THE Government is not obliged to hold a referendum on changes to the Lisbon Treaty paving the way for a new bailout mechanism in 2013, two legal experts have said.
Former attorney general Paul Gallagher, above left, and senior UCD law lecturer Gavin Barrett, above right, told a joint meeting of the Bar Council and the European Union-funded Institute of International and European Affairs that the amendment to the Lisbon Treaty does not require a national vote. The complex changes, due to be passed in the Dail next year, aim to remove an existing clause banning bailouts.
Germany is worried that the constitutional court in Karlsruhe will reject the European Stability Mechanism, the bailout device due to come into effect at the beginning of 2013, Mr Gallagher told the meeting. The Mechanism will replace the existing funds which are helping to bail out Ireland, Greece and Portugal.
The people have been asked to vote seven times on changes to the treaties governing Europe since Kilkenny man Ray Crotty challenged the Government's right to pass the Single European Act in 1987.
"It is a misunderstanding of Crotty to believe that every amendment to the treaty requires a referendum," Dr Barrett said yesterday.