The Workers’ Party have called for the state funding of the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) to be stopped and accused the group of using public funds to campaign for a Yes vote in the Fiscal Treaty campaign.
Cork East Workers Party spokesman John Jefferies said that the IIEA is in receipt of up to €1 million in public funding every year under the pretext of being an independent think-tank. As a registered charity the IIEA also enjoys tax-free status. It has a “Committee of Honour” which includes former Taoisigh Brian Cowen and John Bruton and which until a few weeks ago also included Bertie Ahern, Albert Reynolds and Padraig Flynn whose names were removed from the IIEA website after the publication of the Mahon Tribunal.
“It is quite clear”, said Mr. Jefferies, “that the IIEA is a ginger-group for the EU establishment in Ireland. Its leaders have been prominent on the Yes side in every referendum and despite being described as an independent think-tank in its own propaganda, the IIEA has been far from independent on this issue. The substantial state funding of this body must be withdrawn, not least because it represents a probable breach of the McKenna Judgement which bans the spending of taxpayer’s money to fund one side or another in a referendum campaign”.
IIEA - got more than €3.5 million in taxpayers' money since 2008
The President of the Workers’ Party, Michael Finnegan, has branded financial ratings agencies such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s as “economic saboteurs” and said that they should keep their noses out of Ireland’s referendum on the Fiscal Treaty.
Mr. Finnegan was speaking after comments from a leading economist at Standard & Poor’s who had stated that a rejection of the Fiscal Compact by Irish voters in next month’s referendum could be a potential flashpoint for the Euro Zone.
“These rating agencies”, said Mr. Finnegan, “have no business interfering in the Irish referendum process. They are private companies who profit from the fall and rise of the stock markets. They have no official standing and are no more than tabloid racing pundits who get things wrong more often than right. Their actions in the build up to the current crisis poured petrol on the developing fire and their reputation has been tarnished beyond reprieve”.
Mr. Finnegan said that the government was trying to orchestrate a procession of doomsayers to terrify people into supporting the Fiscal Treaty despite the fact that none of these bodies have a good word to say about it.
The President of The Workers Party has welcomed the announcement yesterday (Monday) by the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) that it is to recommend a NO vote to its members ahead of the referendum on the Fiscal Treaty on May 31st.
Michael Finnegan said that he agreed with the TEEU that austerity is not working. “Day by day it is more apparent that the economic measures adopted by the Fine Gael / Labour Party coalition are making the most vulnerable in society pay the price for the bailing-out of the banks and the well-off”.
”Coming after the decision by MANDATE and UNITE unions to reject the Treaty it is now incumbent upon the Irish Congress of Trades Unions to reflect the widespread anger of trade unionists around the country who oppose the policies imposed by the EU, IMF and ECB Troika which are the cause of the misery and hardship which many thousands of working class families around the country are experiencing every day. The referendum on May 31st is the opportunity for the citizens of this state to say Enough is Enough”.
“It is the job of the ICTU” concluded Mr Finnegan ”to give leadership on this issue and put the interests and well being of its members ahead of those of the Labour Party by unequivocally calling for a No vote.”