Taoiseach says there will not be second vote on EU treaty

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said there will not be a second vote on the fiscal compact, regardless of the result in the forthcoming referendum.

Speaking in Castlebar, Co Mayo today, Mr Kenny said the referendum vote would be a "once off". Because the treaty was an intergovernmental agreement rather than a European Union treaty, only 12 countries were needed to ratify it, he said.

“It is a once off, so when the Irish people make their choice, that’s it.”

Mr Kenny also said the negotiations for better terms on bank debt were separate from the fiscal treaty referendum.

His comments come amid continuing controversy over comments by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton who said a deal on bank debt would facilitate a Yes vote.

Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton denied reports there are divisions in Government over the referendum.

She reiterated the Government position that negotiations for better terms on bank debt are being treated separately to the fiscal treaty referendum.

Ms Creighton said: “It’s very important that we do see progress on the issue of our promissory notes and, as you know, Michael Noonan is leading that negotiation on behalf of the Government.

“That is a work in progress. It is entirely separate to the ratification of this treaty.

When it was put to her by reporters that Ms Burton was not treating the issues as separate, Ms Creighton responded the Government was keeping the issues separate.

Stressing the importance of passing the treaty, she said: “I don’t think it can be underestimated how important it is to our recovery, to our economic prospects.”

Elsewhere, Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar said today it makes political and diplomatic sense not to link a new deal on promissory notes to a yes vote for the EU fiscal compact.

Speaking in Kilkenny where he addressed the Irish Hotels federation annual conference Mr Varadkar said the Government’s objective was to get a deal on promissory notes, but “we think based on our assessments that it isn’t in our interests to connect the two”.

Ms Burton's linking of better terms for Ireland’s bank debt with the fiscal treaty referendum is causing problems for the Government’s campaign, her Labour colleagues claimed.

Labour Ministers are angry over remarks Ms Burton made in recent days. The Minister for Social Protection has twice linked a reduction in Ireland’s bank debt burden to support for the Yes side.

However, Government sources yesterday told The Irish Times while they are confident a deal reducing the debt will be reached, it is unlikely to be finalised before the vote.