Ireland's Europe Minister Dick Roche has been criticised by both yes and no campaigners for saying he believes a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty will be necessary, the Irish Independent reported Tuesday.
Roche told the newspaper on Monday that it is his "personal view at this stage" that Ireland will have to vote again on the EU reform treaty the country rejected in a referendum in June, reported dpa.
Prior to Roche's comments government ministers had said it was too early to say how Ireland would get around the ratification dilemma. Ireland was the only EU member to hold a public referendum on the treaty which has to be ratified by all 27 member states before it can come into effect.
Opposition parties were critical of Roche's comments. Joan Burton of the Labour Party called his remarks "unwise and unhelpful."
"There can be no question of simply putting the same proposition to the people once again. There is no basis for believing that a second referendum would produce a different outcome to the one we got on June 12," Burton said.
"Minister Roche's comments may simply have the effect of driving even more people into the no camp," she said.
Fine Gael's spokeswoman on European affairs, Lucinda Creighton, said Roche's comments showed the government had "learned nothing from its disastrous referendum campaign."
Both Labour and Fine Gael campaigned for the Lisbon Treaty. Creighton said her party continues to support the treaty but there are "concerns over social and moral issues, taxation and representation on the European Commission" which must be addressed by the government "rather than threatening to ram another referendum down people's throats."
The nationalist party Sinn Fein was the only party with parliamentary representation to campaign against the treaty. Its MEP Mary Lou McDonald said Roche had "some cheek" to suggest a re-run, adding that this was "another example of a government without a plan."
"There is no political crisis as Minister Roche has suggested," McDonald said. "There is simply a political task to be dealt with. The Irish people, like the French and Dutch before them, rejected this treaty. A new deal now needs to be negotiated."