Ireland's finance minister said on Thursday he did not think the country would have to hold a referendum to ratify Europe's plans for tighter fiscal union, which could help avoid delays in pushing through new budget rules.

Irish citizens are entitled to vote on any major transfers of powers to Brussels, and Dublin has said it will wait until March to rule on whether a referendum is needed.

My own personal hunch is that we won't have a referendum, Michael Noonan told reporters.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries, writing by Padraic Halpin)