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.

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Irish yes vote the lesser of two evils?

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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