Tuesday 12 December 2017

No decision on referendum until after January 30 summit - Taoiseach

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: PA
Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: PA

Ed Carty

A DECISION on a referendum to toughen budgetary rules across the European Union will not be made until after a leaders' summit on January 30, it has been revealed.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said a final draft on a proposed treaty to try to ease the euro crisis and create a new fiscal pact is expected to be drawn up tomorrow.

Attorney General Maire Whelan will be asked for advice on whether the document should go to a national vote if it is signed off by the European heads of government, Mr Kenny added.

"As Taoiseach and as leader of the Government, I'm not in a position to actually ask for formal legal advice from the Attorney General here until the politicians and the political process at heads of government level have dealt with the draft," he said.

"Tomorrow I would expect that there would be a conclusion at the technical level of a draft text.

"But if it's a requirement that this country has to have a referendum, then that's what will happen."

The Taoiseach also dismissed reports that he would indicate at the January European leaders' summit whether Ireland would hold a referendum.

Michael Noonan, Finance Minister, meets his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schauble, for talks in Berlin today.

Micheal Martin, Fianna Fail leader, claimed the Taoiseach was speaking in riddles.

"I do not believe you Taoiseach when you say you do not have an idea about the legal implications of this treaty," he said.

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president, attacked plans for the treaty.

"The Taoiseach has said that his objective is to be the Taoiseach who retrieves Ireland's economic sovereignty," he said.

"This treaty is actually at odds with this objective."

Earlier, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said it was unclear whether voters would have a referendum on new arrangements on the euro region's fiscal rules.

"There's only one reason why you have a referendum and that's where there is a requirement to change the constitution," the minister told RTE Radio.

"It's not clear at all that that is going to be the case with this fiscal treaty."

Mr Varadkar added: "I don't particularly like referendums."

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