On June 13, 2008, the Republic of Ireland decisively rejected the first referendum on the Lisbon Treaty by 53.4% of the votes.

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.

"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.

The deal involves wording in the conclusions stating explicitly that the guarantees given to Ireland will not require any form of re-ratification in any other member state.

The Lisbon Treaty sets out reforms intended to streamline EU decision making and needs the approval of all 27 member states to go into force. Irish voters rejected the treaty in a referendum last year.

While key federalist countries will be delighted by the deal, President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic said that he would now push for the treaty to be re-ratified in his country.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission who was confirmed in the job for another five years at the summit, said: "I’m especially pleased that we have agreed the Irish guarantees. This gives the Irish people all the guarantees they need.

"It gives me all confidence we’ll get a ’yes’ vote at the Irish referendum."

Source: telegraph.co.uk