Next Thursday, in the referendum on the European Stability Treaty, you will be asked to make a decision that will have enormous implications for our country’s future.
In short, this Treaty strengthens the economic and budgetary rules that apply to countries like Ireland that share the euro currency.
It will create stability in the Eurozone. This is essential for growth and job creation.
A strong Yes vote will create the certainty and stability that our country needs to continue on the road to economic recovery.
This Treaty will not solve all of our problems, but it is one part of the solution.
One of the many foundation blocks we need to put in place to ensure that our economy stands on firm ground in the future.
A Yes vote will send out a powerful message internationally about the kind of country Ireland is.
The government I lead was given a strong mandate by the Irish people last year.
Since then, we have worked hard to stabilise Ireland’s economy and to get the country pointed in the right direction.
We have made a start, but there is a long way to go.
I acknowledge that some of the measures we have had to take have been painful for many people.
But it is clear that the sacrifices that everyone is making are starting to make a difference.
Our public finances are coming under control.
Unemployment, though still far too high, is stabilising.
Growth, although modest, has returned to the Irish economy.
We are continuing to improve the terms and cost of our Troika programme.
And, Ireland’s international reputation has been restored.
We have proven that we are a country working hard to solve the economic crisis.
This has led to increased international confidence in Ireland as a place in which to invest, and in which to do business.
So here are three VERY positive reasons to Vote Yes on Thursday.
First – a Yes vote is the best way of ensuring that the strong flow of investment in jobs continues and grows.
Throughout my recent visits to the United States, China and elsewhere, the consistent message from both political and business leaders is that they want to see certainty about Ireland’s place in the Eurozone.
A Yes vote will provide that certainty and will confirm to investors that Ireland is a reliable place, with stable conditions and a brilliant workforce.
In the last few months, you have seen many multinational companies showing their confidence in Ireland by investing and creating jobs here.
Companies like Paypal in Dundalk, Apple in Cork, Merit Medical in Galway, and Abbott in Sligo, to name but a few. Many others are considering doing likewise.
Their decisions will create thousands of new jobs directly, and will also boost smaller Irish firms who supply them with goods and services.
Second – only a Yes vote will give Ireland guaranteed access to Europe’s permanent rescue fund – the European Stability Mechanism, should Ireland ever need it.
I want this country to have the same access as all other Euro countries to this insurance policy. This is important.
Third – a Yes vote will ensure that good housekeeping rules are put in place so that responsible budgeting becomes the norm throughout Europe.
While the creation of budget rules alone will not be enough to solve Europe’s economic problems, it will ensure that no future government will be able to behave recklessly with the people’s money.
I want people to be fully informed about the contents and implications of this referendum before they vote.
That’s why we have sent a copy of this Treaty to every home in Ireland.
It has been signed by 25 countries and its contents will not be changed.
It is also important that you are aware of what is not covered by this Treaty.
It has nothing to do with corporation tax. There is nothing in it that would allow other countries impose service cuts or charges on Ireland.
We can’t fix all our problems on Thursday but we can take another step to keep our country moving in the right direction.
You have played your part in the progress Ireland has made in the last year.
And I thank you for that.
I ask you to make a further contribution by coming out to Vote Yes on Thursday.
Yes to stability.
Yes to investment.
Yes to recovery,
and Yes to a Working Ireland.
Go raibh maith agat.