April 27 (EIRNS)–In mid-April, Thomas Pringle TD
(Independent) announced that he had taken legal proceedings
challenging the Irish government on fundamental aspects of the
European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the Stability,
Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union
(Fiscal Compact) Treaties.
Pringle stated that he is of the opinion that both treaties
raise serious legal difficulties, both at the level of EU treaty
law and Irish Constitutional law.
Nina Ogden of EIR magazine interviewed Deputy Pringle on April 27
on the progress of his legal challenge on the referendum on what
is known as the austerity treaty, which is scheduled for a May 31
vote. This interview will appear in the May 4 issue of EIR Magazine
Here is a pre -publication preview of this very important interview:
EIR: What is the status of your legal challenge?
Pringle: The State has just notified us that they will defend
the case. My legal team will discuss a timetable with them today.
My legal team will emphasize a sense of urgency given the fact
that the referendum is scheduled for May 31. If they will not
respond to this urgency, we would go to the high court early next
EIR: Are you looking for something like what we in the U.S.
would call a temporary restraining order on the referendum?
Pringle: We are saying that they they cannot hold a
referendum in which they [would be] violating the normal
procedures to amend EU treaties. The normal procedure is that
there is discussion among the Council of Ministers, and then the
Council of State, and then you go to a national referendum. This
is the normal case. Then there is a procedure which was introduced
the previous Lisbon treaty called a simplified procedure. This is
what the Government and EU are using now. We are saying that the
simplified procedure is illegal in this case, and the normal
procedure should have been used.
We are making clear that the Government must undergo the
normal procedure to ratify the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)
which amends article 136 of the EU law.
We are also asking the court to look at the legality of the
European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). One is dependent on
the other. The EFSF and ESM are intertwined, dependent on each
EIR: Logic doesn’t seem to enter into either the EFSF or the
ESM. The Government seems to be in a rush to push this through.
Pringle: My legal team will be talking to the state’s legal
team over the weekend. If there is no agreement, then I would
expect we will go to the high court Monday or Tuesday.
EIR: I’m sure your case will be watched carefully across all
of Europe, as there has been so much resistance to the EFSF and
ESM, especially since the French elections.
Pringle: This is very important. Among other countries, you
know, there are constitutional challenges in Germany itself, as
well as in the Estonian constitutional court. And, of course,
there is the government of the Netherlands that has just fallen
over the issue of austerity. Since the election in France this
will probably happen even more.
EIR: Is the YES camp in the Referendum left with even a leg
to stand on?
Pringle: The only tactics they have are fear tactics.
They’ll scare people, telling them there will be no more cash in
the cash machines. They won’t be able to pay the gardai .
Ireland could never get any money from the EU, etc. Fear is a
very powerful weapon. The responsibility is on us who are urging
a NO vote to try and encourage people to think things through and
to vote with their heads rather than with the fear in their
EIR: It is as Franklin Delano Roosevelt said to the people
of the U.S. when he took office during the Great Depression: “I
wish to reassert my firm belief that the only thing we have to
fear is fear itself.”
EIR: We’ll be watching carefully to see the results of your
challenge over the coming days. The best of luck to you.
Pringle: Thank you.