Gilmore denies saying he would support second vote on Lisbon
TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore yesterday denied telling US diplomats he would support the holding of a second Lisbon Treaty referendum, as revealed in a leaked US embassy cable.
The question of a second vote arose again yesterday -- this time in the EU fiscal treaty referendum -- after Social Welfare Minister Joan Burton failed to rule out a second vote if there is a No in today's referendum.
Mr Gilmore says there won't be a second referendum on the EU fiscal treaty.
However, the Labour Party leader was embarrassed last year when it emerged in the Wikileaks cables, published in the Irish Independent, that he was saying publicly there wouldn't be a second Lisbon referendum, while telling the US Embassy there would have to be.
But Mr Gilmore said yesterday he never spoke to the US Ambassador nor visited the Embassy following the Lisbon I referendum.
The Labour leader says his stance on a second referendum changed because the question the second time around was different with the retention of the European Commissioner and guarantees on a number of issues.
Therefore, he claims the Lisbon II referendum was different from Lisbon I.
Mr Gilmore's spokesman said the Tanaiste met diplomats all the time at events, but there was no specific meeting with the US Embassy at that time.
"He didn't at any point say anything different in private to what he was saying in public," the spokesman said.
The leaked US Embassy cable said Mr Gilmore admitted a "public posture" of opposition to a second referendum because it was "politically necessary".
At the same time, Mr Gilmore fully expected a second referendum and said he would support it.
After the No vote in the first Lisbon referendum in June 2008, the Labour leader said the "Lisbon Treaty is dead" and opposed a second referendum being held.
But Mr Gilmore presented a different scenario a month later to US embassy staff, according to then US Ambassador Thomas Foley.
"Gilmore, who has led calls against a second referendum, has told the embassy separately that he fully expects, and would support, holding a second referendum in 2009. He explained his public posture of opposition to a second referendum as 'politically necessary' for the time being," the ambassador said in a 'confidential' dispatch sent to his colleagues in Washington and across the EU.