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Treaty referendum more important than General Election, says Taoiseach


Éamon Ó Cuív

Éamon Ó Cuív

Éamon Ó Cuív

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny today declared that the Fiscal Treaty Referendum in a month’s time will be more important than a General Election, because the result lasts well into the future".

He was in the Galway to announce 115 new jobs, part of a €26 million investment by US software technology multinational Cisco.

Mr. Kenny added: “The decision by Cisco to expand its research and development capabilities here in Galway demonstrates the value of economic stability and Ireland’s position in Europe when it comes to our ability to attract the overseas operations of world-leading multinational companies such as Cisco.”

Earlier Éamon Ó Cuív T.D said that he was advocating a no vote against the European Fiscal Treaty in the forthcoming referendum.

Mr. Ó Cuív said that his stance on the matter was clear, and that he had relinquished the deputy leadership of Fianna Fáil, over his stance on the matter.

Ó Cuív said that the deal secured by the Taoiseach and Tánaiste in Europe was a very bad deal for Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta he said that the current argument being put forward by the yes side that we should vote in favour of the treaty because we had no other choice was weak.

Accepting the treaty would bring about permanent changes that we would be unable to alter, and that we did have other choices, he said.

Ó Cuív also said that we would be unable to abide by the terms of the Treaty in any case if we had to carry the bank debts.

The grandson of Fianna Fail founder stepped down as Deputy leader of the party in a shock development in February. He also stood down as Communications spokesperson.

Party leader Micheal Martin issued a statement saying that he had accepted Mr Ó Cuív's resignation from these positions.

Mr Martin said that: "Éamon's refusal to support the Parliamentary Party's position on the Fiscal Compact meant that it was no longer feasible for him to occupy these roles."

O Cuiv said it was "a matter of principle" for him. He said he had to decide whether he could go with the party stance, if that were to vote in favour of the referendum, or whether the question was so grave that he would have to go against the party.

He said the implications of that decision would mean leaving the parliamentary party.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Phil Hogan has called for the unemployed to be hired to work in count centres on referendum day.

The minister has signed the Referendum Order, officially setting May 31 for the vote on the European fiscal treaty and kickstarting campaigning.

"While the efficient conduct of polls and the count is clearly dependent on having sufficiently skilled and experienced people, I would ask all local returning officers to make a special effort to employ suitable persons who are unemployed," said Mr Hogan.

He appointed Riona Ni Fhlanghaile, a principal officer within the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, as referendum returning officer.

On campaign day one, the Referendum Commission took to social networking site Facebook to encourage people to check the electoral register to make sure they are able to vote.

Commission chairman Mr Justice Kevin Feeney said the aim was to target young people in particular, who may be unaware they need to register in time for polling day.

"It is particularly useful that users of this app can, with one click, tell all their Facebook friends about this and spread the word that they can check the register in a matter of seconds in this way," said Mr Justice Feeney.

"Every Irish citizen aged 18 or over on polling day is entitled to vote. Yet many people can't use this vote for the simple reason that they have not been put on the register, or they are registered at an old address."

The Referendum Commission is completely independent and impartial, but it aims to encourage as many people as possible to use their vote.

"This is one of those occasions where an important decision is made not by Government, the Oireachtas or the courts but by the general public," the judge added.

The Referendum Commission will formally launch its public information campaign later this week, which will include TV adverts and booklet drops in every household across the country.

Voting for the referendum opens from 7am to 10pm on polling day - May 31. Voters must be over 18 and listed on the electoral register.

It is estimated 3.1 million people are currently on the register. Some citizens may be eligible to cast a postal vote, depending on their circumstances.