Ireland To Push For Debt Deal After 'Yes' Vote
The Irish Government is to push European leaders to cut the cost of its bank bailout after it secured strong support for the Fiscal Stability Treaty.
The country's prime minister Enda Kenny said he raised the issue of the multi-billion euro rescue in several phone calls with EU chiefs, including Germany's Angela Merkel, once the result was confirmed.
Some 60% of voters chose 'yes' in a referendum on the treaty, giving Ireland access to further bailout loans from the EU next year.
It was the only eurozone country to hold a referendum on the issue, and backing the treaty commits the coalition government to stringent budgetary targets.
Mr Kenny said the bailout for bust banks - more than 46bn euro (£37bn) - must now be included in wider efforts to kick start the European economy.
"Ireland's banking debt must form part of that solution," he said.
Returning officer Riona Ni Flanghaile announced a total of 955,091 votes in favour compared with 629,088 against the agreement.
Rejection of the treaty would have prevented Ireland from accessing the European Stability Mechanism - the European Union's 500bn euro bailout fund for struggling members.
There is every possibility the Republic will need another financial lifeline before it is able to return to international markets.
Five of Ireland's 43 constituencies rejected the treaty plan for tighter budgetary control from Brussels.
They included both electoral regions of Donegal and three others in Dublin, one of which is home to two senior government figures, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte and Mr Hayes.
Sinn Fein claimed some credit for forcing a strong 'no' vote but failed to secure a success in party president Gerry Adams' backyard of Co Louth.
Those campaigning for a 'no' vote hoped the Irish would follow Greek and French electorates in questioning the wisdom of austerity.
The result may help to steady the markets but Ireland will now be legally bound to balance the books.
EU budget targets will become law in Dublin. They will be committed to limiting their budget deficit to 0.5% of economic output.
The European Court of Justice can fine any signatory to the pact for failing to enact the legislation.
Ireland has been something of a poster boy for economic recovery. The coalition government has managed to reduce the general deficit to 13% but they are not out of the woods.
Unemployment stands at 14% and 40,000 people emigrated last year.