It has been announced by the government that they must hold a referendum on the EU Fiscal Compact Treaty which is being drafted to help ease the Euro crisis. This is the treaty Britain has refused to enter into.
It will be most interesting to see how the government handles this one. In Ireland we tend to have issues with EU treaties and we usually reject them until the government orders a second vote and threatens us, and so the referendums are passed second time round, usually out of fear. That, my friends, is Irish democracy - not quite the Syrian model, but sometimes not too far off it.
Reading some of the news articles and the comments under them, I think the government may have a lot to fear. Now for the treaty to be passed the consent of only twelve countries is required, so the Irish cannot hold the EU to ransom, so there is not as much fear. However, it would be important for it to be passed here given the state of Ireland's economy and the fact that our begging bowl is well and truly planted in Germany.
Some are saying that we may have an opportunity here: if the government wants us to vote yes, then we might bargain for the vote. It might also be possible to get the Troika to sit down and have another look at the austerity measures and some of the debt to unsecured investors which we are being forced to honour, giving these investors huge profits on their original investments. Any chance of reopening the embassy to the Holy See? Many Catholics are very angry and "yes" may not be a word they would be inclined to utter in the government's favour.
We will watch this one carefully. We will need to examine the treaty carefully - it may not be in Ireland's best interests in the long run - Britain has serious issues with it, and I think it might be a good idea to listen to what they have to say.
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