The government is seeking to avoid holding a referendum on the Austerity Treaty that it wants to sign Ireland up to. This is a Treaty which will institutionalise austerity policies and represents a further significant attack on democratic rights. The “balanced budget” rule will legally oblige governments to impose yet more savage cutbacks and attacks in order to meet the target of a maximum of 0.5% structural deficit. Austerity has already failed in Ireland and across Europe.
Enshrining it in a Treaty and in national law in this way will be disastrous. The government is scared of this going before the people because of the verdict that people may pass, given their experience of EU/IMF imposed austerity so far. In an opinion poll in the Sunday Business Post, 72% said this Treaty should be put to a referendum. If thousands of people sign the petition, it can help create the massive political pressure that will be needed to force the government to hold a referendum. The petition and full list of signatories will then be handed in to the Office of the Taoiseach.