I thank the Ceann Comhairle for allowing me to make this statement for the information of the House.
At its meeting this morning, the Government decided on the date for the referendum on the European stability treaty. The referendum will take place on Thursday, 31 May. On the advice of the Attorney General, the people will be asked in the referendum to agree that the following subsection be inserted after subsection 9o of Article 29.4 of the Constitution:
The State may ratify the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union done at Brussels on the 2nd day of March 2012. No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, Acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of the State under that treaty or prevents laws enacted, Acts done or measures adopted by bodies competent under the treaty from having the force of law in the State.
In other words, the people are being asked to ratify the treaty and to enable the Oireachtas to adopt legislation to implement it. The Bill to amend the Constitution is now being prepared for publication towards the end of this week. Once published, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, will sign the order establishing the referendum commission.
The Government will put in place a comprehensive information campaign to ensure that voters are informed of the contents of the treaty which, in turn, will facilitate a full debate on the decision that we as a country have to take on this issue.