Published Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has announced a referendum on the latest EU debt treaty. (© Getty)
The vote was announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin on Tuesday and it is expected to take place before the summer.
Speaking in the Daíl, Mr Kenny said he was confident the public will vote in favour of ratifying the contentious compact.
"I believe it is in Ireland's national interest that this treaty be approved," he said.
The Taoiseach said that adopting the fiscal compact would be vital for Ireland's economic recovery and job creation.
A decision to hold a referendum to ratify the treaty, which tightens controls on member states' budgetary decisions, was taken on advice from Attorney General Maire Whelan.
Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams TD, said the announcement was a mark of failure by the Irish Government.
He said: "Sinn Féin welcomes the announcement, but let's be clear, it's an austerity Treaty and it will not help to regenerate the economy.
"On the contrary it will condemn the people, particularly those in lower and middle income brackets, to this government's terrible austerity policy," he said.
Meanwhile, DUP MEP Diane Dodds said the referendum was a test of the democratic process in the European Union.
She said: "The people of the Irish Republic now have the opportunity to express their opinion on what is tantamount to a gross erosion of national sovereignty.
"This is their time to say that economic policy should be determined by national government and national government alone, not by Germany or by Brussels bureaucrats."