MINISTER SIMON COVENEY has ruled out running a second referendum should the Irish electorate vote ‘no’ on the Fiscal Compact at the end of this month.
“I don’t see us asking the same question a second time, it’s just not going to happen this time around,” he told TheJournal.ie last night.
Coveney said that a second referendum was taken in the cases of the Lisbon and Nice Treaties because a unanimous decision was needed on those for the treaties to take effect.
“This only needs 12 countries for it to go forward and at the moment it has 25 if Ireland votes ‘yes’, and 24 if Ireland votes ‘no’, so it moves ahead without us,” he said.
“The problem is then that Ireland becomes isolated, we’re on our own,” he added. “Well, we’re in the same category as Britain and the Czech Republic. But if we do need to access the stability fund at the end of next year, we don’t have that option. That creates all sorts of uncertainty in terms of if we should need it, where would the money come from.”
“This is a hugely important vote at the end of this month,” the agriculture minister said.”But if people decide to vote no, we’ll have to accept that and deal with the consequences as the government, that’s our job, it’s a democratic decision.”
Yesterday, Finance Minister Micheal Noonan warned that a no vote would mean a more severe budget in December. Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, he said that Budget 2013 would be “dramatically more difficult” following a ‘no’ vote.
During the TV3 referendum debate last night, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins accused the government of “wielding a big stick” over the electorate in threatening negative economic consequences in the case of a ‘no’ result.