MEPs welcome referendum result


Irish EU commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said the vote for the fiscal treaty was a strong statement of support for the restoration of stability in the euro zone.

In a statement this afternoon as tallies showed the referendum was likely to be passed, Ms Geoghegan-Quinn said international investors would now see Ireland as a safe and secure bet.

“This will certainly speed up Ireland's return to the financial markets and it will give us the same benefits as other signatories to the fiscal treaty,” she said.

Ms Geoghegan-Quinn - who holds the research, science and innovation portfolio in the Commission – said euro zone stability would speed up economic recovery in Ireland and the wider EU.

“Remaining an active and central member of the euro zone is very important for maintaining employment, creating new jobs and securing more investment into Ireland,” she said.

“Equally, developing a positive growth agenda in Europe goes hand-in-hand with responsible budgetary housekeeping rules that are contained within the provisions of the fiscal treaty.”

Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell said the EU should reciprocate Ireland’s demonstration of judgement and responsibility with solidarity.

He also said remarks by European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on the possibility of using the ESM fund to directly recapitalise banks should be “at the centre” of discussions in the next EU summit at the end of the month.

“Ireland continues to implement difficult economic decisions to bring the public finances under control. The growth agenda must now take centre stage across the EU,” he said.

Austrian MEP Hannes Swoboda, leader of the Socialist group in the European Parliament, said the Irish people had taken their responsibilities towards Europe seriously in the face of strong pressure from financial markets.

Mr Swoboda said the Socialist group – to which Labour is affiliated – have made it clear that fiscal treaty should be strengthened by a growth pact.

“While the eurozone is facing recession and a record level of unemployment, we need investment to boost job creation across Europe,” he said.

“In our view, austerity has led the EU on the wrong path and we expect European leaders during their June summit to change the direction of Europe towards more growth and employment.”

French MEP Joseph Daul, chief of the centre-right group in the European Parliament, said vote marked a Yes to “debt reduction” for Ireland.

"The citizens of Ireland have reaffirmed their commitment to a strong, unified Europe,” said the leader of the European People’s Party, to which Fine Gael is affiliated.

“With a majority voting in favour of ratifying the Treaty, they have said Yes to stability, Yes to debt reduction and Yes to economic growth.”

Mr Daul said the strength of the Yes vote was a significant confidence boost for Europe itself.

“As the only Member State to hold such a vote, the resulting decision will assure major investors and global policy-makers of Ireland's commitment to renewed prosperity,” he said.