Friday, June 03, 2005

Dermot Ahern brings doubts about Irish referendum

In the Irish Times, when asked if he could still see Ireland holding a referendum on the issue, given the French and Dutch 'No' votes, the minister said: "I can't say. We will have to wait and see what comes out of the European Council meeting in mid-June. "It's true to say these events are fairly seismic and we have to take stock as time moves on," The Irish Times reported Ahern as saying in an interview in New York. "Different countries will have different views on how we proceed and we will just have to see how these are articulated between now and June 16th-17th." Before France voted on Sunday, Ahern said the government would go ahead with its referendum even if the vote was 'No'. "We will proceed in any event. Renegotiation is not on the agenda," he said at the time. However, Yesterday, in a speech at Berlin's Humboldt University yesterday, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the EU's member states had "signed up to ratify the treaty and, in the absence of a change, that will continue". He continued: "In Ireland's case, we have now published a Bill providing for a national referendum on the European Constitution. We are continuing our preparations for this referendum. We will, of course, take into account the outcome of the discussion at the forthcoming European Council. At the Council, the Heads of State or Government will need to consider carefully how best to approach the completion of the ratification process" The council meeting takes place on June 16th."