Taoiseach: Treaty referendum will not be postponed

Taoiseach: Treaty referendum will not be postponed

The May 31 European treaty referendum will go ahead as planned, as Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he welcomes calls from the new French president for growth policies.

Mr Kenny said the Government and other European states have been pressing for the initiative backed by Socialist leader Francois Hollande after his victory at the weekend.

“We will go ahead with the referendum as planned,” the Taoiseach said.

“I welcome the fact that president-elect Hollande has been talking about growth and investment which is what Ireland has been talking about along with a number of other leaders for the last number of months.

“Clearly we support that principle very strongly as an addition ... as a complement to the existing treaty.

Mr Hollande has said he wants a number of growth measures to be added to the fiscal treaty although German Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted there is no room for renegotiation.

“The Irish people will decide further for ourselves on May 31 and I hope that’s a resounding yes,” he added.

Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has also dismissed calls for the referendum to be deferred after travelling to Paris to join the Socialist celebrations.

The only option for changing the fiscal treaty is to secure agreement from the leaders of all 25 countries who have signed the pact, to make amendments, rewrite a section or include new protocols.

Only 12 of the 17 eurozone countries need to ratify the treaty in order for it to come into effect.

Meanwhile, Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy said the treaty is in danger across Europe.

“This treaty is increasingly a sitting duck. The Irish people should take the opportunity to strike another decisive blow on May 31, sink this treaty and join with the millions around Europe demanding an end to austerity,” he said.

Mr Murphy claimed that along with Mr Hollande’s push for growth policies to be written into the treaty, there is also opposition to the pact in Greece, Italy and the Netherlands.

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