Sub-Committee on the Referendum on the Intergovernmental Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union Debate: Held 5th April 2012, full text of speech available here
We will have an opportunity to discuss other issues in regard to the future of Europe. These hearings are specifically on the fiscal treaty.
I note and respect what Mr. Ganley had to say on issues such as banking and so on and I am sure many would agree with him. He is pro-federal Europe, which would not be of great benefit to Ireland. We are in a unique position. The 27 member countries are unique. The United States of America was formed following a period of civil war. The European Union has been good to Ireland and vice versa. The system, in terms of banking, worked up to the last couple of years. Mr. Ganley has set out clearly what happened in that regard and I do not intend to go over that ground.
Does Mr. Ganley propose to form a party which will put its views on a federal Europe before the people at the next general election? The debate at that time will be on whether the people agree with that view. Mr. Ganley stated the European Union would have a monopoly of external action, soft and hard. Those are extreme views which do not particularly assist Ireland. I say this in the context of the great results achieved during my time as Minister of State with responsibility for trade. We are an English speaking nation on the edge of Europe, which brings us tremendous advantages.
I respect Mr. Ganley’s views on the treaty but believe that, on balance, it is in the interests of Ireland that the people vote “Yes”. I do not see any advantage in voting “No”. We have no source of funding available to us other than through the European structures. As stated by the Chairman, Ireland will shortly be assuming the Presidency of the European Union, at which time we can have further debates on the future of the Union