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Taoiseach expects AG decision on EU referendum in 'two to three weeks'

Enda Kenny told the Dáil this week that he expects a decision on whether or not a referendum is needed shortly.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (File photo)
Taoiseach Enda Kenny (File photo)
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said that he expects the Attorney General to advise the government on the necessity or not for a referendum on the EU fiscal compact treaty “in two to three weeks”.

Speaking in the Dáil this week, Kenny said that while he had not pressurised Attorney General Marie Whelan he expected to be presented with her guidance shortly.

He said that he will subsequently inform the Oireachtas and the country of her decision.

The new EU treaty which has been signed up to by 25 of the 27 European Union nations proposes to tighten fiscal discipline among member states. The final text of the treaty proposes a so-called ‘debt brake’ which would limit each country’s budget deficit.

The treaty states that this mechanism be adopted by ‘preferably constitutional’ means, appearing to offer the government flexibility in that it could merely be required to legislate for the proposal.

Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and other opposition parties have all called for a referendum to be held with the Technical Group of independent TDs even petitioning to force a referendum regardless of the Attorney General’s decision.

The government has insisted that it does not fear any referendum and the possibility putting the fiscal compact to the people.

In answer to a question from Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams during questions on his most recent European Council meeting, the Taoiseach said:

I have not pressurised her or asked for a timeframe – the Deputy will be aware it is not my place to do so – I expect it will be presented in two to three weeks. I cannot answer for the Attorney General.

“When I have been formally advised of the Attorney General’s advice, I will of course make it known to the House and the country. It is in everyone’s interest that I do so. That is the position. We have always followed such a process in this country,” he added.

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Hugh O'Connell

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