Ireland votes to approve EU fiscal plan
Ireland has ratified the EU fiscal pact, providing some cheer for European leaders amid the eurozone crisis.
A clear 60-40 vote by the only electorate in Europe allowed to have its say on the treaty backed the EU reform programme aimed at imposing budget discipline on all 27 states of the union.
The Irish Republic’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, last night described the outcome of the referendum as a “stepping stone on the road to Ireland’s recovery” and called on fellow Europeans to help his country deal with the billions of euros of debt that was still crippling the Irish economy.
Despite four years of recession, anger over austerity budgets and fears over low turnout, Kenny’s Fine Gael and his Irish Labour party coalition partners won a yes vote with 60.3% of the electorate supporting the treaty and 39.7% voting against…
He said he had spoken to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and other EU leaders including the European council president Herman Van Rompuyabout the pain the Irish people were enduring as the government tried to restore the nation’s finances. “Europe’s banking sector needs a comprehensive solution and Ireland’s banking debt must form part of that solution. Europe badly needs a success story and Ireland can provide that success story if the right and proper framework is put in place,” Kenny said.
The vote was carried for the yes side mainly by the urban middle class and the country’s farmers, the latter being traditionally pro-Europe thanks to the largesse of the common agricultural policy. Rural constituencies with large farming communities voted strongly in favour of the treaty…
Fianna Fáil, the opposition party which backed the government’s call for a yes vote, accepted that the Irish people had reluctantly backed the treaty, fearing isolation and exclusion from emergency funds should the republic need a second bailout. Darragh O’Brien, leader of Fianna Fáil in Ireland’s second chamber, the senate, described it as a “grudging, pragmatic vote“.
Not a lot wrong with making pragmatic decisions whilst trudging out of the bowels of the worst economic disaster since World war 2. When people are back on their feet, jobs are easier to find, national treasuries are fit and up to standard – there will be plenty of time for sectarian confrontation. That the nation of Ireland is capable of coming together in times of need is in stark contrast to the conservative bombast inhibiting for-real unity in London and Washington, DC.