| 1.4°C Dublin

Relief at Yes vote, and now hopes for a better EU deal

THE Government is today celebrating its decisive victory in persuading the nation to give a strong Yes to the Fiscal Treaty as a wave of relief sweeps through European institutions.

The 60.3pc vote to ratify the treaty represented the support of 955,091 citizens for the call by the Government and Fianna Fail to approve measures for tight budgetary controls.

The next step for the Government is to seek a better deal for Ireland in EU negotiations, said Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

The tanaiste said the Yes victory will "strengthen the hand" of the Irish Government to seek measures to encourage new jobs and economic growth and action on tackling the nation's heavy bank debts burden.

Both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the tanaiste have already been making telephone calls to European capitals declaring the strong backing of the Irish people for the treaty must result in more EU support for the Government's efforts to get the State's finances on track.

Mr Gilmore said the Government will work "to secure a more sustainable long-term deal in relation to bank debt".

"We understand the daily pressures that people are facing -- in relation to their mortgages; their jobs; their businesses; their living standards; and the prospects for their future, and that of their children.

"This result will strengthen our hand in our discussions with European institutions and other member states.

"We will use this decision, not just to ratify the treaty, but to promote in Europe and in Ireland, the policies and steps which are necessary to create jobs for those who are unemployed; to bring investment into our country; and to generate growth.

"Together, as a people, and as part of the eurozone and the European Union, we now have to take the next decisive steps towards a clear growth strategy for Ireland, and the EU."

The results were warmly welcomed by the President of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso who said it will help bring convergence, stability and discipline to EU efforts to stabilise the European economy. European Parliament President Martin Schulz said it would help foster trust and investment in the Irish economy.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the poll result shows the Irish people want the EU to take a lead in sorting out the biggest economic crisis since World War II.

"This is a good step but now is the time to actually increase the urgency of discussions about saving the Euro and returning Ireland and Europe to growth. This treaty is not enough to tackle the crisis and there is little time left for other reforms, which are needed.

"The Taoiseach should immediately undertake a serious diplomatic initiative in support of essential measures to restore growth and job creation."