Belfast Telegraph

Gilmore: Nothing taken for granted

The Government has insisted it will not take anything for granted in the stability treaty referendum.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said a new poll that found 39% of voters are still undecided over the European fiscal compact will push the coalition to ensure more information will be made available than in any other vote.

"From the very beginning of this referendum, we've taken the view that the Government will have to first of all provide information to the people to make an informed decision," said Mr Gilmore. "We are not taking anything for granted as far as this referendum is concerned."

Along with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, the Tanaiste launched an official website for the treaty, which will include the full text of the agreement, links to Government speeches and information on the May 31 vote.

Mr Gilmore also pointed out that the full text - in English and Irish - will be delivered to every household in the country. Another leaflet will be delivered before polling day summarising the main points of the European compact.

The Government was left red-faced in October when it held two referendums on one day and one of them was rejected. The vote also coincided with the presidential election.

The public voted in favour of limiting judges' pay, but rejected the Government's campaign to give more powers to the Oireachtas to hold inquiries. The coalition has since suggested that the Oireachtas inquiries amendment may have failed because they did not sell it hard enough.

The European agreement, which has been signed off by 25 of the 27 European Union states, will see more budgetary control given to Europe. Stricter fiscal rules will be put in place and penalties for members that break them. It will also ensure access to emergency funds should any country in the pact need a bailout.

Opposition TDs, including those from Sinn Fein and members of the United Left Alliance, have warned the treaty will enforce greater austerity on Ireland and plunge the economy into more difficulties.

However, Fine Gael and Labour have insisted it is vital Ireland ratifies the plan to avoid being cast adrift from Europe and cut off from the European Stability Mechanism emergency funds.

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