THE Small Firms Association (SFA) has said the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty will costs jobs and will make it harder to do business here.
This news comes as one of the country’s top businessmen calls for a Yes vote in the referendum next month.
A survey conducted by the SFA found that three out of four small businesses said rejection of the treaty will have a negative impact on jobs here.
The same number of firms believe that membership of the EU has been important for the success of Irish business.
SFA chairman Aidan O’Boyle said: “Ireland must be at the centre of Europe, not just for the opportunities it has given us in the past, but the many opportunities it will give us in the future.
“The guarantees that the Government has secured, in addition to the treaty provisions, are a good deal for Ireland and a good deal for small business. It is essential that the small business community respond in a positive way, as the quality of our response to the treaty will decide our economic, social, cultural and political future within the Union.”
The SFA said 684 companies, employing 13,768 people responded to the survey.
Meanwhile, Bord Gáis chief executive John Mullins has urged a Yes vote.
He said Ireland is the most dependent country in the EU on imported primary energy sources and the referendum is one of “the most important referenda in the history of the Irish State.
“Even with the increasing penetration of renewable resources we will continue to rely on our neighbours to support a competitive energy market. A more democratic, larger Europe improves Europe’s ability to enter bilateral agreements with the new producers of oil and gas in the world. These commodities are vital to our way of life,” he said.
The survey found 79% of small firms believe a second rejection of the treaty would impact on Ireland’s ability to attract foreign investment.
Just over half believe a yes vote is ‘very important’ for foreign direct investment, with 23% viewing it as “important”.
Dr O’Boyle said: “The multinational sector, as well as being an important creator of jobs in Ireland in its own right, is critically important to the rest of the economy, as multinationals drive economic growth and contribute to domestic demand, which is essential for all other domestically trading small businesses.”
By giving support to Europe “we are recognising that some of the most critical challenges facing us can only be addressed at a global level”, he said.
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