The Taoiseach has said that there is uncertainty about the way forward in the aftermath of the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty and great uncertainty about Ireland's position in Europe.

Brian Cowen said he would work between now and October with European colleagues and would try to distil the concerns of the Irish Electorate to find a way forward.

He said that until the process was over he was not in a position to engage in glib speculation as to what might happen.

Earlier today, a senior member of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's political party has said a second referendum in Ireland is the only way for Europe to make progress.

The Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the French National Assembly, Axel Poniatowski, said that Ireland should stage another vote on the Lisbon Treaty in the next 12 months.

Mr Poniatowski said that he did not see any other choice because Europe was 'in the middle of the river' because it is governed by the Treaty of Nice, which he said left Europe in paralysis.