Speech by FG Leader, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, at the launch of the Party’s Stability Treaty Referendum Campaign.

1st May, 2012

Welcome to the launch of Fine Gael’s national campaign in favour of the European Stability Treaty.

For the next month, Fine Gael will campaign in every city town and parish in Ireland to ask people to vote Yes for Ireland.

To give us their authority to ratify this treaty, and in doing so, take another positive and important step towards economic recovery.

Our campaign will be based on truth and on informing people of the positive reasons why they should support this treaty.

I hope that those who are campaigning for a No vote similarly confine their arguments to the facts.

The Fine Gael/Labour Party partnership government was given a big mandate by the Irish people just 14 months ago.

Since then, we have worked hard to stabilise Ireland’s economy and to get the country pointed in the right direction again.

We have made a solid start, but there is a long way to go.

Some of the measures we have had to take have been painful for people but it is clear that these sacrifices are starting to make a difference.

Our public finances are coming under control. Unemployment, though still far too high, is stabilising.

Growth, although modest, has returned to the Irish economy. Our budgetary plans for the coming years are predicated on an improving pace of growth, built on continued investor confidence, confidence that can only be strengthened by a Yes vote.

We are continuing to improve the terms and cost of our Troika programme.

The international standing of Ireland is being restored. We are now seen as a country that is on the right track and serious about tackling our problems.

This has led to increased international confidence in Ireland as a place in which to invest and in which to do business.

I believe that there are three key reasons to Vote Yes on 31st May.

Firstly, a Yes vote is the best way of ensuring that the strong flow of investment in jobs that we have seen in recent months continues and grows.

Throughout my recent visits to the United States, China and elsewhere, the consistent message from both political and business leaders is that they see certainty about Ireland’s place as a member of the Eurozone as a crucial element of Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for investment.

In recent months alone, numerous multinational companies have shown their confidence in Ireland by committing to new investments here that will create thousands of new jobs.

The recent days alone, I have visited companies like Amgen in Dun Laoghaire, Apple in Cork, Transaero in Shannon, and Cisco in Galway, all of whom have decided to hire more employees.

I want to continue and grow this strong flow of inward investment in the future…for our future.

A strong Yes will create the stability and certainty needed for that to happen.

Secondly, only a Yes vote will give Ireland guaranteed, permanent access to Europe’s permanent rescue fund – the European Stability Mechanism.

I want Ireland to have the same access as all other Euro countries to this insurance policy, which is another critical reassurance for investors and potential investors in Ireland.

Thirdly, a Yes vote will ensure that good housekeeping rules are put on place so that responsible budgeting becomes the norm throughout Europe.

This will ensure that no future government, here or elsewhere in Europe, will be able to behave recklessly and arrogantly with the people’s money.

While ratifying this treaty is an important step towards recovery, the creation of budget rules alone will not be enough to solve Europe’s economic problems.

Throughout the Eurozone crisis, I have consistently argued that Europe needs to develop a growth and jobs strategy alongside these new rules.

We must put a real focus on the potential of the single European market for the creation of jobs for our people.

I am pleased to say that, following pressure from several heads of government, including myself, growth and jobs have now become central to the agenda of the European Council.

This argument is being accepted by more and more governments and I welcome all statements by other leaders who support Ireland’s view that a growth strategy is an essential ingredient for European economic recovery.

In conclusion, I want to ensure the Irish people that we will do everything we can to ensure that they have all the information they need to make an informed decision on 31st May.

This decision is a vitally important one for Ireland’s future.

The issue at stake in this referendum is straightforward: will we do what is needed to keep getting jobs back and get Ireland working?

And I am confident our people will reject the idea that we can stand outside of Europe; put our recovery funds at risk; undermine the European economy that helps lift our own; and alarm the international companies and investors we rely on for new jobs.  

I am confident they will instead approve this Treaty, which will ensure other EU members follow the same sound budget rules we ourselves have now adopted, build confidence in both Europe and Ireland, and ensure that investment and jobs keep flowing into our country.

This referendum offers this country a vital and unique opportunity to send out a powerful signal around the globe that Ireland is facing the future with certainty and confidence