Kenny accused of 'acting the eejit'
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny last night continued to fend off growing calls for a referendum on the EU's tough new budgetary rules as he was accused of acting "like an eejit" at a meeting of European Union leaders.
Mr Kenny said the Cabinet had now formally written to its legal adviser, Attorney General Maire Whelan, asking her to assess if the new EU treaty needed to be ratified by a referendum.
But the Taoiseach also came under fire over his behaviour at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos and the EU summit in Brussels.
Mr Kenny's comments in Davos on Irish people going "mad borrowing" and his backslapping with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Brussels was criticised.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said he felt it was inappropriate for the Taoiseach "to act like an eejit".
Mr Kenny said he had previously had an "altercation" with Mr Sarkozy but now enjoyed a "convivial" relationship.
Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said it appeared a number of EU leaders were "patting the Irish prime minister on the head".
Mr Higgins also said Transport Minister Leo Varadkar was effectively accusing the public of being stupid through his expressed opposition to the holding of referendums in general.
Mr Kenny said the Government would await Ms Whelan's advice -- which was expected in the next fortnight.
"When you talk about consulting with the people, you can take it there will be very adequate information given to everybody about what is contained in this," he said.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said it would be "morally right" to consult the people through a referendum.
Mr Adams and Mr Higgins were also demanding a referendum.
The treaty on budgetary discipline will be signed by 25 of the 27 EU members, with Britain and the Czech Republic opting out.
Today, the campaign to hold a referendum will crank up further. The technical group of Independent TDs will this morning publish what it is describing as a "radical and new proposal on the treaty" and the Socialist Party will launch its campaign for a referendum.