Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out changing the date of the fiscal treaty referendum, despite the German parliament delaying its ratification process.

German ratification of the treaty has been delayed until June.

Mr Kenny said it is important Ireland wastes no time in sending out a message of certainty.

Minister of State Brian Hayes has also said there is no question of the fiscal treaty referendum being postponed.

He was responding to calls by Independent TD Shane Ross for the vote to be delayed pending the outcome of an informal EU summit later this month, which may see growth measures introduced.

Independent MEP Marian Harkin has also called on the Government to delay the referendum.

“It's too soon. We need to know what we are voting for," she said.

Brian Hayes said 67 protocols and annexes had been made to various treaties in the past few decades, including several specifically for Ireland.

He said there is no suggestion that the treaty is going to be put into "cold storage" while any agreement is put in place.

Mr Hayes said it “is not our job to tell other countries what to do, and equally it's not their job to lecture us”.

He said it was for the Irish people to decide their view on the issue.

Clarity sought from Referendum Commission

Meanwhile, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has asked the Referendum Commission to make a determination on whether the European Court of Justice can impose fines on countries who breach the terms of the fiscal treaty.

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty has claimed that, for the first time, the court will adjudicate on whether countries who enter a programme of adjustments are fulfilling their commitments.

Mr Doherty said if Ireland is in breach of correction methods laid down by the European Commission, the European Court of Justice can impose fines of up to €160m.

But Mr Howlin said the court has no fining capacity and called on the Referendum Commission to clarify the matter.

Mr Doherty also claimed that passing the treaty will give Europe powers to dictate the contents of future budgets.

He also said despite the uncertainty in Europe, the referendum in Ireland should go ahead.

United Left Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett described the recent responses by Minister Lucinda Creighton and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore on the ESM treaty as "utterly bizzare".

He accused the Government of deceiving the public by failing to acknowledge that ratifying the treaty, following the fiscal treaty referendum, involves Ireland committing up to €11bn to the fund.

The Workers' Party has said a Yes vote would drive Ireland over the cliff of permanent austerity.

Speaking at a public meeting in Kells, Co Meath last night, party spokesman Seamus McDonagh said a No vote was the only outcome that could protect the economy from further decline.