Cllr James Keogh faces possible censure from the Fine Gael party after the Longford Town Mayor said he would be voting ‘no’ in the upcoming Fiscal Stability Treaty.
In a statement to this paper, a spokesperson for Fine Gael said, “The party is aware of the situation and the matter is currently under investigation.”
Cllr Keogh made it clear he was opposing the treaty on the grounds that the referendum marks the last chance for the people of Ireland to get any sort of deal on bank debts.
“Now is the time for the government to negotiate a deal on the banking debt. People are not going to accept the austerity any longer.
“From here on in, our budgets are going to be controlled by Europe – which is fine if our government thinks it’s not fit to run the country themselves. But this referendum doesn’t just affect our generation but all future generations,” Cllr Keogh said.
“We are losing the right to write our own budget in this treaty, and do people want that? Maybe now because of the way we are but if we ever come out of this situation we will be paying for it forever.”
The local publican said he had no issue with the introduction of the household and water charges, as well as the potential merger of some Town and City Councils in order to balance the country’s books, but said the treaty represented the last time for Ireland to put its cards on the table and challenge the status quo.
The Town Mayor’s stance is completely at odds with the Fine Gael party who are campaigning aggressivily for a ‘yes’ vote. However, Cllr Keogh said he had not been contacted by Fine Gael headquarters since he revealed he was voting ‘no’ at a recent Town Council meeting. The story featured in the national papers on Sunday.
Cllr Keogh insisted he will not change his mind, even if he is contacted by the party.
“I’m not out there canvassing for a ‘no’ vote but what are we really talking about here? Everyone is up in arms but we’re all individuals. It’d be a sad day if people were told to shut up and keep their opinions to themselves.”
“Everyone is expected to follow like sheep, but I don’t believe in that, he added.”