Kenny says No vote would bring Ireland unwanted uncertainty


TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny has made two major public appeals for a Yes vote in Thursday’s referendum, arguing a rejection of the fiscal treaty would bring “uncertainty at a time Ireland definitely doesn’t need it”.

Mr Kenny made a short live televised address on RTÉ last night, saying a Yes vote would give the stability and certainty the country now needs. In an opinion piece in The Irish Times today, the Taoiseach has said he was not “claiming that life will be much easier” but a Yes vote was an essential part of the solution to the ongoing crisis.

He also criticised the No side for “its politics of negativity, of defeat, of opportunism and of fantasy economics”. Mr Kenny was invited by RTÉ to deliver the address last night to achieve balance in the broadcaster’s coverage of the referendum.

This was necessary following the live coverage of Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams’s address to his party’s ardfheis on Saturday. The Taoiseach has been criticised in some quarters for refusing to take part in live televised debates during the campaign and as yet has given no indication as to whether or not he will appear in the final debate on RTÉ’s Prime Time tomorrow night.

The Taoiseach’s speech lasted 4½ minutes, a little longer than the estimated four minutes devoted to the treaty in Mr Adams’s address.

Mr Kenny’s delivery was low-key, and he focused primarily on the positive effects of ratifying the treaty.

He did not directly criticise claims made by the No campaign other than to argue that the treaty had nothing to do with Ireland’s low rate of corporation tax and that it could not allow any other country to impose service cuts or charges on Ireland.

Writing in today’s Irish Times, Mr Kenny is more direct in his arguments, asserting that access to European Stability Mechanism funds will be contingent on a Yes vote. He also challenges the No side to spell out the consequences of a rejection.

“Exactly how is austerity going to disappear magically if we vote No, when in 2012 we’re spending €13 billion more than we are raising? How are our gardaí, our Defence Forces, our schools, our hospitals and our social protection going to be paid?”

Mr Kenny’s appeals come as a number of opinion polls over the weekend indicated the Yes side still commands a significant lead.

The polls for Sunday newspapers by Red C, Behaviour and Attitudes and Millward Brown Lansdowne echoed the findings of the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll, published on Saturday, which showed the Yes campaign, at 39 per cent, had maintained its lead over the No side, at 20 per cent.

However, all polls showed that a significant minority of voters remained undecided.