Saturday

27th Aug 2016

Ireland plans referendum body on possible EU treaty poll

  • Ireland received an EU-IMF bail-out in 2010 (Photo: informatique)

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has said he intends to establish a permanent referendum commission so that the public is fully prepared for a possible poll on the fiscal discipline treaty currently being drawn up by member states.

"I cannot give you an indication now as to whether there will actually be a referendum in respect of the inter-governmental agreement from the European business until the text is finalised and we get the advice of the attorney general," said Kenny on Tuesday (28 December), according to PA.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"What I am going to do though is set up the Referendum Commission on a much more permanent basis so that the commission will be able to reflect in readiness as to what is actually going to happen."

Referendum commissions are set up ahead of each referendum in Ireland to give neutral information on the topic being put to vote.

EU leaders, with the exception of Britain, agreed earlier this month to tighten up fiscal and budgetary surveillance in the eurozone in the form of an inter-governmental pact.

With the 17 eurozone states under pressure to agree the text as soon as possible, Ireland is already in the spotlight for the possible problems it might have with ratification.

Attorney general Marie Whelan is examining the details of the agreement - a draft of which was circulated on 16 December - to see if they imply a change to Ireland's constitution through more powers being handed over to the EU level. This would require a referendum.

Ireland is feeling the pressure after having seen the last two EU treaties - the Nice and Lisbon Treaty - rejected by voters. Subsequent referendums saw both treaties then accepted.

But the governments at the time came under fierce criticism, particularly in the case of the Lisbon Treaty, for being too complacent about the result in the run-up to the first referendum and and letting critics of the treaty frame the debate.

This time round, the current government also has to contend with the fact that a potential referendum would take place as the Irish continue to endure swingeing austerity measures, put in place in return for an EU-IMF bailout in 2010.

The Irish government, gloomy about the prospect of a Yes vote under such conditions, has rejected a call by the opposition to hold a referendum on the treaty regardless of whether one is legally required.

“You don’t go holding a referendum unless you have to and clearly the advice of the attorney general is what the government will act on as we’ve always done," said Kenny, according to the Irish Times.

Meanwhile, Ireland's EU partners have already anticipated its potential ratification problems.

The treaty draft circulated earlier this month suggested that the agreement will enter into force once nine countries have ratified it - although it is thought that Berlin may want to raise this threshold to ensure as many eurozone states are on board as possible.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey