a country's services. I am not suggesting that it will be required. It is our intention to emerge from the programme as quickly as possible. In order for us to do that, clearly we have to acquire the confidence of the markets. We will not acquire the confidence of the markets, which are without sentiment or sympathy, by voting "No". A "Yes" vote here will guarantee access to the ESM if it is ever required. It will guarantee a continuation of the line of investment and confidence in this country for job creation. It will allow us to put our own regulations in place to ensure every future Government, like every Government across the entire eurozone, will have responsible budgeting and will not return to what we had in the past. I hope Deputy Boyd Barrett can understand what I am saying.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Is it not the truth that the Taoiseach is deceiving people?

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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Stop messing and tell the truth.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Ciúnas. Have some respect.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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According to the ESM treaty, which I have before me, "there may be paid out of the Central Fund or the growing produce of that Fund sums, aggregating to a sum not exceeding €11,145,400,000".

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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The important words are "not exceeding".

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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That is in the treaty.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should be asking a question, rather than giving information.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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The treaty also states that "if indispensable to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and of its Member States", then "the ESM may therefore provide stability support". If it "may" provide it, then it follows that it may not.

Photo of Arthur SpringArthur Spring (Kerry North-West Limerick, Labour)
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We do not have long to wait until 31 May.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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The point I am making is that "may" is not the same as "will".

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, please ask your question.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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The treaty also provides that "in the interest of the ESM, the Chairperson of the Board of Governors, Governors, alternate Governors, Directors, alternate Directors, as well as the Managing Director-----

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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Dr. Strangelove.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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-----and other staff members shall be immune from legal proceedings". That is what it says. It is incredible.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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It is not the only thing that is incredible.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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It is no wonder that the Taoiseach does not want to face the facts.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Will the Deputy ask a supplementary question? He is over time.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Will the Taoiseach-----

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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Will the Deputy speak louder? We cannot hear him.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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-----own up about the-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I will turn off the Deputy's microphone if he does not ask a question.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I started with "Will the Taoiseach", which means I was about to ask a question. Will he own up about the deception he is perpetrating on the Irish people about the real content of the ESM?

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Go away.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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It may cost us €11 billion to bail out the European banks.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, this is not a time for statements. This is Question Time.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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It is ranting time for the Deputy.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Will you ask a question?

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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We will have no control over this body. It will be immune from prosecution.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You are way over time, Deputy

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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It will not have to pay taxes.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask the Deputy to accept the Chair's ruling.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I asked a question.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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Is there any chance you will come back, Finian?

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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There is a lot of noise coming from the Government benches.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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As a subsidiary of Sinn Féin on this matter, Deputy Boyd Barrett is promoting the cause of the "No" side. It should be borne in mind that the Deputy and his group have been talking about sending the EU and the IMF home with their moneys. They then said the ESM should be vetoed.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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They said we should be like Greece.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Now they say we should use the ESM.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I do not say that. I have never said that.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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Joe said it.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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The Taoiseach should not confuse me with others on these benches.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Are you the leader of the group?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Through the Chair, please. We are over time.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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We never say that.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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It is too late for that.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Dublin South West, Labour)
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It is a lost cause.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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The Deputy should stop making up our argument.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy should read Joe's script again.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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They have said it will be all right on the night. They have suggested we will get plenty of money from the ESM at unknown rates of interest.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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We did not say that.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Adams refuses to explain how that can be done. There is no answer to that question.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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We did not say that.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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The Deputies opposite should stop shouting people down.

Photo of Arthur SpringArthur Spring (Kerry North-West Limerick, Labour)
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They are like Jedward.

Photo of Ray ButlerRay Butler (Meath West, Fine Gael)
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The Russian grannies.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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As Deputy Boyd Barrett is aware, the ESM treaty is a separate treaty from the fiscal stability treaty.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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The Taoiseach said we have to be able to access it.

11:00 am

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It will be the subject of a full discussion in this House. The Deputy can contribute in his own way to that discussion. As I have said, Ireland contributes €1.2 billion to this mechanism, or less than 2% of the total. We are represented on the board.

It is available for use for any country that might have a requirement to draw from it, a fact that has been confirmed in this fiscal stability treaty debate by the chairman of the independent Referendum Commission, who, as I said, is absolutely above reproach in this matter.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Shame the devil and tell the truth.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Boyd Barrett does not accept his word, neither does Deputy Adams. He puts forward these falsehoods all over this country, on posters in his name, which he knows are hypocritical and untruthful, to say the least.

A Deputy:

He is only confusing Finian.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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Finian is more confused now than when he came in.