EU fiscal treaty vote: Irish voters reflect

Irish voters go to the polls on Thursday to decide whether to back the European fiscal treaty, which is designed impose strict new budget rules for eurozone countries.

The Irish government has warned that economic recovery would be jeopardised if the treaty was rejected. The No campaign says the pact will guarantee austerity for the foreseeable future.

Here voters across Ireland share their thoughts on the referendum.

Darren McBride, 42, software consultant, Dublin

Image caption Darren McBride says he is reluctantly voting Yes

We're damned if we vote Yes and we're damned if we vote No.

My personal preference would be to vote No because the euro model is not working for all of the countries using it and I would like to see it destroyed.

It is clear that all countries in the zone cannot share the same interest and exchange rates and the current environment is very suited to the Germans.

A devalued currency would be very much in the interest of the so-called "PIGS" [the heavily-indebted Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain].

However, if we don't approve the plan there will be no more money to draw from and we will become another Greece.

I will be voting Yes, but only because our government has sold our future to the German bankers.

I know that I am voting in another 10 to 15 years of austerity, but perhaps I will have left Europe by then.

Things are tight for us financially, and I think they can only get tighter with continued austerity measures.

I have two young children so I have to think about their future too. We could end up moving to Australia or the US.

John Tierney, 67, accountant, Portroe, Co Tipperary

Image caption John Tierney: "The EU has been very good for us over the last 30 years"

I'm planning to vote Yes - I think we've little alternative.

We have earned some respect back by imposing austerity. If we voted No, and the IMF had to step in, our reputation would be in shreds and it would take even longer to get back to the public debt markets.

The government needs to come up with a coherent, simple reason to vote Yes - for the man on the street who is not a businessman. I'm not convinced they've done it so far.

The No camp - particularly Sinn Fein - suggest there isn't any risk in voting No. They say there would be funds available for Ireland even if we vote down the fiscal compact. But they are not saying where those funds would come from.

I don't have problem to being committed to balancing budgets - I think that's a good thing. We're going in a certain direction that brings us closer and closer to Europe, and that's what the EU is all about.

The EU has been very good for us over the last 30 years. It allowed us to step out from under the shadow of Britain.

The additional taxes in Ireland are beginning to bite. I should be a lot angrier - I didn't get involved in all this excess. But that's beside the point, we have to get out of this situation and I am prepared to pay my share.

I just hope people get out and vote. Voters are fed up and angry. They want to take their anger out on something - possibly by voting No, or by not voting, in the referendum.

Patrick Henry, 46, materials planner, Navan, Co Meath, Ireland

I will be voting No because I don't believe in the direction Europe has been travelling down since the Maastricht Treaty.

The whole political crisis was created by a political elite that the common citizen didn't vote for.

I'm worried that if we sign up to a treaty, the terms of that treaty may later be changed and we won't get the benefits of the accord.

I don't believe that Ireland would be barred from emergency funds if we voted No. The EU would have to support Ireland if we needed funds, or we would drag the euro down with us.

Politicians need to be more honest about the direction we are travelling in - toward a European super-state. If the Irish people want to surrender sovereignty, so be it. But politicians must be clear about that.

The internal contradictions of the euro have created this economic situation - the project was a political, not an economic, imperative.

I wouldn't like Ireland to leave the euro overnight. But I think there should be a plan to deconstruct the whole euro project and get back to individual currencies.

I have been hit by the economic situation personally. I was made redundant three years ago, and now I'm now working for a series of temporary contracts across Ireland.

Kate Kelleher, 41, administrator, Monard, Co Tipperary

Image caption Kate Kelleher does not believe a No vote would be dangerous for Ireland

The government are just trying to just push the referendum through. But I will be voting No.

We have already lost our sovereignty. Even our last budget was approved by Germany. I feel no decision affecting Ireland's future is made by the Irish government.

I don't think it would dangerous to vote No. I don't think we would be any worse or better off, whichever way we vote. We're pretty stumped here anyway.

If we could turn back the clock, I suppose we wouldn't have jumped into the euro. Things seemed all right when the Celtic Tiger was roaring - but they were just building ghost towns.

With all the scare-mongering that is going on the politicians will probably achieve the Yes vote. We will just continue on the way we are going.

I was born here and taken to the UK in the 1970s because there was no work then. And now it is happening all over again.

I have three kids - aged 15, 13 and 10. The 15-year-old has already decided she is out after she's done her final exams. My son, who is gifted, wants to study A-Levels in the UK.

Actually, I hope they won't stay here. It will be no country for anyone. And if the children do leave then I will leave too.

Tony Rodgers, 21, student, Cork City

Image caption Tony Rodgers says the treaty is an attempt to stop unsustainable spending

I shall be voting Yes because of the practical implications of a No vote - exclusion from bailout funds.

The No camp have yet to explain how Ireland would fund a 12bn-euro current account deficit if Ireland was excluded from the ESM [the European Stability Mechanism, a bail-out fund].

In my opinion, the content of the treaty itself is just an attempt to stop or curtail unsustainable deficit spending.

I have a lot of friends and family members who want to vote No as the last vote did not bring the prosperity the Yes camp suggested, and they also want to vote against austerity.

Ireland has voted No before - but this is one treaty that Ireland cannot demand a ransom for. I don't think a Yes vote will help build business confidence, but I do believe a No vote will have a negative effect.

Those who demand the return of the punt or envisage the collapse of the euro have yet to explain how such a currency would be propped up.

I am graduating shortly with a degree that usually leads to the public or civil service. With the austerity cuts and the recruitment ban, I will more than likely be emigrating. But I can't be bothered wasting my time looking for people to blame.

Interviews by Nathan Williams, BBC News

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