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Gilmore denies referendum campaign will be linked to Anglo deal

Eamon Gilmore appears to undermine comments of Joan Burton by insisting that progress on the Anglo notes is totally separate.

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has insisted that the government’s campaign in favour of a Yes vote in the referendum on the European Fiscal Compact will not be linked to its negotiations on the promissory notes for Anglo Irish Bank.

Speaking in the Dáíl this morning, the Tánaiste appeared to undermine comments made by his Labour deputy leader Joan Burton, who had told today’s Financial Times that a deal reducing the government’s debt obligation to IBRC, formerly Anglo, would help the government to get the referendum passed.

“We have no intention of engaging in any kind of trade-off with the constitutional rights of the Irish people,” Gilmore told independent TD Shane Ross.

The public’s vote on the referendum would be “based on their own time and their own judgement, and not for anything,” he added.

Pressed by Ross on whether his comments were in direct conflict with those of Burton, the Tánaiste insisted:

They are not linked, they are separate processes, and we are going to continue with the process [on the promissory notes] until we get an outcome that is satisfactory for the Irish people.

Ross had encouraged the government to use the referendum as a bargaining chip with Europe, and said Enda Kenny should approach today’s summit in Brussels with “a wild card in his pocket”.

“If he goes there and says, ‘Irish people will respond better to a referendum if there are no more leaks from the Bundestag’ and if Anglo promissory notes come into the equation,” Ross said, Kenny could be able to fast-track a deal which would cut the government’s debt burden and reduce the need for austerity.

Read: Joan Burton: ‘Cutting price of promissory notes will help us pass referendum’ >

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Gavan Reilly

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