Stanley's blog

The Irish Cabinet discussed this week whether to bring forward the date of the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty to 5 June – the same day as the local and European elections. Taoiseach Brian Cowen has previously indicated that the referendum will be held in October.

There are pros and cons of advancing the date of the poll. It could backfire if it is seen as a stunt. Rushing the necessary enabling legislation through the Dail could be open to charges of limiting the debate. On the other hand, it would wrong-foot Libertas, which is planning to run candidates in several Member States in the European Parliament elections, ahead of a resumed campaign against the treaty later in the year.

It’s impossible to know whether June or October would produce a more favourable referendum result. Therefore, a June referendum should be held, because it would clarify which treaty will determine the appointment of the new Commission and bring certainty to a most unsatisfactory situation.

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