Opposition renews call for treaty referendum

Thursday 02 February 2012 11.53
Thomas Pringle says the petition will be published in the coming weeks
Thomas Pringle says the petition will be published in the coming weeks

The Government has again faced calls from Opposition politicians to hold a referendum on the new European fiscal treaty.

Efforts are to be made to secure the backing of enough TDs and Senators to petition the President to call a referendum on the treaty if the Government refuses to hold one.

TDs discussed the outcome of Monday's European Council meeting in the Dáil this afternoon.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the new treaty will ensure that everybody plays by the rules and it will benefit smaller member states such as Ireland.

But Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said pushing through the treaty without public engagement would do lasting damage to the standing of the European Union in Ireland.

Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach to confirm that Irish officials were told to negotiate an agreement that would not require a referendum.

Mr Kenny insisted their only mandate was to get the best deal for Ireland.

Independent TD Shane Ross described the treaty as "a lap of honour" for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On European plans to boost employment growth, Mr Ross said it was difficult for a stimulus plan and an austerity package to work alongside each other.

TD plans petition for EU treaty referendum

Meanwhile, Independent TD Thomas Pringle is writing to each member of the Oireachtas asking them to support a petition to the President requesting a referendum on the treaty if the Government rules one out.

Under Article 27 of the Constitution, a third of the members of the Dáil and the majority of the members of the Seanad can sign a petition requesting the President not to sign a bill into law before it is approved by a referendum.

Mr Pringle said he had taken legal advice on the process and would publish the petition in the coming weeks.

He acknowledged he would have to secure support from some members of Fine Gael and Labour in both houses, but said he was hopeful of doing so.

The petition will require the backing of 55 members of the Dáil and a majority of members of the Seanad before it can be presented to the President.

Govt wants transaction tax applied evenly

The Minister for Finance has told the Dáil that the Government supports the principle of a financial transactions tax, but has problems with its uneven application.

Specifically, the Government opposes a situation where a financial transaction tax would apply in Dublin, but would not apply in London.

It fears that this could lead to the relocation of businesses to London from Dublin, with a subsequent loss of jobs in Ireland.

Michael Noonan said the Government would have no problem with the principle of an FTT if it was applied at G20 level.

He said: "If it was applied worldwide it would be a reasonably good idea.

"If it was applied to all 27 EU states we could live with that.

"But if it is applied to just 17 states, with a tax applying in Dublin that would not apply in London, we could not live with that."