Tuesday

31st Mar 2020

Irish justice minister concedes Lisbon defeat

Across Ireland, voters have strongly voted No to the Lisbon Treaty, which looks all but certainly set for defeat.

Nationwide, based on a mix of official and unofficial tallies, the No is leading the Yes side 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent on a high turn-out of over 50 percent.

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  • The No side has taken an early lead (Photo: EUobserver)

Dermot Ahern, the Irish justice minister, speaking on RTE television, said: "We're in uncharted waters here."

"The results are quite clear," he added, "I don't see how they can be overturned [from where they are at this point]."

Pat Cox, former president of the European Parliament and spokesperson for the Irish Alliance for Europe, has said he believes the game is all but lost: "On the balance of probabilities, it's all leaning in one direction – towards a No, and possibly a decisive No."

In most of the officially declared constituencies, the No side is leading.

Waterford plumped for the No side 54.3 percent to 45.7 percent.

Tipperary-south has also opposed the treaty, on 53.2 to 46.8. Neighbouring Tipperary-north is a closer call, with the No side on 50.2 and the Yes on 49.8.

Sligo-north Leitrim also voted No 56.7-43.3, and in Dublin south-west, the No side has comprehensively defeated the treaty 65.1 percent to 34.9 percent.

In Kerry-north, the No is leading 59.6 to 40.4, while in Kerry-south, the No has won the support of 57.4 percent to 42.6 percent.

Mayo, home to opposition Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, has also voted firmly against the treaty 61.7 to 38.3.

In only one constituency where results have been officially declared, Clare, has the Yes side won, on 51.8 to 48.2.

In former prime minister Bertie Ahern's own constituency, Dublin-central, in an undeclared tally,voters have gone for No 56-44.

Other unofficial results show Galway-west has voted 56 percent against, while the east of the city is split 50-50. Cork-north, east, south and west are also leaning towards a No.

In Limerick, the vote has set middle class districts against working class areas, with the former leaning toward Yes and the latter backing the No strongly. In working class areas, the No has reached as high as 69 percent.

Declan Ganley, the millionaire businessman and founder of Libertas, the centre-right anti-Treaty group campaigning around tax harmonisation issues and against European 'red tape', said: "It's a great day for the Irish people and a great day for Irish democracy."

"The Irish people have shown enormous courage and wisdom. They have given a resounding meassage that comes atop the votes against the constitution in France and the Netherlands.

"We are bringing democracy into the heart of the European Union," he added, speaking to reporters in the courtyard of Dublin Castle, where the central vote count is being held. "This is democracy in action, and the third time Irish citizens have said 'No' to this formula."

Foreign affairs minister Micheal Martin, whose own constituency in Cork has voted No, said: "Whatever the decision of the people, we must respect that."

The result is only according to initial, unofficial tallies. More precise figures are expected to be released later today.

Initial counts suggest that across the country turn-out has exceeded 50 percent.

Analysts had speculated that anything under a 40 percent turn-out would be dangerous for the treaty, based on the logic that opponents had a strong motivation to go out and vote, but that there were a greater number of passive Yes voters.

However, the reverse seems to have been the case: despite a much higher turn-out than expected, the No vote is very much in the lead.

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