Ireland will hold a public referendum on whether to join the European Union fiscal compact but will not revisit the issue at the polls if voters reject it, says Brendan Howlin, Ireland’s public expenditure minister. Even if the Irish reject the fiscal compact, it will take effect anyway if it gets enough support elsewhere.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Howlin said he expected the vote on the compact to be positive, because of what it represents for Ireland. He was quoted saying, “I think there will be a great deal of public support for it because it is an important part of our trajectory for an orderly exit from the support package which we’re on from the EU-IMF.” He added that it will also “ensure that when we return to the markets at the end of next year, there is that insurance there of access to the European Stability Mechanism.”
Nonetheless, the country does not plan to hold another referendum should voters say no. “This is not like other treaties,” Howlin said. “Other treaties required unanimity, so it’s a once-off selection for people to determine if they want to be part of this pact or not. The train is leaving the station, and it’s just a matter of determining how many countries want to be on board.”