Minister calls for a strong "Yes" vote to the Reform Treaty
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern T.D called for a strong "yes" vote to the Reform Treaty when he spoke today in Dublin. Giving the annual 'State of the Union' speech at the Institute of European Affairs the Minister said,
"The Government will campaign strongly for a "yes" vote because we firmly believe that the Reform Treaty is the best option for the Union and it represents a very favourable deal for Ireland, one that we have played a major role in shaping.
The Reform Treaty is a Treaty which strengthens, empowers and boosts this country. The bottom line is that the challenges facing Irish jobs and Ireland’s environment and Ireland’s competitiveness today are global. Against climate change, rising energy costs, trans-national crime and global economic downturns the capacity of any country big or small to act – to defend its interest - is minimal alone.
However our capacity to act is multiplied through the partnership of the European Union. The EU empowers us. This Treaty empowers us further.We have done well out of the EU and this Treaty lets us do better.
Our opponents - when you peel back the re-branding, remodelling, refinancing - are the same old groups, the same tired old interests re-telling the same old myths. The extremes of Irish and European political discourse oppose this Treaty as they have opposed all such treaties for reasons of dogma and narrow self-interest. It’s a case of same arguments - different Treaty.
This treaty in fact represents a very good outcome for Ireland. On issues of major sensitivity- such as unanimity in the taxation and defence areas- and the general principle of equality among Member States - we are fully satisfied with the outcome.
This year marks the 35th year of Irish membership of the European Union, a period which has seen the transformation of our economy, the transformation of our relationship between the people on this island and the transformation of our sense of place in the wider world. This is not a coincidence. What Ireland needs in the years ahead is a Union that continues to provides the conditions we need to consolidate and build upon the great gains we have made. The Reform Treaty provides for that kind of Union.
Let us remind ourselves of the immense achievements of the Union which have been of direct benefit to Ireland such as the single market and the creation of the Euro. These could not have come about without past Treaty changes. The Union now needs the Reform Treaty if it is to continue delivering benefits for us.
The Reform Treaty is our best hope- as a small country- to have our interests taken into account as the international community seeks to find answers to the complex questions of our time- globalisation, climate change and the problems of the developing world.
Ireland's interests will be best served by the Irish people's strong support for the Reform Treaty in the forthcoming referendum".
Note for Editors:
The full text of the Minister's speech will be available after 2.pm on the Department of Foreign Affairs' website www.dfa.ie
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