By Senan Molony
MEP Gay Mitchell has questioned whether the Irish people should ever again be asked to adjudicate on complex European issues.
“We have to ask ourselves about this form of instrument of public policy,” Mr Mitchell said. “Is a referendum the right vehicle?”
The Government had accepted the good faith of the Attorney General that a plebiscite was necessary on Lisbon, but Mr Mitchell said he doubted it was necessary for the whole document to be put to the people.
Some of the treaty could have been cleared by legislation, he said, and the rest put to the popular vote. He called for the Attorney General’s advice on the subject to be made available to the joint committee on European scrutiny.
Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin told the same committee, however, the Government does not tend to publish the Attorney General’s view on matters before Cabinet. It was a long-standing precedent, he said.
Mr Martin said he believed in the referendum as a means of democratically determining the popular will.
“I think it is a Constitutional imperative anyway,” he added.
“Just because you lose one doesn’t mean you have to question the whole format.”