Taoiseach says Yes vote is 'insurance policy' for future


RATIFICATION OF the EU fiscal stability treaty would represent an insurance policy against future mismanagement of the State’s finances, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said yesterday.

Speaking at a jobs announcement in Dublin, Mr Kenny said the referendum was “a very important question” for the future of Ireland. “The advantage of ratifying the treaty with a very strong Yes vote is a continued insurance policy for Ireland for the future.”

He said a Yes vote would also provide “a guarantee that no government of the future will ever again run riot either with the people’s fortunes or with the people’s money”.

Mr Kenny linked continuing employment with a Yes vote.

“I hope that business leaders . . . will be able to say quite openly that they believe in what they do, they appreciate the work and the employment that these firms give, and for that reason they want that to continue and will, as a consequence, vote Yes.”

Separately, Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton said it was “a little bit insulting to the intelligence of Irish people” to suggest the debate on the referendum had not been given sufficient time.

She said preparations for an information campaign on the treaty were at an advanced stage and discussion of the matter had been ongoing across the country since January.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said this week that May 31st was too soon to hold the referendum. It would have been more reasonable to allow at least an extra month for the debate and to increase efforts to engage the public.

Ms Creighton said perhaps Mr Martin feared what the outcome of the vote on the treaty, which seeks to introduce stricter rules on public debt and budget deficits across the EU, might be.

“I think it is a little bit insulting to the intelligence of Irish people to suggest that a debate that essentially began last January cannot conclude by May 31st.

“I think that it’s for us and for those in political parties and all walks of life who have an interest in seeing this referendum pass to get out and campaign and advocate a Yes vote emphatically.”

She was “very confident” that a Yes vote could be secured in the referendum if the correct information was circulated, and she did not fear the outcome.

“Everybody who has an interest in seeing young people have opportunities in the future – they need to get out and advocate a Yes vote. It can’t just be left to the Government and political parties. It needs to be much broader.”

Ms Creighton was speaking at a conference on Ireland’s upcoming EU presidency hosted by the European Movement Ireland and the Institute of Public Affairs.

Ireland will hold the presidency from January to June of next year.

Ms Creighton said holding the EU presidency next year would give Ireland a chance to demonstrate that “we are a constructive and committed member state that belongs at the very heart of the EU decision-making process”.

Geraldine Byrne Nason, second secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach, said the impression from Brussels was that “the gloss” had gone off Ireland following the country’s economic collapse.

She said Ireland’s holding the presidency would give the State a chance to make a positive impression on the world stage again as it would, hopefully, coincide with a return to bond markets and the end of Ireland’s bailout programme.