Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton has rejected claims that Ireland has a veto over the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the EU's emergency bailout fund.
Campaigners for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on the EU Fiscal Treaty have repeatedly highlighted that Ireland will be barred from access to ESM funds if the treaty is not passed here.
However Sinn Féin has contended that the government has the option of exercising a veto to block the establishement of the fund, and that doing so would pave the way for the renegotiation of the EU fiscal treaty.
However Minister Creighton today said Sinn Féin is mistaken in its belief that Ireland even has the power of veto in this instance.
"That's absolutely incorrect," she said.
"The ESM - and it's quite complex - will be created by contributions from member states of the European Union.
"All that is required is that the donors of 90% of that funding agree to its establishment, and it will be established.
"Ireland will contribute just over 1% to that fund, so we don't have a veto. That's very clear."
Minister Creighton was speaking today at the launch of Fine Gael’s dedicated website for the referendum campaign.
Meanwhile Fianna Fáil has accused Sinn Féin of "deliberately misleading voters" in relation to the alleged power of veto.
“The independent Referendum Commission has confirmed that Ireland does not have a veto on the establishment of the ESM and that we will not be able to access the fund if we vote No on May 31," the party's finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said.
“The ESM Treaty does not require unanimity to enter into force," he added.
"The fund can be established once the ESM Treaty has been ratified by euro member states representing 90% of the ESM capital commitments. Ireland represents only 1.592%.
“The cornerstone of Sinn Féin’s campaign – that in some way Ireland can block the setting up of the ESM - has been exposed as a fallacy."