Lisbon 2 referendum to be held on October 2nd
Lisbon 2 referendum to be held on October 2nd

The second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is to be held on Friday, October 2nd, the 26-County Taoiseach has announced.

Brian Cowen claimed today that new “legal guarantees” had paved the way for a rerun of the referendum on the treaty, which facilitates the expansion, federalisation and militarisation of the European Union.

“On that basis, I recommended to the Government that we return to the people to seek their approval for Ireland to ratify the treaty,” he told the Dublin parliament.

“That referendum will take place on October 2nd.”

26-County Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin insisted that the treaty is in the best interests of the country, as he published a further guide to the document.

“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.”

Mr Martin did not refer to the original referendum in June 2008, in which the treaty was rejected by the people of the 26 Counties by a margin of 53% to 46%.

Speaking in the Dail prior to today’s announcement, Sinn Fein’s Dail Spokesperson on European Affairs Aengus O Snodaigh TD said that when the electorate rejected the Lisbon Treaty “they gave Brian Cowen and his government a strong mandate to secure a better deal for Ireland and the EU.

“The facts are they not secure such a deal. They have returned with the very same Treaty put to us last year.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged in recent weeks that government decisions on radical spending cutbacks in response to the economic crisis have been postponed until after the Lisbon 2 referendum.

A report from a special crisis committee is believed to contain some 500 recommendations, including deeply unpopular cuts in public service numbers and cuts in social welfare.

Government officials have said that while the report on cutbacks may be published before the end of July, decisions on which elements of it to implement will not now be taken until October.

Mr Cowen is said to be hoping that fears over the economic crisis will bolster poll support for centralised European government as a ‘safe haven’, but accepts that the announcement of cutbacks could fuel the public’s anger and provoke a backlash.

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