Speech by An Taoiseach on the Stability Treaty Referendum.

14th May, 2012

 

The referendum on the Stability Treaty on 31 May gives the Irish people an opportunity to create the stability and certainty needed
to continue on the road to economic recovery.
A Yes vote will bring real benefits to Ireland by creating confidence for the multi-national companies and who make the investments
that create jobs.
The Fine Gael/Labour Party partnership government was given astrong 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.
I acknowledge that 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.
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, numerous multi-national companies have shown their confidence in Ireland by committing to new
investments here that will create thousands of new jobs.
During the past few weeks alone, I have visited companies like Amgen in Dun Laoghaire, Apple in Cork, Transero in Shannon, Cisco in
Galway, and SAP in Dublin – 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.
It is essential that the debate is one based on the truth, rather than on fiction.
It is important to note what this Treaty does not contain. It has nothing that would enable Europe to end Ireland’s low corporate
tax rate. It has nothing that would enable other Europeancountries to impose specific service cuts or charges on Ireland.
Contrary to what has been alleged by some on the No side, the preparation of the annual budget will remain the responsibility of
the elected Irish government.
Those will remain sovereign decisions for Ireland.
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?
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.