The Referendum

What we are voting on ultimately comes down to the availability of funds to pay our State’s bills. Over three quarters of the monies required are devoted to Social Welfare, Pensions and salaries for Health Services and Education. At present taxes collected only pay 70% and the State has to borrow the remaining 30%, well over €1 billion every month. A “yes” vote gives us a secure source of funding at a very reasonable interest rate while we address the 30% gap. A “no” vote means we have to start again in trying to find a source of funds to fill the gap. Two things are for certain if we vote “no”. Firstly nobody will lend us all the money we require to fill that 30% gap. This will inevitably lead to the need to adopt further harsh, perhaps extreme, budgetary measures. Secondly the interest rate on any loans we do manage to negotiate will be higher than our current arrangements, further widening the gap.

The argument that we should use a “no” vote as a bargaining chip to cut our bank debt is not logical. Since our vote isn’t holding up anything else, the rest of Europe doesn’t care what we do so we don’t have any bargaining chips in this case. Furthermore failure to accept what’s on offer is just as likely to harden attitudes against us and make a future re-negotiation significantly more challenging.

The new focus across Europe towards an enhanced set of growth measures is positive. We have enough issues to be dealing with without scoring the ultimate “own goal” just before the Euro Championships commence. We ask you to exercise your right to vote on this matter of great importance to all our futures. Reflecting the views of affiliated Chambers of Commerce around Ireland, we also ask for a resounding “yes”.

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