Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on Tuesday that the state's lawyer is likely to advise within two to three weeks on whether the country needs to hold a referendum on a new EU treaty that includes tougher fiscal rules.
Irish attitudes towards Europe have cooled during the country's financial crisis and there is no guarantee such a referendum would pass, putting a question mark over Dublin's commitment to the single currency and creating a headache for Brussels.
The government awaits the attorney general's advice....I would say in a matter, at the outside 2 to 3 weeks, Kenny said in parliament.
Even if the government decides a referendum is not needed, it is possible that the president would refer legislation covering the pact to the Supreme Court, which may then rule that a popular vote is needed.
A group of Irish opposition lawmakers launched a campaign earlier this month to petition the president for a referendum.
(Reporting by Lorraine Turner)