Ireland Says Big 'Yes' to EU Fiscal Pact in Referendum

Bulgaria in EU | June 1, 2012, Friday // 16:46|  views

Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny waves from the Bord Bia stand at the Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Photo from Irish Times/PA Wire

Ireland has approved the so called EU Fiscal Pact by a wide margin in a referendum, the country's PM announced Friday afternoon.

Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny said also that Ireland's comprehensive "Yes" vote on the EU fiscal treaty has sent a powerful signal around the world that the country was serious about overcoming its economic challenges, as cited by The Irish Times.

The ballot boxes after Ireland's Thursday's referendum were opened at 9am Friday at count centres in all 43 constituencies.

Final results show 60.3% voted "Yes", while 39.7% voted "No", when spoiled or invalid votes are excluded. Turnout was 50.6%.

Electorate: 3,144,828

Total poll: 1,591,385

Turnout: 50.6%

Invalid Votes: 7,206

Valid poll: 1,584,173

Yes Vote: 955,091

No Vote: 629, 088

Majority: 326,003

Just five of the 43 constituencies voted against the treaty. Dublin Mid-West voted Yes by a margin of just five votes, while Dublin South-Central rejected it by 700.

Donegal South-West, Donegal North-West, Dublin South-West and Dublin North-West also voted No. The turnout in the two Donegal constituencies was just 42%, the lowest in the country.

The highest turnout was in Dublin North-Central, Wicklow and Dublin North-East, at 58.76 per cent, 57.47 per cent and 57.17 per cent respectively.

The Irish Times points out that the EU fiscal treaty was supported by voters in rural constituencies and middle class areas in urban centres, although the "No" vote was stronger in working class areas.

Addressing the media at Government Buildings this afternoon, Irish PM Kenny said Europe's banking sector needs to be comprehensively fixed and any solution must include a deal on Ireland's banking debt.

"The developing situation in Europe's banking sectors needs a comprehensive solution and Ireland's banking debt must form part of that solution," Kenny said.

T?naiste Eamon Gilmore described the "Yes" vote as "a necessary step on Ireland's road to recovery".

The result would "strengthen our hand" and it now had to be built on. He said Ireland now needed a long-term deal on its banking debt that was workable.

Earlier, Fiann? Fail party leader Miche?l Martin welcomed the result, noting that people were worried about the future.

"Many people voted Yes, I'll be honest with you, they saw it as the lesser of two evils, he told RTE's Pat Kenny Show. "Many people who voted No were concerned about voting No."

Sinn F?in leader Gerry Adams said he accepted the outcome of the referendum and was not disappointed by the result. He accused the Irish government of playing on the fears of the public and that he had met many people who had voted Yes through "gritted teeth".

"In the course of the campaign the Government made a number of very firm commitments in terms of removing the burden of the bank bailout from people and also of growth and job incentive initiatives and we will be holding [them] to those commitments," he said.

Socialist MEP Paul Murphy said the results showed "strong class polarisation", with working class areas voting No and the more affluent areas voting Yes in high numbers.

Minister for Europe Lucinda Creighton agreed that there appears to have been a "class divide" in the vote, but her Fine Gael colleague, Minister of State Brian Hayes later said he believed talk of a class divide in Irish politics was being "over-egged"

Libertas founder and No campaigner Declan Ganley said many people voted Yes "through gritted teeth". Asked what went wrong with No campaign, Mr Ganley replied: "Not enough votes."

The turnout in Dublin was lower than in the last comparable referendum, on the Lisbon Treaty in October 2009, when the Irish national turnout was 59%.

Rain across the country in the morning and afternoon did not help the turnout, while Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said "referendum fatigue" may also have been a factor in the low turnout.

More than 3.1 million people were entitled to vote in the referendum, and polling stations were open from 7 am until 10 pm on Thursday.

Political parties reported that older people appeared to be voting "Yes" by a substantial majority, although the vote was more evenly split among younger voters.

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Tags: ireland, irish, Referendum, EU Fiscal Pact, Irish PM, Enda Kenny, Dublin, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, Libertas


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