Belfast Telegraph

Kenny rejects new poll delay calls

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."

The Taoiseach said sticking to the original referendum date shows potential investors that Ireland is serious about being part of the eurozone.

"We can send out a very clear and strong signal about where Ireland is headed," Mr Kenny added.

"We know we are headed in the right direction and secondly, as a country in a programme, investors who are considering our country now will see the symbol of certainty and can make their decisions accordingly."

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.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to defer the ratification of the fiscal compact because she failed to drum up enough support from parliament.

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