Belfast Telegraph

Noonan 'confident' over referendum

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said he is confident the Irish people will pass a referendum on European treaty changes if one is required.

Eurozone members struck a fiscal union deal aimed at solving the debt crisis and saving the euro, but it requires a European Union treaty change.

To approve such a change to Ireland's constitution, the decision may have to go to a public vote.

"If a referendum is necessary we won't resign from it," said Mr Noonan.

"We will campaign very strongly in favour of it. We will explain to the people what the issues are.

"It comes down to a very simple issue - if we want to continue in the euro or not.

"When faced with that question I think the Irish people will pass such a referendum."

The deal was struck by all eurozone states, with the exception of Britain, at a key summit in Brussels last week.

Ireland's Attorney General Marie Whelan will have to forensically examine the deal to determine whether a referendum is legally required.

The union will mean stricter budget and debt rules imposed upon states and penalties for those who breach them.

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