The independent members of the Dáil’s Technical Group have today welcomed the joint announcement by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Éamon Gilmore that a referendum on the European Fiscal Compact Treaty will take place.

The group, which prior to today’s announcement, had committed to doing all in its power to ensure that the people of Ireland would have the final word on whether  this crucial treaty ought to be transposed into Irish law, highlighted the urgent need for a reasoned and balanced debate on the reasons for and against acceding to it.  Furthermore the group has called on all parties concerned to avoid use of the politics of fear in their efforts to sway public opinion one way or the other and instead ensure that a mature and rational debate take place on the implications of the Treaty for the future of the State and its people.

Although the decision and announcement has been welcomed, the group has joined with other opposition groups in criticising the short notice at which the statement was made and at which Deputies were informed it would be made.  An email was circulated to the various whips offices at 14.45, followed by telephone calls to opposition leaders at around 14.50.  This, in spite of the fact that the Taoiseach stated the decision to hold a referendum and to make an announcement thereon had been made hours earlier during the government’s weekly cabinet meeting.

Notwithstanding the late notice, the decision to hold a referendum has been welcomed by the group of Independent TDs.
Deputy Shane Ross (Independent TD for Dublin South), speaking in the Dáil on behalf of the Technical Group in response to the announcement, inter alia, made the following statement:

“I ask the Taoiseach this before he signs up for this deal on Friday: that he looks at one thing and he promises one thing, that there would be a credit write-off for the Irish people as a minimum quid pro quo for this treaty”, in the event that it is ratified.