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Ireland to go back to the polls on Oct. 2

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-08

Irish voters will be asked for a second time to cast their ballot in a referendum to ratify their country's acceptance - or otherwise - of the the Lisbon Treaty, which was widely rejected in a first vote in June of last year.

AFP - Ireland will hold a second referendum on the European Union's key Lisbon reform treaty on October 2, Prime Minister Brian Cowen told parliament on Wednesday.

Cowen said he had received assurances from his European colleagues on issues that concerned Irish voters, who threw the EU into chaos when they rejected the treaty in a referendum in June last year.

"I believe these concerns have been addressed now in the shape of the legal guarantees which have been agreed by the 27 heads of state," he said.

"On that basis, I recommended to the government that we return to the people to seek their approval for Ireland to ratify the treaty.

"That referendum will take place on October 2nd."

The guarantees affirm that Ireland's military neutrality and taxation system, as well as its stance on social issues like abortion, will not be affected by the treaty.

Foreign Minister Micheal Martin told journalists that adopting the treaty was in the best interests of Ireland, as he published a guide explaining the document to voters.

"The government believes that this treaty is good for Ireland and good for Europe," he said. "Our task now is to bring our case before the people."

The Lisbon Treaty is designed to streamline decision-making in an EU which has expanded to encompass the former communist countries of eastern Europe.

Support for the treaty has been growing as Ireland's economic crisis has deepened, with the most recent polls showing 54 percent would now vote "yes".

Only Ireland was constitutionally bound to put the treaty to a public vote. Almost all the EU member states have endorsed the treaty through votes in their national parliaments.

 

Date created : 2009-07-08

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