May 31, 2012
Voting in the Fiscal Treaty Referendum
Irish voters face an unenviable choice today. Accepting the EU fiscal compact will force member states to hit tough budget targets, which could mean further pain for Ireland.
But the fiscal compact will also guarantee access to the European Stability Mechanism, Europe's new bailout fund – a financial lifeline to countries who cannot borrow in the debt markets.
Opinion polls have suggested that the Irish electorate will vote YES to the treaty - but it's close and a lot could depend on turn-out! Traditionally anti-European voters are more inclined to get out and vote.
Four opinion polls released over the weekend indicated that around 60% of voters would back the treaty. But a significant number of people have been classed as 'don't knows' in the run-up to today's vote.In 2001 and 2008 the Irish voters defeated first the Nice and then later the Lisbon Treaties on EU reform.
Vote counting won't begin until 9am on Friday morning - and the result will be awaited by all of Europe and beyond ( result should be known by Friday evening )
The nightmare scenario for the government is that ther Irish people decide to give ministers a bloody nose by voting 'no' in the referendum.After four years of austerity measures, some anti-treaty campaigners are predicting the "revenge of the people".
Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein said "I ask Irish citizens not to be bullied, not to give their democratic rights away, not to give up their say over Irish economic policy and not to write austerity into the Constitution."