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Ireland Votes on EU Fiscal Treaty

  • VOA News

Staff wait for Irish voters to decide on the European Fiscal Treaty Referendum at a polling station in North Dublin, Ireland, May 31, 2012.

Staff wait for Irish voters to decide on the European Fiscal Treaty Referendum at a polling station in North Dublin, Ireland, May 31, 2012.

Irish voters are deciding Thursday whether to accept the terms of a European Union fiscal treaty tied to financial aid and designed to bolster the troubled 17-nation euro currency bloc.

Ireland signed the treaty in March with most other EU countries. The treaty imposes strict limits on debt and budget deficits.

But Ireland is the only country putting the EU fiscal plan to a vote in a referendum. In other eurozone nations, parliaments are considering the treaty.

One voter, Aidan Crowley, said the Irish are irritated at the continuing economic turmoil in the eurozone, but said that Ireland cannot ignore responsibility for its own financial missteps.

"I think many, many people are very annoyed with Europe. Basically they see Europe as to a large extent the problem that now arises in Ireland. I think that is unfair. I think we need to look at ourselves also,'' said Crowley.

Pre-vote surveys in Ireland showed that the treaty is expected to be approved, but polls showing similar outcomes were proved wrong in 2001 and 2008 when the Irish voted against other EU pacts.

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The Irish government has warned its citizens that failure to approve the EU plan would not be in the country's best interest of getting more bailout help, if it needs more money when its current $106-billion bailout runs out in 2013.

If Irish voters reject the referendum, the treaty could still be approved by 12 of the other 16 countries using the euro currency. The outcome of the Irish vote is expected to be known Friday.
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