Reform Treaty Necessary To Help Ireland Meet Global Economic Challenges Ahead – Minister Dermot Ahern
“This is about Irish jobs, Irish growth and Defending Ireland’s Prosperity”
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, T.D., has stressed that, for Ireland, the Reform Treaty is necessary to help us meet the global challenges ahead.
The challenges facing Irish jobs and Ireland’s environment and
competitiveness today are global. We cannot afford to stand alone
against climate change, rising energy costs and global economic
The Reform Treaty cuts bureaucracy, tackles inefficiency, speeds up decision making and delivers a European Union more responsive to our citizens and answerable to our Oireachtas.
In short it creates the Union we need to help us defend prosperity,
safeguard the environment and protect Irish jobs against the
The bottom line is this:
“The EU empowers us. The Treaty empowers us further. Ireland is the strongest economic success story of the European Union and this Treaty will allow us to do even better. That is why the Government will be campaigning strongly for a ‘Yes ‘vote.
As usual, opponents of the Reform Treaty are engaging in diversionary tactics. Instead of dealing with the facts, opponents of this Treaty, which has so many positive and practical provisions, are trying to distract attention with worn-out threats of dire consequences, should the Irish people support the Reform Treaty. They are trying to peddle a dangerous myth, that you can somehow be against this treaty and yet be pro European. This Treaty is about making Europe more efficient, democratic and responsive to the needs of its citizens; surely nobody who is genuinely pro European can oppose this.
Contrary to these predictions, which have been repeated down the years, Ireland’s membership of the EU has been overwhelmingly positive in many aspects of our national life. The economic benefits of membership have been especially strong.
As an island nation in a globalised world we, more than almost any other country, must engage in international trade for our economic well-being. The two great achievements of the EU - the Euro currency and the creation of the Single Market provides us – a country of just over four million people - with a market of half a billion people and unprecedented business opportunities. These markets continue to be vital for our future prosperity.
Since we joined the Union in 1973, our exports have increased from
just €1 billion to €154 billion in 2007. It is no coincidence
that the number of people at work in Ireland has doubled in the
same period – from one million to two million people. A trade
deficit of €340 million in 1973 has been transformed into a trade
surplus of tens of billions today. At the same time, Ireland
has benefited from support from the EU budget to the tune of some
€58 billion. None of this would have happened without
EU membership which those who now oppose the Reform Treaty have
forever been sceptical about. These are the key
economic facts which opponents of the EU will try to avoid or to
glide over during the debate on the Reform Treaty.
Some who urge a vote against the Treaty will even suggest that the EU’s future evolution could damage our interests. These are far-fetched suggestions and the Irish people know the facts to be otherwise. Given the poor record of EU opponents in predicting the economic impact of membership, I have no doubt that the Irish public will question the outlandish claims they are making about other parts of the Reform Treaty also. I challenge Reform Treaty opponents to offer one good reason why we ought to turn our backs on Europe after 35 years of EU success. The Government will spare no effort in the period ahead so as to ensure that the electorate is properly informed and that the Reform Treaty receives the endorsement it deserves.”
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