Ireland has backed the EU’s new fiscal treaty with 60 percent of voters in Thursday’s referendum saying ‘yes’ to plans to rein in government budgets across Europe.
The Dublin parliament was the only one to put the proposals to a public vote.
‘Yes’ campaigners had argued that a rejection of the pact would hurt Ireland’s chances of attracting a second EU bailout, if required.
“The Irish people have sent a powerful signal around the world that this is a country that is serious about overcoming its economic challenges,” said Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
“As I said throughout the campaign, this treaty will not solve all of this country’s problems, but it is one of the many foundation stones that we need to put in place to ensure that our economic position stands on firm ground for the future,” he added.
Analysts said the 50 percent turnout was typical for an Irish referendum.
‘No’ campaigners said the outcome would not help ordinary Irish people, who are bearing the brunt of brutal spending cuts.
Sinn Fein lawmaker Dessie Ellis said: “Certainly the people are sending out a very strong message that they have taken enough of austerity, they need a change of direction, a change of focus and unfortunately this austerity treaty now is going to tie us even more to more austerity.”
Critics said the German-led fiscal pact, which aims to bring down national budget deficits, will do nothing to stimulate growth in Ireland or its deeply indebted southern European neighbours. The pact needs to be ratified by at least 12 countries.