THE GOVERNMENT will this morning decide on the date for the referendum on the Fiscal Compact.
The matter will be discussed at this morning’s weekly cabinet meeting, which today will be chaired by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, in the absence of Taoiseach Enda Kenny who is in China.
It is thought that a date in late May is the most likely, as various ministers have previously indicated their desire that the referendum not clash with the Euro 2012 soccer championships and the International Eucharistic Congress, both taking place in mid-June.
Ministers are also likely to try and avoid clashes with the Junior and Leaving Certificate exams, which begin on June 6, and will be keen to try and minimise conflicts with third-level exams which take place throughout May and June.
Of particular interest will be whether polling is held on a Thursday or Friday; polling in the last two referendums, which were held alongside the Presidential election last October, was on a Thursday.
Thursday polling has been criticised by many organisations, including students’ unions, who argue that polling should be held on Fridays in order to allow students and others who live away from home to get to their regular polling stations.
Among other matters to be discussed at this morning’s meeting is the ongoing status of the talks on restructuring the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note, on which a first repayment is due this Saturday.
The discussions will come ahead of a meeting of the Oireachtas finance committee, at which the governor of the Central Bank, Patrick Honohan, will answer questions from TDs and Senators regarding repayment of the €30.6 billion notes.
Michael Noonan last week announced that the first annual repayment of €3.06 billion would probably be replaced by a new government bond, but no firm progress appears to have been made in the meantime.