Belfast Telegraph

Voters may get EU treaty change say

Irish voters may get a say on EU treaty changes with the country among 15 eurozone states that face having their credit ratings downgraded.

Agency Standard & Poor's put all but two euro nations on credit watch in a new report with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore suggesting Ireland may have to hold a referendum on budgetary reforms.

Mr Gilmore said there was a chance the public may have to vote on handing over economic governance to Brussels to ease the worsening crisis.

"That will depend on the content of any treaty change that is proposed," said Mr Gilmore.

"We have to see what the detail of that will be, what the text of that will be and we will have to get legal advice on it."

The Tanaiste indicated a treaty change could come into effect as early as next March, depending on the details of a paper published by EU president Herman Van Rompuy ahead of crisis talks in Brussels this Thursday.

Mr Van Rompuy is expected to outline proposals for stricter rules and sanctions governing the eurozone to reassure markets and protect the single currency's stability.

The plan is to toughen eurozone checks and balances - something lawyers say will need treaty change. Mr Gilmore said the Government would see the paper later and would have a chance to consider it ahead of the summit.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has called on the Fine Gael-Labour coalition to share the details with all the political parties, saying: "We want a debate on these matters this week and before the Taoiseach leaves."

He said Sinn Fein was opposed to treaty change unless the people have a say in a referendum.

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