Monday 23 October 2017

Enda Kenny plays down second vote talk after radio gaffe

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Majella O'Sullivan, Ralph Riegel and Fionnan Sheahan

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny last night tried to play down talk of a second vote on the EU fiscal treaty referendum after Richard Bruton's gaffe.

Mr Kenny said the Jobs Minister was "courageous and man enough to admit he made a mistake".

But European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton admitted she didn't know if Mr Bruton's remarks had done damage to the Yes camp.

But No campaigners said Mr Bruton merely confirmed the worst kept secret in the country -- that the Government will force a second referendum if the first vote is rejected.

The minister admitted he had dealt badly with a question put to him during a Today FM debate about a second referendum if there was a No vote first time around.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said there would be only be one vote on the fiscal treaty.

"This isn't like Nice and Lisbon. In Nice and Lisbon, for Europe to move forward, we needed to have unanimity and in other words every country needed to ratify," he said.

Mr Kenny said there would be "no second opportunity" to vote on the fiscal treaty and "everyone makes mistakes in life".

"I think Mr Bruton was very courageous and man enough to immediately recognise he had made a mistake and own up to it.

"It would be good if some of the people on the other side were to own up in a similar fashion to some of the comments they've made," he said.

But on the No side, Independent TD Thomas Pringle said he didn't believe it was a mistake. "I'm surprised but not shocked by them because I don't expect Fine Gael and Labour to be any different to what Fianna Fail has been in the past," he said.

Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the minister's comments about a second referendum were "an outrage and an affront to democracy".

Libertas founder Declan Ganley said voters should have the courage to hold out for a better bank bailout agreement. "He (Mr Bruton) is only saying what everybody in the country knows anyway. I fully expect that there will be a second vote," he said.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore rejected claims Ireland was being bullied and threatened into a Yes vote.

Damaging

"I think that a No vote here would send a signal to people in boardrooms who are thinking of investing in this country which would say, ahem, I wonder about their relationship with the euro.

"It creates doubt and uncertainty and I think it would have a damaging effect on investment," he said.

Meanwhile, a new opinion poll yesterday showed a slight shift of undecided voters to the No camp.

But the Red C poll for Paddy Power bookmakers still put the Yes side well ahead. The poll showed 50pc will vote Yes, 31pc No and 19pc still undecided. Stripping out the undecided voters, the Yes was 62pc to No on 38pc.

Irish Independent

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