Belfast Telegraph

EU treaty legal challenge dismissed

A senior Irish Government minister has accused opponents of the European fiscal treaty of desperate scaremongering after they lost a legal challenge over the role of an independent advisory body.

Sinn Fein attempted to secure a retraction from the Referendum Commission over remarks it made about the possibility of Ireland using a veto to block a proposed new bailout fund - the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Foreign Affairs Minister and deputy prime minister, said it was a last-ditch attempt to cause confusion among the public, with polling in the referendum opening on Thursday morning.

Mr Gilmore said: "I believe that this was a stunt by Sinn Fein in the final days of their campaign to maximise their own publicity and in order to create confusion just as the broadcast moratorium was about to come out."

The High Court dismissed the lawsuit on Wednesday morning.

Ireland is the only country in Europe holding a referendum on the treaty as it is obliged to put major EU reforms to the public test according to the Constitution.

Only three states have ratified the treaty in full - Greece, Portugal and Slovenia - while six others have begun the process including Germany, Poland, Latvia, Romania, Austria and Denmark.

The ratification must be completed by the end of the year.

Ireland has an unpredictable record in European referendums, having rejected the last two at the first vote only to accept in a re-run the following years.

Government ministers have been at pains to warn that this time there will be no second vote. The treaty will come into effect with the support of 12 states regardless of the Irish stance.

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