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Joan Burton named Labour’s director of elections for fiscal treaty referendum

JOAN Burton, Minister for Social Protection, has been named Labour's director of elections for the referendum on the European fiscal treaty.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said that passing the agreement to toughen up budgetary discipline is crucial to Ireland's economic recovery.

A vote is planned for May 31.

"We in the Labour Party will be putting our shoulder to the wheel to make sure that the people give it their support," the Tanaiste said.

"I believe that appointing somebody of Joan's stature and experience is a clear indication as to how seriously the Labour Party is taking this campaign."

Ms Burton will join her cabinet colleague, Fine Gael Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, in campaigning for a Yes vote.

"The Stability Treaty is a critical element of ensuring the long-term recovery of this economy," she said.

"This Treaty is all about making sure that this economy can grow in a sustainable way into the future, so that we can get people off the dole queues and back to work. I will be ensuring that the Labour Party pulls out all the stops in making sure that the referendum is passed.

"I look forward to this challenge and I am delighted to have been appointed."

Ms Burton has in the past linked a Yes vote on the EU treaty with the cutting of Ireland's debt burden.

The compact, or European Fiscal Stability Treaty as it is officially known, will see stricter budgetary control from Europe. Ireland's borrowing and spending will be more closely regulated and penalties will be put in place should it fail to adhere to the strict rules.

But critics argue it is an austerity treaty which rather than bring stability back to Ireland, will plunge it into further economic crisis and result in a second bailout.

The compact has been signed by all members of the eurozone with Ireland the only state requiring ratification by referendum.

PA Media