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Gilmore: 'I never told US Embassy I wanted second Lisbon referendum'

The Tánaiste dismisses WikiLeaks’ tale of events, saying: ‘Don’t believe everything you read.’

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has denied reports that he privately told the United States’ Dublin embassy that he privately supported holding a second referendum on ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Gilmore – making his first broadcast comments on the revelations contained in the WikiLeaks ‘cablegate’ files – said he had never spoken to the US embassy on the issue of a second vote on Lisbon.

A diplomatic cable dated July 2008 – a month after the public voted against ratifying Lisbon by 53 per cent to 47 – said Gilmore had privately told the embassy he “fully expects, and would support, holding a second referendum in 2009″.

This was despite having publicly affirmed, after Ireland had rejected the treaty and effectively stopped it from coming into effect anywhere in the EU, that the Lisbon Treaty was “dead”.

The cable – written by the then-US ambassador Thomas Foley – had accounted for the difference in stances as follows:

He explained his public posture of opposition to asecond referendum as “politically necessary” for the timebeing.

The matter was raised this morning when Gilmore was being asked about the possibility of eventually holding a second referendum on the Fiscal Compact, should Irish voters reject it at the ballot box tomorrow.

“I never spoke to the American ambassador… I was never in the American embassy on that issue,” the Tánaiste said.

Questioned further, he added: “You shouldn’t believe everything you read in WikiLeaks. I didn’t. I didn’t say it… I never said what I was reported to have said.”

The Tánaiste again affirmed that there could be no second ballot on the Fiscal Compact because “no second referendum arises”, given that Ireland did not have the power to stop the Fiscal Compact Treaty from taking effect in other countries.

“We vote tomorrow. That’s it – that’s our decision. We’re either in or out,” he said.

Gilmore had earlier described Pearse Doherty’s court challenge against some of the comments of the Referendum Commission as a “last-minute publicity stunt” designed to “throw some sand in the eyes” of voters.

Read: Court to rule on Pearse Doherty’s challenge against Referendum Commission comments

More: Broadcast moratorium on referendum coverage starts at 2pm

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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