Brian Cowen, the Irish prime minister, said that his country would hold a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in October after he secured assurances from EU leaders likely to boost a Yes vote.
The Taoiseach, who held private talks with Gordon Brown yesterday, won guarantees from European Union leaders that Irish policies on tax, abortion and military neutrality would not be affected by Ireland ratifying the treaty.
“I feel we will be in a position to hold a second referendum at the start of October,” he said at the close of a European Union summit in Brussels.
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“I am confident that we now have a solid basis to go to the Irish people and ask them to ratify the Treaty so that Europe can move forward.”
Mr Cowen needed the guarantees in the form of a “protocol” – the most legally watertight form of EU agreement. He said he could not reverse last year’s Irish No to the treaty without the protocol.