Ireland seems likely to be heading for a referendum as 23 of the 27 EU leaders who are currently taking part in the EU summit in Brussels, have agreed to pursue tighter integration and stricter budget rules for the euro zone.
Ireland has a history of impeding European integration. This referendum could delay or even obstruct budgetary rules which would preserve the euro.
Britain, a key trading partner to Ireland, said it cannot accept the proposed amendments to the EU treaty. This creates the risk of a two-speed Europe as France and Germany plan to forge an intergovernmental treaty among the euro zone countries.
Speaking to Reuters from Brussels, Irish Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton told Reuters the likelihood of Ireland holding a referendum is “50-50”.
Gavin Barrett, a senior law lecturer at University College Dublin who specializes in European constitutional law said: “I think it's probable that we are looking at a referendum.”
The Irish have the right to vote on any major shift of power towards Brussels, however their relationship with the EU has soured since the financial collapse.
Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, who is taking part in the summit in Brussels, has raised the issue of reducing the burden of Ireland’s bank bailout. If the EU would help Ireland with this bill it would be “be very helpful in persuading the electorate to vote yes in any new referendum,” Reuters reports.
Eoin O’Malley, from Dublin City University, said passing another European referendum by the Irish people is “going to be a difficult job if there isn't some sort of goodie bag that goes with it…We could be probably bought off with 10 billion euros in some way. He [Kenny] just needs something."
Here's the Euronews report on Britain's rejection of the EU plans: