The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that the Government will hold a referendum on the European Constitution even if other countries reject it.

Bertie Ahern told Green Party leader Trevor Sargent that there is an obligation on every country to try to ratify the constitution by 1 November 2006. 

Mr Sargent had pointed out that opinion polls suggested France would reject the constitution in a vote next month. He asked if 100% approval was no longer the requirement for the treaty.

The Taoiseach said that if, on 1 November next year, 90% of countries had ratified the constitution, then the European Council would discuss the next step.

But he said that if only half the countries had done so, he would assume there would not be much point holding a discussion.