Ireland backs euro budget rules

Ireland has officially passed the European fiscal treaty that sets strict new budget rules on members of the eurozone. 60.3% of voters who took part in the referendum voted in favour.

Latest ITV News reports

Irish yes vote the lesser of two evils?

by - Political Correspondent

Irish voters may have backed the new Fiscal Treaty by a comfortable margin but many did so through gritted teeth.

No-one wants more austerity, that's certain. This country has already endured four years of cuts. But voters here clearly believed that the treaty was the lesser of two evils.

To reject it would have risked disqualifying Ireland from any further bailouts and the signs are they may still need one when the current funding package expires at the end of next year.

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny praised his people's pragmatism after the vote. Certainly many of Europe's leaders - including Germany's Angela Merkel - will be breathing a huge sigh of relief tonight.

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Kenny: 'This is a country serious about overcoming economic challenges'

In his first response to the resounding victory, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Ireland's bank debt must be included in future discussions to revive the wider European economy.

The Irish people have sent a powerful signal around the world that this is a country serious about overcoming our economic challenges.

The treaty will not solve all economic problems but it is a foundation stone to make sure the economy stands on firm ground.

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Huge sigh of relief from Irish Government

by - Political Correspondent

Stability was the word used on the Yes campaign posters, and it now appears that Ireland has secured stability.

The Irish Government backed that result in today's referendum and warned that a No vote would have triggered an immediate economic crisis.

Had Irish voters rejected the treaty, the country would have been disqualified from approaching the EU or the IMF for further bailouts. The current bailout expires at the end of next year, so the country would have risked going bankrupt.

Although a No vote would not have stopped the fiscal treaty going ahead, it would have sent a worrying message to EU leaders that another country rejects austerity.

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