On behalf of my party I also welcome the Speaker of the Knesset and our guests from Israel, and I commend the Ceann Comhairle and the Speaker for initiating an important dialogue between our two Parliaments.
It was reported this morning on RTE that the Taoiseach, on behalf of the Government, is expected to convey to the European Union leaders at the end of this month, that is, within 12 days, whether Ireland will need to hold a referendum to ratify the new intergovernmental treaty which is intended to lead to fiscal stability in the Union. It is ironic that it was from RTE that we learned this. I ask the Taoiseach to give the Dáil and the people the courtesy of a briefing on the content of the treaty and its implications, and to confirm whether a referendum is required. All of the leaks we have had to date on this have proven accurate. Last week I held up a copy of the EU draft treaty, which the Taoiseach dismissed. We are now into the fifth draft.
We asked at some stage before Christmas whether an EU committee could be set up specifically to deal with the treaty so we could have updates and inputs from Members of the House on a regular basis. It is extremely important that the people of Ireland and Dáil Éireann are informed of the Government's position. The Government should not feed into anti-EU cynicism, which is growing in this country, and anti-EU sentiment. So far the only European policy the Government has revealed is a desperate attempt to do anything to avoid a referendum. We know what it is against but not what it is for.