Belfast Telegraph

Warning over referendum delays

Delays in calling a referendum on the EU budgetary deal will damage Ireland's reputation around the globe, employers have warned.

Ibec, which represents business owners, said the Cabinet must name a date for the poll this week to stem uncertainty about the country's relationship with Europe.

The Government agreed to hold a referendum on the advice of the Attorney General last month.

Ibec has called for the ballot on the so-called fiscal compact - which tightens rules for member states drafting their own budgets - to be held before the summer.

Brendan Butler, the organisation's director of international relations, said until the referendum takes place a question mark hangs over Ireland's relationship with Europe.

"This period of uncertainty is not good for business confidence or our international reputation," he said.

"The treaty is much more straightforward than previous treaties, and involves a relatively small number of new budgetary rules to ensure future economic crises are avoided. It is Ibec's view that the vote should take place in late May or early June."

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