Ireland to set date for fiscal referendum

Ireland to set date for fiscal referendum

DUBLIN - Reuters
Ireland to set date for fiscal referendum

Dublin pedestrians pass a poster that calls on Ireland to reject the European Union’s fiscal treaty. AP photo

Ireland expects to name the date for its referendum on the European Union’s new fiscal treaty today, Prime Minister Enda Kenny was quoted as saying.

After joining 24 other European Union states in January in agreeing the pact, Kenny announced last month that Ireland would hold the first and likely only popular vote on the German-led plan for stricter budget discipline across the bloc.

“The Government will decide on Tuesday (today) on a date, I expect, and that will be announced by Government immediately after the meeting,” the Irish Times newspaper quoted Kenny as saying yesterday.

While Ireland’s initial rejection delayed the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty in 2008, the fiscal pact does not require EU-wide ratification and Ireland would simply drop out were the referendum to reject it.

Dublin has until the end of the year to hold the referendum but a vote is expected in May or June, particularly with early momentum behind the government and other supporters of the treaty according to early opinion polls.

The second poll take since the referendum was announced showed on Saturday that 49 percent would vote in favour of the treaty with 33 percent opposed and 18 percent still to make up their mind.