The confidence of the international markets in Ireland will be hit if voters reject next week’s referendum, Enda Kenny has said.
The Taoiseach’s warning came after he and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore insisted after an EU summit that there would be no changes made to the fiscal treaty.
The no campaign questioned the claim and argued that the Government was “spinning” after the meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.
Mr Kenny claimed that the confidence of international markets — which the Government wants to return to borrowing from at the end of next year — would be hit with a no vote.
Speaking in Kilkenny, he said: “What we want to do is emerge from the programme with our economic sovereignty retrieved and to be able to fly on our own and that means that you have to retain the confidence of the markets. And markets anticipate, they don’t react. And in this case, Ireland would put itself in a very difficult position to obtain that confidence where the people to refuse to ratify the treaty.”
Earlier, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said there would be no changes to the treaty in its present form. Separate growth measures were under discussion for Ireland, including the use of project bonds and EU structural funds not spent by other states yet, he said.
Mr Gilmore told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that action on these measures was expected in the second half of this year. He said leaders had agreed not to change the treaty.
Michael Noonan, the finance minister, later said any growth strategy that might be decided by the EU would apply to Ireland, irrespective of whether we vote yes or no in the referendum.
However, anti-treaty campaigner Declan Ganley said it seemed the Government was “misleading” people. He pointed to reports that legal measures to change the treaty would be discussed by leaders in late June. “This is what was discussed yesterday, which is entirely different from the misleading spin the Government is trying to put on this to suggest that the deal on the existing treaty won’t change.”
The Libertas founder said Mr Kenny did not seem to know what was going on in Europe.
He said it was alarming that other EU leaders were aware of plans to change the treaty.
“Maybe they didn’t tell him.”
The businessman also accused the Taoiseach of running scared and “cowering away” after his refusal to participate in an RTÉ televised leaders debate.
However, Mr Kenny defended his refusal.
“I’m participating in debates all over the country and I’ve got a very full programme until the close of polls on the 31st,” he said.
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