Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the Irish people would not be "bribed" in order to support the fiscal compact treaty.

Speaking on his way into a meeting of European leaders in Brussels, Mr Kenny said the Anglo promissory notes issue was separate to the intergovernmental treaty, and that the Irish people would not be bribed.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan was also asked whether a deal on Anglo Irish promissory notes could be secured by the Government in the hope this would help secure a 'Yes' vote on the the fiscal compact referendum.

Mr Noonan said: "The Irish people are great respecters of their constitution and they want to be allowed to consider the facts of the treaty.

"They are not going to be subject to cohersion or inducement. We see the promissory note as a very important issue, but are negotiating it separately.

"We are not going to tie the two issues together. That would be an attempt to induce the Irish people to vote 'yes' and they must be allowed to establish the facts in full, and make a free and open decision on whether they vote 'yes' or 'no'."

Asked about his statement in December that any referendum on the fiscal compact would effectively be a vote on the euro, Mr Noonan said more than 20 countries could pass the treaty through their parliamentary systems.

He continued: "That certainly would present grave difficulties for Ireland going forward. We wouldn't have the backstop of €500m and €750bn via the permanent bailout fund that would be available for us to go back into the (financial) markets.

"The absence of backstop would raise issues for us. So I don't want Ireland operating to a different set of rules to the eurozone."

Rabbitte hopes for open and transparent debate

Meanwhile, Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said he hopes that the issues surrounding the Irish bailout and debt restructuring do not become entangled in the debate on the upcoming referendum.

He said he hoped the debate would not be hijacked by issues that are important in themselves but are insignificant when it comes to developments in the eurozone and getting stability in the eurozone so that the Irish economy can grow.

Mr Rabbitte said it was inevitable that people would use certain issues as distractions but he said the subject matter of the referendum was so grave for this country that he hoped the campaign would be conducted in an open and transparent fashion.

He said if there was stability in the eurozone, the Irish economy was better placed than most to grow rapidly again and that Ireland had made great progress in terms of competitiveness.

The minister also said the negotiations the Government was engaged in to restructure the debt really did not have anything to do with the separate challenge it faced, and there really was no alternative but to pass the stability referendum.