Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said that he has not ruled out the prospect of a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

When asked if he thought that there would be a second referendum, Mr Cowen said that it was a matter the Government would have to consider in due course.

He said that the Government were not at that point in the discussions yet and that they were examining the outcome of the referendum at the moment.

Mr Cowen said that the Government would be meeting with other EU colleagues between now and the end of the year.

Fine Gael said the Taoiseach must provide an explicit assurance that the same question would not be put to the people in a new referendum.

The Party's Europe spokeswoman Lucinda Creighton said the concerns expressed during the last referendum would also have to addressed if a new one was to be put.

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald said the Government could not re-run the same referendum and if there was to be a new referendum it would have to be substantially different from that rejected by the people.

The EU Affairs Minister, Dick Roche, had said earlier this week that his personal opinion was that a second referendum would be necessary.