A decision on a referendum to toughen budgetary rules across the European Union will not be made until after a leaders' summit on January 30, it has been revealed.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said a final draft on a proposed treaty to try to ease the euro crisis and create a new fiscal pact is expected to be drawn up on Thursday.
Attorney General Maire Whelan will be asked for advice on whether the document should go to a national vote if it is signed off by the European heads of government, Mr Kenny added.
"As Taoiseach and as leader of the Government, I'm not in a position to actually ask for formal legal advice from the Attorney General here until the politicians and the political process at heads of government level have dealt with the draft," he said.
"Tomorrow I would expect that there would be a conclusion at the technical level of a draft text. But if it's a requirement that this country has to have a referendum, then that's what will happen."
The Taoiseach also dismissed reports that he would indicate at the January European leaders' summit whether Ireland would hold a referendum.
Micheal Martin, Fianna Fail leader, claimed the Taoiseach was speaking in riddles.
"I do not believe you Taoiseach when you say you do not have an idea about the legal implications of this treaty," he said.
Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president, attacked plans for the treaty.
"The Taoiseach has said that his objective is to be the Taoiseach who retrieves Ireland's economic sovereignty," he said. "This treaty is actually at odds with this objective."