Kenny: We said yes, now give us a debt deal

Ireland should be granted a deal to lower its bank debt now that it has passed the fiscal treaty, Enda Kenny has said.

The Taoiseach insisted the yes vote would strengthen the Government’s hand in pushing the EU for pro-growth measures and a bank debt solution.

Mr Kenny said the result had sent a “powerful signal” that Ireland was serious about overcoming its economic problems, but acknowledged the treaty would not solve all of them.

He said resolution of the bank debt issue would “greatly help”, adding that he could “feel a mood” among EU leaders to finally address the issue in a comprehensive fashion.

“The developing situation in Europe’s banking sector needs a comprehensive solution and Ireland’s banking debt must form part of that solution,” said Mr Kenny.

Asked how the public could have faith in him to stand up to his fellow EU leaders on the issue given his refusal to debate with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams during the campaign, Mr Kenny said he rejected the premise of the question.

He said he had pressed his EU counterparts on bank debt, adding that he had raised the matter in phone conversations yesterday with German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president François Hollande, Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, and the presidents of the European Commission and Council.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin, whose party supported a yes vote, welcomed the result but said the treaty was not enough to tackle the euro crisis. The EU had to “increase the urgency” of talks, and he urged Mr Kenny to go on the offensive.

“The Taoiseach should immediately undertake a serious diplomatic initiative in support of essential measures to restore growth and job creation,” he said.

Mr Adams, whose party opposed the treaty, said the Government had a duty to “stand up for Ireland” and “ensure that the banking debt issue is dealt with by seeking a debt writedown”.

Ms Merkel said the result reinforced “the common course of the eurozone to create a new, lasting stability union”.

She signalled that Germany would push ahead with a growth compact to work in tandem with the budget discipline and deficit reduction measures laid down by the treaty.

It remains to be seen if Germany will allow any significant measures to federalise the banking debt, as Mr Kenny has suggested.

The leaders were speaking after the formal result of the referendum was declared, with the yes side enjoying an overwhelming victory of 60.3% to 39.7%.

The total poll was 1,591,385, of which 955,091 people voted yes and 629,088 no, with 7,206 invalid ballot papers.

Only five of the country’s 43 constituencies rejected the treaty: Donegal North East, Donegal South West, Dublin North West, Dublin South Central, and Dublin South West.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Government had heard and understood “the daily pressures” people were facing on mortgages, jobs, and living standards.

“We will take this result today, not just as the passing of the treaty itself, but as a call to redouble our efforts as a government to work for recovery, and fresh hope.”

The United Left Alliance said the Government deliberately heightened people’s fears and “bullied” them into voting yes to the treaty.

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