26th Apr 2019

Dublin launches EU treaty 'yes' campaign

The Irish government has launched its campaign in favour of the EU treaty with the new prime minister, Brian Cowen, calling for a "yes" vote in next month's referendum.

"It would be a very backward step to resign from the strategic political positioning we have established in 35 years of (EU) membership," Mr Cowen said on Monday (12 May). "It would have very serious implications."

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  • Dublin - under a lot of pressure to secure a 'yes' (Photo: Irish Presidency)

The government push comes as the most recent poll, by the Sunday Business Post, put the "yes" camp in front with 38 percent, the "no" side on 28 percent and "don't knows" at 34 percent.

This represents a better showing for the "yes" side than two weeks ago, when a poll by the same newspaper put the yes and "no" vote at 35 and 31 percent, respectively. The undecided remained static.

"To tackle modern forces such as globalisation, climate change and cross-border crime, countries cannot stand alone; and for us this means that we need an EU which has the structures, policies and procedures capable of having an impact," said Mr Cowen.

The prime minister, who only came into office earlier this month, hit out at the "no" side for what he said was its attempts to "distort" the contents of the treaty.

The referendum, now formally confirmed for 12 June, is set to be the first major challenge of his leadership.

The Referendum Commission, tasked with informing citizens about the EU treaty, has a budget of €5 million, while the slogan of Fianna Fail, the main governing party, is "Good for Ireland, Good for Europe."

Ireland is the only EU member state to have a referendum on the new treaty and the government is coming under enormous pressure to secure a "yes" vote, with all 27 countries needed to ratify the document for it to come into force.

Analysts suggest that much will depend on voter turnout among the 3-million-strong electorate. A low turn-out could result in a "no" vote, they say, while a higher turnout is set to work more in favour of the "yes" camp.

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