Ireland referendum no vote will prove costly, warns Irish prime minister

Enda Kenny says cost of international borrowing to maintain public services will soar if voters do not back EU fiscal treaty

Ireland decides today whether to back the EU fiscal treaty, with a warning from its prime minister that a no vote would treble the cost of international borrowing to maintain the country's public services and state jobs.

Enda Kenny insisted that borrowing costs for the state would soar if the electorate rejected the EU treaty aimed at controlling national budgets.

Meanwhile his deputy prime minister, Eamon Gilmore, stressed that there would be no Lisbon treaty-style second vote if the current EU reform programme were to be rejected in the referendum.

Sinn Féin and other parties dispute this claim, arguing that a no vote would strengthen Ireland's hand in going back to the EU for a better deal.

"Countries that ratify this have access to the ESM [European stability mechanism], countries that don't won't and the difference between 3% and 7%, or even 8% or 9%, is enormous in the context of availability of funding, were that ever to be necessary," Kenny said.

Fear has been the dominant factor throughout the referendum campaign with Ireland's European minister, Lucinda Creighton, claiming that a no vote would produce a Greek-style run on Irish banks, with depositors taking billions out of already stressed financial institutions.

The no side deployed the Simpsons arch-capitalist Monty Burns and images from the 1970s Spielberg movie Jaws on its posters to portray the EU plan as predatory.


Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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