Cowen says he has now read the full text of Treaty
Taoiseach Brian Cowen revealed yesterday that he has read the Lisbon Treaty from cover to cover.
Mr Cowen came under fire during the first referendum campaign last year after he told a reporter he had not read the document.
The Taoiseach, who is leading the 'Yes' campaign to get the referendum passed at the second attempt, said: "I have read the treaty since last asked that question. I negotiated 90pc of it and saw about 16 different versions of it as it went through. So you can take it I know a fair bit about it."
He said that many of the Irish public's concerns surrounding the Lisbon Treaty, which was rejected by the voters last June, had been dealt with by way of "legal protections".
He also said membership of the eurozone had provided financial stability, which the country "would not have the capacity to do" on its own.
"I think that from our point of view, the debate needs to focus on the role the European economy plays in providing jobs and investment in our own economy," he said.
"And I think a simple statistic -- that for every €10 of exports we provide in this country, €6 of it goes to European markets -- is an indication of how centrally and fundamentally important access to those markets are.
"And our ability to penetrate and increase our share of those markets is very much dependent on how we are viewed in terms of our participation and our enthusiastic membership of the union."
Mr Cowen was speaking as he announced a new €8.5bn investment by Isotron Ireland at their electron beam sterilisation facility in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
"In difficult times, this is a growth area. The IDA have been working hard to build a cluster of medical device technology industry in Ireland and I think we have the best cluster in Europe as things stand," he said.
"This facility has been here since 1994; it now employs over 80 people. It opened in 1994 -- I think there were about 11 people employed initially -- so they're doing a wonderful job and many clients in that sector have depended on them for the sterilisation facility."