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New Irish vote on Lisbon 'legal'

MEPs urging respect for Irish vote, 18 Jun 08
Anti-treaty MEPs voiced solidarity with the Irish No vote

A committee of MPs in the Republic of Ireland has concluded that a second Irish referendum on the EU's hotly disputed Lisbon Treaty is feasible.

Irish voters rejected the reform treaty in a referendum in June.

But the cross-party committee said "no legal obstacle appears to exist to having a referendum either on the same issue... or some variation thereof".

The No campaigners insist that "no means no" and that there cannot be a re-run of the referendum.

A Sinn Fein party MEP, Mary Lou McDonald, dismissed the committee's report as "simply a re-articulation of the Yes argument," the Irish Times newspaper reported.

Signed in December 2007, the treaty is aimed at streamlining decision-making in the enlarged 27-nation EU.

The treaty cannot take effect unless all 27 states ratify it. Most have done so - but Ireland was the only one to hold a referendum on the treaty.

Irish plan awaited

Objections to the treaty have delayed ratification in the Czech Republic and Poland.

The findings, by the Oireachtas [parliament] sub-committee on Ireland's future in the EU, followed six weeks of hearings involving more than 50 people from various organisations.

Next month the Irish government is expected to present ideas for resolving the deadlock created by the Irish No vote. The government has not yet spoken for or against holding a second referendum.

The treaty was originally meant to be in place in January 2009, well ahead of the European Parliament elections in June 2009.

Critics see the treaty as further evidence of a federalist, pro-integration agenda at work in the EU. They say the treaty is just a modified version of the EU constitution, rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005.

Even some of the architects of the defunct constitution say that the Lisbon Treaty is very similar to it.

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