MEP calls for referendum postponement

Marian Harkin, Independent MEP for Ireland North & West, has urged the Taoiseach to postpone the upcoming Fiscal Treaty Referendum.

Marian Harkin, Independent MEP for Ireland North & West, has urged the Taoiseach to postpone the upcoming Fiscal Treaty Referendum.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Brussels today, Ms Harkin said it was necessary to defer the Referendum due to rapidly decreasing uncertainty in Europe and Germany’s decision to delay its ratification of the Treaty.

“Given the decision by the German Government to defer ratification it is clear they are unable to get the required majority in the Bundestag,” she said. “This is a clear signal that there may be some amendments or changes to the current Treaty. Irish people cannot be expected to make an informed decision in those circumstances.

“While I have said from the beginning that there was no need to ‘rush to referendum’, I offered my reluctant support for the Treaty because it guarantees access to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and it is, I believe, a stepping stone towards a stronger economic Union. However, the result of the French election in particular, and the insistence of Francois Hollande on the inclusion of a growth compact has now moved the goal posts, and in this context we must ensure we do not score an own goal.”

Ms Harkin said she agreed with Enda Kenny’s view that the upcoming Referendum is more important than the general election, but added that this made a deferment even more vital, saying “that is why we must get it right and be absolutely clear on what exactly we are asking Irish citizens to vote on.”