Irish parliament to debate Lisbon Treaty no result

Other News Materials 17 June 2008 12:01 (UTC +04:00)

Ireland's lower house of parliament, the Dail, was set Tuesday to debate the fall-out from the no vote in last week's referendum to approve the EU Lisbon Treaty, national broadcaster RTE reported.

It is the first opportunity for politicians to discuss the result since Thursday's referendum when 53.4 per cent of the Irish electorate voted against the treaty aimed at streamlining decision- making in the 27-member bloc, while 46.6 per cent voted in favour, reported dpa.

Questions will be asked as to how 160 members of the 166-seat parliament who campaigned for the yes side in the referendum could not persuade the Irish public to support it.

The Irish vote has caused consternation in the European Union and the subject looks set to dominate the upcoming EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen will also face a grilling for his leadership of the yes campaign during formal questions Tuesday afternoon.

The opposition, which also supported the yes campaign, is expected to try to find a way out of the current crisis, which may involve putting pressure on the small Irish republican party, Sinn Fein, which led the no campaign, to offer solutions, RTE reported.

Sinn Fein has said that the no vote empowers Cowen to get a better deal for Ireland out of Europe, primarily protecting the country's neutrality and securing opt-outs from a European army.

The Dail is also scheduled to discuss cancelling its summer break to allow for a full debate on the implications of the referendum result, RTE reported.