MEP Gay Mitchell has questioned whether the Irish people should ever again be asked to adjudicate on complex European issues.
The Fine Gael MEP asked whether a referendum was "the right vehicle" for issues such as the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.
"People will say that he would say that, because he was on the losing side," Mr Mitchell told a Dail committee yesterday.
But he argued that now was "the time to lift the rock" on all matters. "We have to ask ourselves about this form of instrument of public policy," Mr Mitchell said. "Is a referendum the right vehicle?"
The Government had accepted the good faith of the Attorney General that a plebiscite was necessary on Lisbon, but Mr Mitchell said he doubted it was necessary for the whole document to be put to the people.