The Minister for Communications, Marine & Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan, has indicated that he will be backing a yes vote in the upcoming referendum on the new EU treaty.

The referendum is likely to be held next year.

Speaking in Dublin the Minister said that on balance the European Union has been good for Ireland on issues like the environment.

Mr Ryan also said that there were concerns about areas like defence policy, but on balance Ireland's future lay within the EU.

Traditionally, the Green Party has opposed closer ties with Europe but the party is to engage in a process of consultation in advance of the vote that is expected in 2008.