Support for Lisbon Treaty collapses
The number of people intending to vote ‘No’ to the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty has almost doubled in three weeks, according to the latest poll.
The ‘Yes’ side has lost support to the ‘No’ campaign, while undecided voters are swinging heavily against the Lisbon Treaty. If the trend continues, the referendum will be defeated next Thursday.
The poll shows the number of people intending to vote ‘No’ has almost doubled to 35 per cent (up 17 points) since the last poll three weeks ago, while the number of the Yes side has declined to 30 per cent (down 5 points).
While the final outcome is still in the hands of undecided voters -- still a significant 28 percent of the electorate -- the clear momentum is now with the ‘No’ campaign.
The swing against the Treaty has not been prompted by domestic considerations, with just 5 per cent of those opposed to the Treaty saying they are influenced by a desire to protest against the Dublin government.
The ‘Yes’ campaign is only ahead among the well-off, more than offset by a strong swing against the Treaty by working-class voters.
A clear majority of opposition party supporters are now against the Treaty, with Sinn Féin voters overwhelmingly opposed.
The reason most often cited by ‘No’ voters is that they don’t know what they are voting for. Reports have revealed that even the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, and Ireland’s EU Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, have not read the lengthy and legalistic document. A wish to keep Ireland’s power and identity and the preservation of neutrality also featured as important factors.
With just one week to go, the campaign is set for a wrenching final countdown.
Sinn Féin’s MEP, Mary Lou McDonald, said workers in particular were being convinced to vote ‘No’ because the treaty “offers nothing new to address the ongoing trend of exploitation of migrant workers”.
Party President Gerry Adams warned that in more dire economic times such issues could become a source of tension.
“To date the yes campaign has yet to provide any convincing argument as to why people should support the Treaty,” said Ms McDonald.
“They have yet to explain how it is in Ireland’s interests for Ireland to lose a Commissioner and reduce our voting strength at Council.
“They have yet to explain how undermining public services and workers rights is in the best interests of our economy or how losing key vetos on public services and international trade will benefit anyone.
“They have yet to explain how increased military expenditure and continued support for nuclear power is in the interests of the people.
“I firmly believe that a better deal is possible. A ‘No’ vote on June 12th will give the Irish government a strong mandate to negotiate a better deal for Ireland, the EU and the developing world.”
“There is always a plan B,” Mr Adams said, recalling his experience of northern peace process talks. “Had it been left to the Irish government we would have all been extolling the virtues of the  Anglo-Irish Agreement because it was sold by the Irish government as the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
Meanwhile, Republican Sinn Féin accused the 26-County Garda police Special Branch of engaging in harassment of its canvassers at the GPO in Dublin’s O’Connell St as they handed out leaflets calling for a ‘No’ vote.
In a statement the Vice President of RSF described it as an attack by the 26-County state on the right to free speech.
“Coming as it does in the middle of the Lisbon Treaty/EU Constitution referendum such petty harassment of Republican Sinn Féin political activists shows the contempt the 26-County state holds for the democratic process,” Des Dalton said.