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Taoiseach warns: Foreign investment will be hit if we vote No

Enda Kenny says investment from the likes of Eli Lilly, eBay and Google will lose confidence if Ireland rejects the Fiscal Compact.

THE TAOISEACH has warned that Ireland faces losing the confidence of major international investors if it votes No to the Fiscal Compact.

Enda Kenny told the Dáil this afternoon that investment from the likes of eBay, Google and Eli Lilly would be put at risk if Irish voters rejected the Fiscal Compact at the referendum on 37 days’ time.

“If you tell me that… all of these companies that are making serious investments [will continue to do so] … you do live on a different planet,” Kenny told the technical group’s Richard Boyd Barrett during Leaders’ Questions.

Kenny rejected suggestions from Boyd Barrett that ratification of the treaty would require major budgetary adjustments “for at least two decades”, given its requirements that member states reduce their general government debt.

The fiscal compact would require Ireland to halve its debt – from an expected 120 per cent of GDP later this decade to an eventual level of 60 per cent, at a rate of 5 per cent each year.

Boyd Barrett suggested that meeting these targets would require annual cuts of €4.5 billion each year for around 20 years in order to meet this target.

“Your figures project a view that the government is only about austerity and cutting back,” Kenny responded, saying the government also intended to meet those targets by creating jobs and therefore increasing the country’s GDP.

“What government is about is stimulating the indigenous economy,” the Taoiseach asserted. “I completely reject your view only of austerity beyond 2017.”

Growth agenda

Kenny also told Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams that the forthcoming meetings of EU leaders would be devoted to unemployment and promoting small and medium enterprises, with leaders hoping to inflate the European economy as a result.

Adams accused Kenny of never having given a full explanation for why his government was ‘defending austerity’, saying: “You don’t do it, you dodge it all the time.”

Earlier, the Taoiseach was forced to defend accusations from Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin that the government was specifically targeting autistic children in its proposed cuts to domiciliary care allowances.

“Why is it, Taoiseach, that the cuts you have initiated are hitting the most vulnerable in our society?” Martin asked, calling for a “root and branch change” to the manner in which domiciliary care allowance applications were reviewed.

“It would be wonderful to be able to assume we had unlimited funds to deal exclusively with the range of problems that effect children,” Kenny said in response.

Martin said he was particularly referring to “desk-top reviews” where a child’s specific circumstances were not taken on board whenever their applications were considered.

Read: As three unions say no, ICTU to discuss common policy on Fiscal Compact

More: Coveney admits many people don’t know what referendum is about

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Gavan Reilly

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