Taoiseach Enda Kenny has shot down renewed calls for the referendum on the European fiscal treaty to be postponed.
He rejected claims from a group of independent politicians that uncertainty in France and Germany, and potential revisions to the treaty text mean it is too soon for the Irish people to cast their vote.
“The date is fixed for May 31,” he said. “The reason it’s important we leave it at May 31 is that it allows us to send out a very clear signal of certainty from our people, about our country.”
Earlier, Independent MEP Marian Harkin said the referendum should be deferred due to game-changing events in Europe last week.
She said Ireland was in no position to vote on whether to ratify the fiscal deal until potential revisions, including a new growth stimulus, are written into the text.
Ms Harkin also pointed out that if one of the main architects of the treaty — Germany — was unable to ratify it in parliament with majority support, Ireland should hold back from voting.
“I think what happened last week was a game-changer. We had the German parliament unable to ratify the fiscal treaty,” Ms Harkin said.
Independent TDs Finian McGrath, Mattie McGrath, Catherine Murphy, Maureen O’Sullivan, Shane Ross, and Stephen Donnelly joined Ms Harkin in her calls for a postponement.
Mr McGrath said the Government owes it to the public to allow them to cast their vote only once fully informed of the details of the treaty.
“There are three sides to this debate,” Mr McGrath said.
“The yes and the no and the people who want to know all the facts before they make a decision.”
The finer points, including the new growth and jobs measures that are likely to be tacked on, will not be discussed until a summit of European leaders on May 23, followed by another in June.
The independents have called for the referendum to be deferred until autumn.
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