THIS IS THE full text of Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s speech to the Dáil this afternoon, after the Taoiseach confirmed that Ireland WILL go to the polls to decide on whether we should sign up to the EU Fiscal Compact Treaty (European Stability Treaty).
A Ceann Comhairle:
Today, the Attorney General has advised the Government that it is best for Ireland to have a Referendum in order to ratify the European Stability Treaty.
On foot of that advice, and in line with our public commitment, the Government has decided to consult the people by Referendum, and to seek their approval for the Treaty.
In the weeks ahead, there will be ample opportunity for debating the detail of the Treaty provisions. In the end, what this will come down to is a Vote for Economic Stability and Economic Recovery.
When this Government was elected, one year ago, Ireland was in the depths of a political, economic and financial crisis.
In the past twelve months, that situation has been transformed, through the hard work and sacrifice of the Irish people
We have re-established financial and political stability, and we are working all out to achieve economic recovery.
It has been a difficult path for all of us, but, as a country, we have made important progress.
Our cost of borrowing has fallen. We have substantially re-negotiated the EU/IMF Programme. Our reputation internationally has been transformed. Money is coming back into the country, and jobs are coming also.
Once again, we are seeing international companies investing and creating jobs in Ireland. Just yesterday, we saw the benefits of the renewed confidence in this country being translated into 200 more jobs in Cork. That in turn followed on from the announcement of 1000 jobs in Dundalk.
Those announcements were made possible by the turn-around that has been achieved in Ireland’s reputation and in the renewed sense of financial and economic stability.
Ireland has a small and extremely open economy. Our living standards, and our capacity to create jobs, depend on our ability to trade, and to attract investment. For that to happen – for economic recovery to be possible, we need stability – stability in Ireland and stability in Europe. The kind of stability that gives investors and families reasonable certainty about what the future holds.
Until we achieve that certainty at home and in Europe, confidence will not fully return to the domestic Irish economy, and our recovery will be delayed. We need a thriving and prosperous European economy that has moved beyond the present crisis.
That is the purpose of this Treaty. It is part of a package of measures being put in place in Europe, to stabilise the situation in the Eurozone. As I have said before, that is vital to our national interests.
The Treaty is an important part of that package, because it provides assurance that the kinds of problem that have emerged in Greece, cannot happen again.
Ratifying the Treaty will also provide Ireland with access to emergency funds in the future, if we need them, through the new European Stability Mechanism. Our intention is to emerge from the EU/IMF Programme without having to resort to the ESM, but the facility itself is an important backstop that will further enhance international confidence in Ireland.
After years of crisis, and sacrifice, the Irish people now have the basis on which to build a sustainable economic recovery. We now have an opportunity to go beyond the Casino capitalism that brought us to this point, and to build a sustainable prosperity, based on our capacity to sell goods and services abroad, to attract investment, and to re-build confidence in the domestic economy.
What this comes down to is:
- What is best to attract investment to this country in order to create the jobs we need?
- What will make existing jobs more secure?
- What will help a young couple today to have the confidence to buy a house?
- What will help a person who has an idea and the drive, to start a business.
- What will help families plan and save for their children’s future?
As I said last December, if we have to have another referendum in this country, then so be it.
If that is what we have to do to save our currency, to restore our economy, to be able as a sovereign nation to borrow again on the financial markets and to ensure that no future government can ever again bring us to such a sorry state, then I am confident that the Irish people will do what is necessary.
Endorsing the Treaty will be another important milestone for Ireland in our road to recovery. In the weeks ahead, as the Government puts in place the necessary measures for a Referendum, that is the case we will make to the people, and I am confident that the people will respond by saying Yes to the Treaty.