Ireland’s referendum

Q What, there’s another referendum in Ireland?

A Yes, Ireland is once again the only European country to give its population a direct say on a financial deal for the Eurozone.

Q And what are they voting on this time?

A The same deal that David Cameron kindly saved Britain from voting on last year, by vetoing it for us. The accord for the rest of Europe puts in place a permanent bailout fund – the European Stability Mechanism – plus commitments to stick to austerity plans and work on further fiscal integration.

Q What happens if Ireland votes no?

A If the yes campaigners are to be believed, European authorities could block Ireland’s access to the bailout fund.

Q And should we believe them?

A The no campaign said not, and want Ireland to chance its arm – reject the austerity plans, safe in the knowledge that the rest of the Eurozone would relent and bail it out anyway, if needed. But Irish politicians, most of whom support a yes, are unlikely to relish a game of brinkmanship with Angela Merkel.