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26th Feb 2024

Irish poll shows majority support for Lisbon Treaty

A new poll suggests that a majority of Irish voters may back the Lisbon Treaty in a second referendum set to be held this year.

The Sunday Independent / Quantum Research survey carried out last Friday showed that 55 percent of the 500 people asked would support the treaty while 37 percent said they would oppose it and 15 percent said they were undecided.

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These latest figures showed a strong rise in support (plus 16%) for the charter when compared to a survey carried out by the same newspaper in December. Those saying they would vote against the treaty decreased by seven percent.

The poll comes after EU leaders in December agreed to give Ireland guarantees that the treaty would not affect issues such as tax and neutrality.

Ireland's deteriorating economy is likely to be an important factor behind the change of heart, with many still shocked and angered by last week's announcement that 1,900 jobs at the Dell plant in Limerick are to be transferred to Poland.

The poll also shows a steep decline in support for the government and Prime Minister Brian Cowen and a corresponding rise in support for opposition parties and in particular Labour leader Eamon Gilmore.

The Irish statistics office said that the estimated unemployment rate has now reached 8.3 percent, up 0.5 percent from last November.

This figure is likely to worsen over the coming months with one of the state's largest employers, Waterford Wedgewood, calling in the receivers last week.

Meanwhile, leader of the anti-Lisbon Libertas party Declan Ganley suffered a setback over the weekend in Prague where talks broke down surrounding proposals to run candidates under the Libertas banner.

Instead Petr Mach, who had been in discussions with Mr Ganley, is to found the Free Citizens' Party in the Czech capital today (12 January), also campaigning on an anti-Lisbon ticket.

Mr Mach, an economist and close associate of eurosceptic Czech President Vaclav Klaus, said he wanted to concentrate on national rather than EU politics.

"I tried to explain to him that setting up parties is a different thing than setting up businesses. If he has a business he can set up subsidiaries and he would then be the main shareholder of it. It is different with political parties," Mr Mach told the Irish Times.

But Mr Ganley, who ran a successful campaign against the EU treaty in the run-up to the June Irish referendum, says he will continue with his plan to set up a Libertas branch in the Czech Republic. "Petr Mach is a Eurosceptic and I am not," he said.

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