Referendum will be 'once-off' event - Kenny

Monday 05 March 2012 22.02
Enda Kenny reiterated that the referendum is separate to the bank debt issue
Enda Kenny reiterated that the referendum is separate to the bank debt issue

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the forthcoming referendum on the fiscal treaty will be a "once-off" event, no matter which way the Irish people vote.

Mr Kenny also reiterated that the treaty referendum was an entirely separate issue from negotiations with the European Union on a reduction in Ireland's bank debt.

Speaking in Castlebar, Co Mayo, Mr Kenny was asked if he believed a deal on banking promissory notes was key to winning a Yes vote in the referendum.

The Taoiseach said it was not a EU treaty, but an intergovernmental agreement and so only needed 12 countries for it to come into force.

Earlier, Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton insisted that there were no divisions within Government.

Ms Creighton said ratifying the treaty was "essential" to reaffirm Ireland's commitment to the euro and to move forward with its partners in Europe in building Ireland's economic recovery.

Elsewhere, Danish MEP Soren Sondergaard has been invited to a Dublin meeting organised by the Campaign Against the Austerity Treaty.

Mr Sondegaard is from the Red-Green Alliance and is an opponent of the fiscal compact.

He said that, if ratified, the treaty would "institutionalise austerity across Europe, further attacking the living standards of working people and the unemployed".

He added: "This is a European battle upon Irish soil. In other European countries, governments are trying desperately to avoid putting this Treaty to a popular vote."

The referendum was announced last week, following advice from the Attorney General. No date has yet been set for the vote.