The Minister for Finance has said that any EU referendum would come down to whether Ireland wanted to continue in the euro or not.

Speaking at Bloomberg in London, Michael Noonan said he believed that, faced with that question, the Irish people would pass such a referendum.

Asked whether Ireland would have to hold a referendum on what emerges from Europe in March, the Minister said he did not know.

"On one interpretation of what's on the table this can be done without constitutional change, but there's debate about that. Our legal people won't be able to call it until they see the text," he told reporters after the speech.

But Mr Noonan said there was an urgency to draft the policy objective outlined in Brussels.

"People will not be able to judge whether a referendum is required in Ireland until they see the text."

The Minister also said the imposition of a transaction tax would be a matter of concern for Ireland if it were to be applied to the financial services sector in Dublin and not in London.

However, Mr Noonan said that he did not think the use of the British veto in Brussels last week would have any immediate impact on Ireland's financial services sector which employs over 30,000 people.

He added that the Government had a better idea of the UK's position now following last night's telephone conversation between the Taoiseach and David Cameron.

A spokesperson said their discussions were positive with both leaders reaffirming the importance of continued political and economic ties between the two countries.

In his speech, Mr Noonan said 2011 had been a relatively successful one in terms of political stability and economic recovery.

He also said that he is part of the strangest Government this country has ever had - as it is almost a national unity government.

"The Government has a plan that is designed to provide clarity, meet targets, return to growth and return to the markets."

The minister said it was a pity that what was agreed at last week’s EU summit in Brussels was not endorsed by all EU member states.

"But we are not saying that in any critical way of the UK. They make their decisions in the interests of their country."

Minister insulting people's intelligence - FF

Fianna Fáil’s Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath has described Mr Noonan’s comments as “an insult to Irish people's intelligence”.

In a statement, Deputy McGrath said: "Michael Noonan's extraordinary intervention on the question of whether or not there should be a referendum on the new proposed intergovernmental agreement is an insult to Irish people's intelligence.

“Hours before the Taoiseach stands up in the Dáil and tells us that he does not know any of the details of the emerging treaty, Michael Noonan goes on international television and tries to tell us that he knows enough about it to conclude that any enabling referendum would have to be on the basic question of euro membership!

"Quite clearly, this is not based on any sound legal analysis but is instead a highly political and deliberate attempt to silence legitimate criticism and browbeat those who strongly support euro membership but have genuine concerns about this deal.

“The fact that the Minister's language mirrors almost exactly the proposition used by France and Germany to scupper recent plans for a referendum in Greece will not be lost on people.”