Irish minister says Lisbon referendum re-run unlikely
Ireland's Minister of State with
responsibility for Integration, Conor Lenihan, said Saturday it unlikely that
the country would stage another referendum on the European Union reform treaty
in the wake of its rejection by voters this week, reported dpa.
On the morning news show of the national broadcaster RTE, Lenihan said he could not rule out the possibility of a new vote being held, but he then cautioned there was a risk of even more damage being done if the Lisbon Treaty is put up for a second vote.
Lenihan warned that Ireland is now "extremely isolated" in Europe as the only EU member to have rejected the treaty.
Lenihan's comments came as Irish politicians - both those who favoured and were opposed to the treaty - took stock of the referendum result in which the treaty was rejected by a margin of 110,000 votes.
On Friday evening, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said the government accepted and respected the verdict of voters, but he declined to rule out the possibility of another vote.
In a comment to RTE, Cowen said, "I'm not ruling anything in or out or up or down."
Cowen will be meeting his colleagues at the EU summit in Brussels next week as European leaders ponder what to do next in the wake of the Irish voters' rejection of the treaty.
Declan Ganley, president of the Libertas group that led the no campaign, said he was horrified that the possibility of another referendum was even being raised.