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01 Oct 2009

Brussels, 1 October 2009

Speaking outside the Mansion House yesterday in Dublin, the final day of campaigning in Ireland for the referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon, Fine Gael Leader and EPP Vice President, Enda Kenny TD said:

On Friday, the people of Ireland have a chance to do something really positive to shape our country’s future.

We have gained huge influence and respect through 35 years of positive engagement with Europe. A Yes vote on Friday will gain us even more influence and more respect. This momentous decision will have a huge bearing on our country for generations to come.

I passionately believe that Ireland's best interests lie in this country remaining at the heart of an efficient, effective and democratic European Union. That's why I am urging people to make a positive statement for Ireland by voting Yes.

Fine Gael is putting the country first in campaigning strongly for a Yes vote in this vital Referendum. Over the past month, I have campaigned throughout the country and I have been very encouraged by the number of people who have told be that they feel better informed about the Treaty on this occasion.

Many people have also told me of their huge anger at the behaviour and performance of the Government. While I fully understand people’s anger, I do not want this crucial vote to become a protest against the Government.

That is why I am asking Fine Gael supporters in particular, and others who are angry at the Government, to vote for the country, rather than against the Government.

To those who are still undecided about their vote, I say make your choice based on the facts, rather than on the misinformation and downright lies that have been promoted by some of those on the No side of this debate.

This Treaty will reform the institutions of the Union to cater for a population of 500 million in 27 Member States and to prepare Europe for the many challenges it faces. These include the growing economic power of nations like China, Russia and India.

Other global challenges like climate change, hunger and disease epidemics require Europe to speak with a coherent voice if our continent is to be effective in contributing to solutions to these problems. I want to keep Ireland at the heart of the European response to these issues.

Before the first Referendum, many people were confused about some of the issues in the campaign like taxation, neutrality, workers’ rights and abortion. These concerns have been heard and met by the legal guarantees given by our European partners. The concern about the possible loss of an Irish Commissioner has also been addressed and the only way of ensuring that each member state retains a commissioner is by a Yes to the Lisbon Treaty.

In this Referendum, we have a unique opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the European process and to strengthen our place at the heart of the Union. A strong Yes vote will send a powerful message internationally that Ireland remains at the heart of Europe.

I am confident that on Friday, the Irish people will opt for solidarity and a future role of influence, rather than isolation. This Referendum is a real and unique opportunity for Ireland. Let’s grab that opportunity with a resounding Yes vote.

For more information:

Kostas Sasmatzoglou, Spokesman, Tel. +32-2-2854147

Javier Jiménez, Press Officer, Tel: +32-475480446