Second Irish referendum confirmed
The EU has confirmed there will be a second Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty.
Irish delegates have emerged from the summit with secured concessions on key objections, including abortion, Irish neutrality, tax harmonisation and retaining the country’s commissioner.
“Forcing the Irish to vote again will undermine the EU’s own legitimacy. What kind of organisation keeps on asking voters the same question until it gets the answer it wants?” asked shadow foreign secretary William Hague.
Officials will want Ireland to ratify the treaty by the end of next year.
Irish delegates believe they have emerged with sufficient concessions for the Irish public to accept they are voting on a new package.
There are suspicions the economic crisis could push the vote towards the ‘yes’ camp, with nervousness convincing the public it is better to be part of a larger economic structure.
“At least Irish voters are being asked. Our unelected Prime Minister is making the Irish vote twice but he won’t even let the British people vote once,” Mr Hague continued.
Declan Ganley, the multimillionaire Galway businessman who spearheaded the ‘no’ campaign last time, has promised to fight the referendum tooth and nail in a pan-European campaign by his Libertas party.
“If people want a strong and healthy Europe that is democratic and answerable to them, they should vote for a Libertas candidate,” he said.