Yes vote 'essential for funding' - FG


Voting Yes to the Fiscal Treaty means Ireland would continue on a “strong, stable” road with guaranteed access to funding, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Voting No would mean taking the route of undermining our economy, creating a “lack of confidence and complete confusion”.

Speaking at the launch of the Fine Gael campaign at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin today, he said: “I do not want the Irish people to go that way.”

The Taoiseach said only a Yes vote gave Ireland guaranteed access to the European Stability Mechanism.

Mr Kenny described the terms of the Treaty as “good housekeeping”, adding that these rules would help ensure “that responsible budgeting becomes the norm throughout Europe”.

“Europe needs to develop a strong growth and jobs strategy,” he said, adding that these had “become central to the European Council agenda”.

Responding to a question as to whether the Government was engaging in “scare tactics”, arising from comments made earlier by Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, he replied: “Fine Gael will not involve itself in scare tactics.”

He added: “Minister Noonan, above anybody else, has had the unprecedentedly difficult challenge of facing an economic mess that no other minister before him ever faced.”

Asked if the Treaty could be changed after the referendum, in response to pressure from French Presidential frontrunner Francois Hollande, Mr Kenny said: “The Treaty has been accepted and agreed and signed-up for now by the countries, some of whom have already ratified.”

Mr Hollande had spoken of the need for a growth and investment agenda: “This is what we have been talking about at the European Council in the last number of months.

“And as a general principle I welcome the statements from other European leaders who now point to an addition to the Treaty in respect of growth and investment.”

Fine Gael’s director of Elections, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said it was “a hugely important referendum campaign”.

“What Fine Gael want to do is lead an alliance of political parties and people,” he added.

Pledging that it would be a “positive” campaign, he said the Government had a responsibility to give full information, so every home was getting a copy of the Treaty with an explanatory note.

Stressing the importance of ensuring access to “backstop” of the European Stability Mechanism by voting Yes in the referendum, he added: “In many ways this is a Treaty that is tailor-made for Ireland.”

The press conference was chaired by Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton who said: “I believe passionately in voting Yes, because so many of my friends of my generation now live abroad.”

She said there was “a moral obligation” to vote Yes, to help ensure that young people had a future.

“This decision is about people, not party politics or ideology,” Ms Creighton said.

She said she wanted to “acknowledge the help and support from Fianna Fáil”.

“Fianna Fáil should be given credit for their stance,” she added.