Belfast Telegraph

Kenny's plea to back fiscal treaty

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has appealed to voters to play a role in Ireland's recovery by voting yes in Thursday's European fiscal treaty.

In a televised address, Mr Kenny admitted the treaty will not solve all of Ireland's problems, but was a step to keep the country moving in the right direction. He said the electorate was making a decision that will have enormous implications for the country's future.

"This treaty strengthens the economic and budgetary rules that apply to countries like Ireland that use the euro," said Mr Kenny in his four-minute 30-second address.

"It will create stability in the eurozone that is essential for growth and job creation. A strong yes vote will create the certainty and stability that our country needs to continue on the road to economic recovery."

The Taoiseach had refused to take part in televised debates on the controversial issue, but was invited to make the address by RTE after Gerry Adams's speech at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis was aired on Saturday evening.

Mr Adams said Irish voters burdened by economic hardship should not be scared into backing the treaty. The Fine Gael leader accepted some measures government took were painful for many people, but claimed the sacrifices being made were starting to make a difference.

Mr Adams said the Taoiseach's address merely highlighted the need for a real debate involving the man leading the campaign to have an "austerity treaty" passed by the people.

"I call once again for Mr Kenny to engage in such a debate before polling day," Mr Adams said. "I call also for citizens to be wise, to reject the failed policy of austerity and to stand up for Ireland and vote 'no' to this Treaty next Thursday."

Elsewhere, Socialist MEP Paul Murphy claimed there were two glaring factual inaccuracies in Mr Kenny's address. He criticised the Taoiseach for stating a 'yes' vote would give guaranteed access to the ESM fund. "Within the ESM, any country can veto another country's access to the ESM bailout fund, whether they ratify this Austerity Treaty or not," said Mr Muphy.

"Secondly, the Taoiseach said that a 'yes' vote is 'the best way of ensuring the strong flow of investment in jobs continues and grows'. The figures indicate that there is no strong flow of investment. In fact, investment has fallen by 23.4 billion euro since the start of the crisis."

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