Belfast Telegraph

Play cards right on EU, says Ganley

A leading anti-treaty campaigner has said he would support a second referendum on the European deal if revisions are made to Ireland's bank debt.

Businessman Declan Ganley also warned the Government to play its cards close to its chest before signing a blank cheque for Europe and ratifying the fiscal deal.

He said Ireland should not accept the treaty before it knows what new French president Francois Hollande has up his sleeve in terms of an added growth stimulus.

"There's a saying to do with poker: 'You've got to know when to hold them, and you've got to know when to fold them'," said Mr Ganley. "What Enda Kenny wants is to fold our cards on May 31 and hand them over.

"We need to hold and we need to wait and see their cards first. We need to see what sort of deal France and Germany are going to propose to solve this European crisis, which is getting worse by the day."

French finance minister Pierre Moscovici has confirmed that France will not ratify the European treaty as is and that it must entail a growth strategy.

Mr Moscovici, who was speaking publicly for the first time since his appointment, also addressed concerns that France may go soft on budget discipline, saying tackling the public debt and reducing deficits should be fundamental to Europe's plan.

Mr Ganley, who led Ireland's revolt against the Lisbon Treaty in 2008, said while a postponement of the referendum at the end of the month is not possible, the country should delay making its decision until it knows details of the growth deal by voting "No".

"If we have a deal on the bank debt and if we have a serious roadmap to democratic accountability in European institutions, then I would support a second referendum," he went on.

The Libertas founder, who delivered a book to the pro-treaty Taoiseach entitled 52 Great Poker Tips At Home, At Tournament and Online, warned that Ireland should also be weary of Mr Hollande's intentions for tax harmonisation.

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