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Irish referendum 2009

Yes voters optimistic on Lisbon Treaty

by Daniel Finnan

Article published on the 2009-10-02 Latest update 2009-10-03 08:52 TU

Ireland votes at the St Andrew's Resource Centre in Dublin(Photo: Aida Palau)

Ireland votes at the St Andrew's Resource Centre in Dublin
(Photo: Aida Palau)

Voting has closed in the Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty. Turnout in Dublin was reportedly higher than during the referendum last year and many are expecting a Yes result. But in Limerick and Cork it is thought to be lower.

Report from Irish polling stations

02/10/2009 by Daniel Finnan

On Friday morning at 10am local time, turnout at the St John Bosco National School polling station on Navan road stood at five per cent. The supervising, presiding officer told RFI that 361 people had already voted.

Meanwhile at 11am, at St Dominic's National School in the village of Tallaght, just outside of Dublin, turnout was three per cent, a similar figure to that of last year's referendum. Tallaght recorded the highest No vote last year.

In central Dublin at the St Andrews Resource Centre on Pearce Street in the early afternoon, the staff told RFI that turnout was at 16 per cent and they expected 40 per cent by the end of the day.

However, at 2pm, turnout across the whole of Dublin was at 21.4 per cent, higher than last year. But in Cork and Limerick turnout was thought to be low. 53 per cent turned out to vote in last year's referendum.

Marking the ballots in Ireland's referendum(Photo: Aida Palau)

Marking the ballots in Ireland's referendum
(Photo: Aida Palau)

Opinions remained mixed at the polling stations RFI visited. Ronan at the St. John Bosco National School told RFI that he voted Yes because he believed in the European Union and thought Ireland had "benefitted from it".

Mary at the same polling station also voted Yes, saying that Europe needed to "all work together", before joking that she and daughter voted Yes "because we're intelligent!"

In Tallaght, there seemed to be marginally more No voters.

"I voted No," says Joan, who thinks that after the first referendum, "we shouldn't be doing this now today really."

Martin agreed, saying that he voted No because he felt the government was pushing the public to get the result they wanted.

But others didn't agree.

"I can't see the point of voting No," Joseph told RFI. "We can't afford to be out of Europe - with the economy the way it is," he added.

Political analysts were watching polling day with interest.

Pointing the way to the ballot box(Photo: Daniel Finnan)

Pointing the way to the ballot box
(Photo: Daniel Finnan)

"Perhaps the big contrast with the previous campaign is that the Yes side is much more organised, they're definitely out-spending the No side, which they didn't do in the last referendum," Gail McElroy, a political scientist from Trinity College Dublin, told RFI.

She believes that the Referendum Commission did its best to try and provide a good account of what the Lisbon Treaty was about but that "the average person on the street isn't really interested in the finer legalities of a very, very long document".

McElroy, who specialises in European politics, thinks that "there is definitely pressure to pass it" but that "four and half million Irish people can't hold the rest of Europe to ransom."

"I'm not a betting person," says McElroy, "but I think it will carry this time … somewhere in the 50 to 55 per cent will carry it".

If you did want to bet on the outcome, betting shops in Ireland were offering 1/25 for Yes, and 8/1 for a No result.