A ‘Yes’ vote in the Referendum will allow Ireland to continue to be an attractive location to foreign investors
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern TD said a yes vote in the forthcoming EU reform Treaty Referendum will allow Ireland to continue to be an attractive location to foreign investors.
Speaking at UCC today (Wednesday, 12th March), Minister Ahern said that in 1972, just before we joined the Union, foreign direct investment was just €16 million. Today it is measured in billions.
The Minister said: “The most recent IDA annual report indicated that, in 2006 alone, there was new capital investment of €2.6 billion; €470 million invested in new research, development and innovation projects. Multinational companies employed more than 135,000 people with an annual payroll of €15 billion euros and paid an estimated €2.8 billion in corporation tax. And thousands more are employed indirectly - often in the small and medium-sized sector.”
“The Reform Treaty involves change and change can be intimidating, even to the point of stopping us from taking the necessary decisions that will enable us to thrive and prosper. Had we given in to such fears and doubts on the occasion of previous EU Treaties, we would not now enjoy the benefits of the major achievements of European integration. These include the Single Market introduced by the Single European Act of 1986, which gave Irish businesses an unrivalled opportunity to grow and create new jobs. Had we listened to the doubters in the mid 1980s, we could easily have missed out on much of the economic advancement we have experienced this past two decades.”
“New generations of Irish people can now build a future on this island. Today’s University graduates will not be obliged to leave Ireland in search of opportunity and good employment. These things are now available at home. These new generations can also play their part in addressing the major twenty-first century challenges we all face. They are part of a country which has been transformed from a peripheral nation to one that maximises our effective sovereignty by combining with others in pursuit of agreed objectives. In terms of effectiveness, the European Union is clearly greater than the sum of its parts.
“Those who surveyed the European Community back in 1972 as we ventured toward accession would hardly recognise today’s Union. The fears expressed at that time turned out to be unfounded. The expectations of those who favoured membership have, on the other hand, been well and truly exceeded. Those who weighed up the prospects of the EEC in 1972 would surely now approve of the way the Union has developed. Membership now embraces almost 500 million people, many of whom were shackled in the communist bloc when Jack Lynch signed the Accession Treaty on Ireland’s behalf.
“Much of the credit for this must go to the European Union and to the sense of solidarity it has so painstakingly built between the peoples of Europe and between their political leaders. Today’s Europe has been built step by step. The Reform Treaty represents the next, necessary step in this European process. It has been a successful process and we have a vested interest in its successful continuation.
It was this spirit of solidarity which saw the Union invest in Ireland’s future, including in our peace process. It was this spirit of solidarity which provided immediate and medium-term support for the people of Central and Eastern Europe when the Iron Curtain finally came down. And it is this spirit of solidarity which will be essential for all Europeans as we seek to meet the challenges of this unfolding century.
Note to Editors:
The full text of the Minister's speech can be accessed on ww.dfa.ie
Ends + + +