Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has spoken out against the Government’s new deal with the European Union, saying that Ireland’s record contribution to EU funds amounts to “supporting everyone’s recovery except our own”.
The Government signed off on the deal in Brussels yesterday, and it will see Ireland becoming the fifth largest net contributor to the EU in cash terms, and the second largest in terms of head of population, with the Government committing to spend a sum that amounts to €3,201 for every man, woman, and child in financial obligation to the EU.
Toibin said that the country was already highly indebted, and that this new deal would add to it:
“Our national debt stands at well over €200 billion. That amounts to over €42’000 for every man, woman and child in this country, or over €90’000 for every worker in the economy. That is the third highest per capita level of debt in the world, surpassed only by the US and Japan….
… Ireland will make a net contribution of €15.7 billion euros to the EU deal over 7 years (making us the 5th largest contributor after France, Germany, Sweden & Holland – despite 1% of the EU’s population).
This amounts to 4.5% net contribution of our GDP. Austria, Germany, Holland, Sweden & Denmark all secured rebates on their contributions to the EU budget ranging from €377 million to €1.6 billion. We secured no such rebate. We received a reduced agricultural budget, a reduced CAP allocation, and a slice of the Brexit fund alongside all other member states – in return for no contribution rebates, and our per capita contribution exponentially increasing.”
Despite making up only 1% of the EU population, we are the second highest contributor. We are going to have to make up for the shortfall in CAP payments out of our own funds. And we secured no rebate on our contributions to the EU budget. The fruits of Irish labours will be felt across Europe, but not at home. We are supporting everyone else’s recovery but our own.
By contrast, Taoiseach Micheál Martin told RTE that the deal was “unprecedented but necessary”:
The Taoiseach said that Ireland is taking a “constructive, activist role” to ensure that a package of this scale is delivered that will enable member states, particularly those who are under pressure from Covid-19, to be in a position to respond to it and help their economies recover from it.
“We all benefit from the single market. We all benefit from the opportunities that the European Union opens up.