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Ireland votes ‘yes’ on EU fiscal pact

60.3% of voters supported the treaty, which imposes tighter budget discipline on the 27 European Union nations.

Enda kenny 2012 06 01Enlarge
Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny speaks to the media outside the government buildings in Dublin on June 1, 2012. (PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

In a referendum yesterday, Irish voters said "yes" to the European Union’s fiscal compact, which imposes tighter budget discipline on the 27 EU nations, the New York Times reported.

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The vote was 60.3 percent in favor of the treaty and 39.7 percent against, BBC News reported. Ireland is the only EU member to have asked its citizens to vote on the pact.

Less than half of Ireland’s 3.1 million registered voters went to the polls on Thursday, according to BBC News.

The treaty, which most EU member nations have approved, would not have been blocked if Ireland had rejected it, BBC News reported. But a "no" vote would have prevented Ireland from tapping into emergency funds from the European Stability Mechanism, should the need arise in the future.

Ireland has dipped into such funds before, BBC News noted. It obtained a $105 billion EU-IMF bailout in late 2010.

After the results were in, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Ireland had "sent a powerful signal around the world that it is serious about overcoming its economic challenges,” the Guardian reported.

Fine Gael junior finance minister Brian Hayes told the Guardian that he thought most of the electorate were reluctant to vote ‘no’ because they didn't want to place Ireland "at the center of the storm – a bit like what has happened in Greece.”

The Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, who opposed the pact, said he had met many people who had voted for the pact “through gritted teeth," the New York Times reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/ireland/120601/ireland-votes-yes-eu-fiscal-compact