The Republic of Ireland is to hold a referendum on Europe’s new fiscal treaty, the Irish prime minister said.
Enda Kenny said it was in Ireland’s national interest that the treaty be approved and he was confident the referendum would be passed.
Last month, Mr Kenny joined 24 other EU states in agreeing the pact for stricter budget discipline.
The government had sought advice from the attorney general as to whether a referendum was necessary.
The cabinet was told on Tuesday that a referendum was required to ratify it.
“I strongly believe that it is very much in Ireland’s national interest that this treaty be approved, as doing so will build on the steady progress the country has made in the past year,” Mr Kenny told the Dail.
“Ratification of this treaty will be another important step in the rebuilding of both Ireland’s economy, and our international reputation.
“It gives the Irish people the opportunity to reaffirm Ireland’s commitment to membership of the Euro, which remains a fundamental pillar of our economic and jobs strategy.”
Deputy Prime Minister Eamonn Gilmore said the treaty was vital to Ireland’s national interests and would bring Ireland beyond “casino capitalism”.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin welcomed the decision, he said people need to be engaged.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said there was a democratic imperative for the people to have their say.
Asked what David Cameron thought of the Irish plans for a referendum, the UK Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “That is a matter for Ireland.
“As I understand it, it is a judgment they have made based on the constitution of that country and their assessment of it, so it is a matter for them.”
The spokesman said the referendum decision did not come as a surprise, as it had always been thought possible that Dublin might have to put the fiscal compact to a public vote.