domingo, 4 de outubro de 2009


Yes camp confident after voter turnout of over 50%


Sat, Oct 03, 2009

A SOLID turnout of more than 50 per cent of the electorate was reported in the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty with the Yes camp expressing confidence in victory last night after the polls closed.

The turnout in Dublin was reported to be high with the indications of a strong Yes vote in the capital. The turnout in Munster was reported to be up on last year but it was slower in other parts of the country.

An exit poll conducted by Fine Gael, the main Opposition party, indicated a decisive victory for the Yes campaign by a margin close to two to one.

A party spokesman said that the poll was conducted among a representative sample of 1,000 voters at 33 locations and it demonstrated a decisive swing since the last referendum in June 2008 with a Yes vote of over 60 per cent. The Fine Gael poll showed a massive Yes vote in Dublin, touching close to the 70 per cent mark, while it was nearer to 60 per cent in the rest of the country.

“This is a very encouraging finding for the Yes side,” said the Fine Gael director of elections, Billy Timmins, last night. “It is a tribute to the nationwide campaign run by Fine Gael and its leader, Enda Kenny, and all the efforts of the Yes campaign.”

If the referendum result today bears out the poll figures it will come as a huge relief to both the Government and the main Opposition parties.

Fears that the unpopularity of the Government might be reflected in another rejection of the treaty eased in the light of the turnout figures and the exit poll.

More than 3 million people were entitled to vote in the referendum, and polling stations were open from 7am until 10pm. A spokeswoman for the Dublin city returning officer said voter turnout across the six constituencies averaged 44 per cent at 7pm last night and it had risen to over 50 per cent in many areas by 9pm.

The turnout was said to be particularly strong in Dún Laoghaire, which had the biggest vote in favour of the treaty in 2008 but it was also high in Dublin South West, one of the constituencies with the biggest No vote last year.

In commuter counties in Leinster, which have large populations of people working in Dublin, turnout showed a sharp rise last night after a slow start and was as high as 60 per cent in some areas. Turnout was reported to be about 50 per cent across most of Munster.

There was also a surge in turnout in many areas of Connacht with about 50 per cent of voters having cast their ballots in Galway. In Carlow and Kilkenny, turnout was estimated at about 50 per cent in many areas, even before the polls closed.

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. They also said that a significant percentage of people who had not voted in 2008 had turned out this time to boost the Yes side.

Among the first to vote was President Mary McAleese, who cast her ballot in St Mary’s Hospital in the Phoenix Park. The Taoiseach Brian Cowen, joined by his wife Mary, cast his vote at Mucklagh National School, Co Offaly.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny cast his vote in his home town of Castlebar, Co Mayo, while Labour leader Eamon Gilmore cast his ballot in Scoil Mhuire in Shankill, Co Dublin.

Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin cast his vote at St Patrick’s Hall in Monaghan town. Socialist Party MEP for Dublin Joe Higgins was in Huntstown School in Mulhuddart, Co Dublin, while Libertas leader Declan Ganley, accompanied by his family, cast his ballot at Brierfield National School in Tuam, Co Galway.

The ballot boxes will be opened at 9am today at counting centres in all 43 constituencies. Each constituency will forward its results to the central count centre in Dublin Castle where the result will be formally announced this evening.

© 2009 The Irish Times

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