Paul Murphy’s Unpublished Letter to the Irish Times after criticism of him in their 29th of Feb Editorial


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Paul Murphy’s Unpublished Letter to the Irish Times after criticism of him in their 29th of Feb Editorial

Paul Murphy’s letter written as a response to the Irish Times editorial of 29th of February which criticised the comments he made on the Fiscal Treaty. The Irish Times didn’t publish the letter.

As your editorial of 29 February suggested, there is already an attempt to encourage people to vote on issues other than the content of the the Fiscal Treaty before us. This attempt comes not from the Left opposition to the Treaty, but from the government and the establishment media. Exhibit A: that very editorial, which welcomes the Taoiseach’s description of it as an ‘essential building block in Ireland’s recovery’. Exhibit B: the Tanaiste’s suggestion that it is a vote for ‘economic stability and economic recovery and an ‘opportunity to go beyond casino capitalism’. Exhibit C: the Taoiseach’s statement that it is an ‘opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to responsible budgeting’.

Let us engage in a debate on the text. Article 3 provides for a structural deficit of a maximum of 0.5%. Ireland’s projected structural deficit in 2015 according to the Department of Finance will be 3.7%. To meet the target in one year (if the Commission was to demand it), would mean additional cuts and austerity of €5.7 billion. To meet the target over a number of years, would mean an extension of the grinding austerity that is already destroying lives and economies across Europe. It is not a Treaty for economic stability, it is a Treaty for synchronised institutionalised austerity across Europe.

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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email:

2 Responses

  1. Jonathan

    March 1, 2012 1:47 pm

    The “Peoples [sic] opportunity to reject austerity at the ballot box”, was how Socialist MEP Paul Murphy described the battle ahead. To its credit Fianna Fáil was not playing their game. It will support the treaty.”
    It’s always nice to see The Irish Times drop the mask and let slip its true callousness, which reflects the callousness of its target audience (the upper middle classes and the professions). Opposition to this appalling treaty is not ‘a game’ for those who will be on the receiving end of its viciousness. Simply put, if this treaty is implemented, thousands of Irish citizens will die prematurely. I don’t believe this to be hyperbole. The cuts demanded will collapse our (already strained) public health system, leading to waits of such length that people will die of preventable diseases, especially as savage cuts to welfare will destroy people’s health more rapidly. As life becomes intolerable due to unbearable debts, hundreds (possibly thousands) will commit suicide, either directly or by substance abuse and self-neglect. Rising fuel costs and cuts to pensions will see a wave of elderly (and other) people freezing to death in winters like 2010-11. Rising fuel costs, combined with welfare cuts, will mean that many of the poor won’t be able to afford electricity for more than a few hours a day, and studying by candle light without a proper meal inside them will become a standard for those children at the bottom of society (if they’ll bother at all, seeing as college costs will be to much for them anyway and there’ll be no jobs at the end of it). I imagine that the rule of law will begin to break down as deprived areas across the state become increasingly violent and desperate (especially as the Gardai won’t be immune to cuts, and those left will be employed in ensuring that the deprived, hungry proles don’t invade the leafy suburbs of the well-off). Am I being overly pessimistic here? I don’t think so…

  2. Des Derwin

    March 3, 2012 3:37 pm

    Well, is this where we have arrived at?

    The ‘Irish Times’ declines to a) publish a letter from an MEP, even though b) it is a reply to criticisms in an editorial of his views.