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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 June 2005, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Irish EU referendum to go ahead
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern
Irish PM Bertie Ahern steered the EU through the treaty negotiations
Ireland has confirmed plans to hold a referendum on the EU constitution despite the resounding "No" votes in France and the Netherlands.

"We've made a decision based on the commitment that we gave when we put the constitution together in draft form," Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the treaty could be modified in the light of the French and Dutch votes.

Ireland's main parties back the treaty, but no referendum date has been set.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Monday that the EU as a whole would have to decide the future of the constitution.

He told the UK Parliament there was "no point" in pursuing plans for a UK referendum after France and the Netherlands had voted "No".

Crucial summit

French President Jacques Chirac and Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder say they want the ratification process to continue.

EU heads of government will try to find some way out of the crisis when they gather in Brussels on 16 June for a summit.

Poland and Portugal say they will stick to their plans to hold referendums on the constitution.

The constitution has to be ratified by all 25 member states to enter into force.

Several countries have already ratified it, but so far only Spain did so through a referendum.

In 2001 the Irish people unexpectedly rejected the Nice Treaty. But the following year, they were asked to vote again and they approved the treaty, after reassurances were given over Irish military neutrality.




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