Ritchie: ‘SDLP to back ‘Yes’ vote in EU Referendum’

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Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
SDLP Intergovernmental Affairs spokesperson Margaret Ritchie has told an Oireachtas committee that her party will be backing the Yes campaign on the new EU Treaty when she gave evidence to them last week. The South Down MP addressed the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on the Intergovernmental Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union. In her statement to the group, she advocated backing the treaty, but cautioned against excessive austerity measures at the expense of measures to grow the Republic’s economy. She also said that efficiency savings can be made by strengthening North-South cooperation on a variety of areas. Speaking to Newry Times after the meeting, Ms Ritchie said: “The Dublin government had a stark choice to make when the economic downturn came along: a bail-out that would increase debt or a default that could ruin the nation. We believe the right track was taken and we welcome the broad thrust of the Intergovernmental Treaty, though we cannot deny that there are certain technical shortcomings in it, as well as an over-reliance on austerity as the panacea to all economic ills.” She continued, “However, it is my contention, and that of the SDLP, that the best way forward is to accept the Treaty, negotiate round its shortcomings and ensure that, where austerity measures are necessary, they exist only to underpin stability while the government relentlessly pursues economic growth.” “It is imperative that all parts of the island work together to find ways of ameliorating the all-island economic situation, therefore it makes sense that strong North-South cooperation should be entered into in areas such as education, infrastructure, telecommunications and energy so that both sides of the border can benefit. Likewise, we would urge Europe as a whole to use the Republic’s attractive rate of corporation tax as the EU-wide model.” “Cooperation breeds reconciliation and reconciliation breeds unity. As a party which seeks to bring about a new, agreed and prosperous Ireland for all its people, we believe that securing the economic recovery of the Republic is a key part of our vision and therefore, while we note the shortcomings of the Treaty, we back the Dublin government as they campaign for its acceptance by the people,” she added.
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