No date set for fiscal treaty referendum

Wednesday 07 March 2012 11.07
Enda Kenny said people are fixated with the referendum date
Enda Kenny said people are fixated with the referendum date

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says his Government will make up its mind "in due course" as to when the fiscal treaty referendum will be held.

Mr Kenny said it is very important that every citizen be fully informed about its importance.

Arriving at Government Buildings ahead of today’s Cabinet meeting, Mr Kenny said people are fixated with the date.

Asked if the referendum could be held a second time if the people vote No, the Taoiseach said the treaty has to be ratified by 1 January, 2013, and said: ''We're not going to have referenda every week.''

He said he hopes people give the treaty a ''resounding Yes'' because he said it is important that Ireland remains central to Europe.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said it was a matter of opinion whether the vote should take place in the summer or autumn.

He said he doubts if a decision on the date will be announced today.

The Opposition has called for the date to be set as quickly as possible.

Independent TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan said a time should be announced as soon as possible to clear up the uncertainty.

His fear, he said, was that the date would be pushed out for as long as possible in order for the Government to, as he put it, ''terrify'' the people about the consequences of voting No.

The Taoiseach also told the Dáil that discussions on the Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes are taking place among officials at a European level.

However, Mr Kenny said no deal has yet been done and he could not put a timeline on it.

Since last September, the Government has been talking to the bailout lenders on a possible deal on repayment of the notes.

The €3.1bn payment is due at the end of March. Any deal would need to be agreed with the Troika.

Earlier, Minister Pat Rabbitte declined to comment on reports that negotiations are at an advanced stage, but said a positive outcome would be good news for Ireland.