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Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Ireland EU referendum 'winnable'

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Ireland's former minister for European affairs has said he believes a referendum being put to the Irish people on Europe's new fiscal Treaty is "winnable".

Dick Roche, who was minister while Ireland was negotiating with the EU and is the current vice-president of the European Liberal Democrats, told the Today programme's James Naughtie that referenda are always hard because "if you put one question you get an answer to every other question."

But he insisted that he believed this would pass "if we have a clear and honest messaging" and the government do not become complacent - as happened during the Lisbon and Nice Treaties.

Mr Roche said that this time, people on the "no" side will have to explain what the alternatives are and pointed out that the treaty will be ratified whether the Irish say yes or not.

"What grips the mind and consciousness of ordinary voter is survival and everybody understands that you have to balance your budget," he said.


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