Irish Republican News · June 8, 2012
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: ‘Fear won’
‘Fear won’
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Both in Ireland and across Europe, the result of the Fiscal Austerity referendum -- which commits the insolvent 26-County state to years of EU-imposed austerity in return for greater access to bailout cash -- has come as a surprise.

“The great struggle was between fear and anger - and fear won,” said Gerard O’Neill of Amarach Research, of the ‘Yes’ vote.

“Anger is about the past and the present, about what has happened to people’s lives, about cuts and unemployment and emigration . . . Fear is about the future - about what might happen to the euro, to the world, to Ireland, to the economy.

“So you had that tension between anger and the past and the present, and the referendum, which is about the future and whether Ireland will have access to funds and that’s a vision of the future that motivates fear.”

The results of the referendum showed a significant divide between poorer and more affluent areas in a potentially historic shift towards social class-based politics in Ireland, as is common in European countries.

In general, the referendum was supported by voters in rural constituencies and middle-class areas in urban centres, while the ‘No’ vote was much stronger in working-class areas.

The highest ‘Yes’ votes were recorded in the most affluent urban constituencies of Dun Laoghaire (74 per cent voted in favour, 26 per cent against) and Dublin South East (72 per cent for and 28 per cent against).

In contrast, the highest ‘No’ votes were recorded in Donegal, which has a history of bucking the national trend, and Dublin constituencies with high concentrations of working-class voters.

These included Dublin North West (47 per cent voted in favour, 53 per cent against), Dublin South Central (49 per cent in favour, 51 per cent against) and Dublin South West (49 per cent in favour, 51 per cent against).

The social polarisation was most striking at local level and provided a virtual road-map for Ireland’s left-wing parties in future elections.

Tallymen recorded ‘No’ votes of up to 85 and 90 per cent in traditionally disadvantaged areas such as Ballymun. This pattern was reversed in more privileged areas such as Sandymount, with some precincts reporting ‘Yes’ votes of close to 80 per cent.

In Cork too, the social divide was clear. Cork North Central came closest to rejecting the treaty (52 per cent voted Yes, 48 per cent voted No), compared with its more affluent neighbour Cork South Central (62 per cent voted Yes, 38 per cent voted No).

Similarly, in Waterford city, largely working-class areas such as Ballybeg recorded No votes of close to 90 per cent.

“It’s quite socially polarised,” said United Left Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett. “The manual working-class areas have voted highly No because the people have been the biggest victims of austerity. They have rejected the government’s advice.”

Historian Dr Donal O Drisceoil of UCC and co-editor of Politics and the Irish Working Class, 1830-1945, said the results appeared to form part of a historic shift in Irish politics.

“The voting in this referendum confirms a pattern that has been emerging since the collapse of 2008, as evidenced in recent surveys, in the last general election, and in the mass resistance to the household charge,” he said.

“As the class divisions in Irish society become starker in the context of austerity, they are starting to be politically articulated. This marks a fundamental, historic shift in the Irish political landscape and suggests the beginnings of a move towards a system of class politics that has been absent in the State since independence - a so-called left/right divide.”

He said this shift may be the beginning of Irish politics being “normalised”, and it would be interesting to see how this would affect the existing party system.

Sinn Fein referendum campaign director Eoin O Broin said he had never seen a vote play out so starkly along class lines. He said it was too early to say whether this would be repeated in a general election.

“My own sense is that those bearing the heaviest burden of the economic crisis overwhelmingly decided to say ‘No’. In my own constituency , it was very clear: in almost every Lucan box it was a ‘Yes’ vote, in Palmerstown or Clondalkin it was a ‘No’ vote.”

He said it would be foolish to assume how people voted in a referendum would change how they voted in a general election.

“I know that a huge number of our votes in this referendum were from Labour supporters. Whether that will happen in two years’ time depends on the Government’s policies and what we put forward,” O Broin said.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said fear had an effect in the campaign but “the phoney war is over and the political and economic war will return to the ground and trenches”.

Sinn Fein leder Gerry Adams said that 40% had still voted ‘No’, despite a campaign by the two government parties and Fianna Fail “built on fear”.

The ‘Yes’ side had won “a pyrrhic victory”, he wrote.

“The issues at the heart of the referendum haven’t gone away because of the success of the ‘Yes’ side,” he said.

“On the contrary the dangers are greater than ever. The Irish government and its Fianna Fail ally are committed to more years of austerity policies and of the erosion of the state’s fiscal sovereignty.

“At the same time the situation in Europe deteriorates with increasing uncertainty around developments in Spain and Greece, Cyprus in trouble and new unemployment statistics revealing that unemployment in the Eurozone now stands at record levels at 11%.

“The European political leadership, which is shielded from the reality of austerity and the impact of the policies they promote, continue to promote their conservative ethos.”

The adverse economic and social consequences for the Irish people would not ease in the years ahead, he warned.

“The battle of ideas between those who advocate austerity and conservative policies, over those who seek to defend the rights of citizens and the creation of a more equitable society, will increase in intensity”.

FISCAL TREATY REFERENDUM 2012 - RESULT

Total electorate: 3,144,828 Turnout: 1,589,204 (50.5%)

Yes: 955,091 (60.37%) No: 626,907 (39.63%)


 Constituency           Elect   Turnout (%)     Yes     (%)     No      (%)

 Carlow-Kilkenny        102,643 52,325  51.0    32,920  63.3    19,098  36.7
 Cavan-Monaghan         97,803  47,689  48.8    27,296  57.6    20,106  42.4
 Clare                  80,102  39,900  49.8    26,121  65.7    13,616  34.3
 Cork East              81,692  38,017  46.5    24,212  64.0    13,616  36.0
 Cork North-Central     74,257  38,234  51.5    19,798  52.0    18,275  48.0
 Cork North-West        61,672  32,013  51.9    20,894  65.6    10,961  34.4
 Cork South-Central     89,844  48,032  53.5    29,730  62.2    18,090  37.8
 Cork South-West        59,852  30,852  51.5    20,350  66.3    10,360  33.7
 Donegal North-East     58,387  24,869  42.6    10,975  44.4    13,758  55.6
 Donegal South-West     63,127  26,465  41.9    11,862  45.1    14,466  54.9
 Dublin Central         55,092  26,611  48.3    14,183  53.5    12,312  46.5
 Dublin Mid-West        64,445  33,275  51.6    16,590  50.0    16,585  50.0
 Dublin North           69,533  36,798  52.9    22,153  60.4    14,507  39.6
 Dublin North-Central   52,799  31,024  58.8    19,250  62.3    11,660  37.7
 Dublin North-East      57,175  32,689  57.2    18,890  58.0    13,679  42.0
 Dublin North-West      48,352  25,072  51.9    11,682  46.8    13,302  53.2
 Dublin South           101,451 57,896  57.1    43,735  75.8    13,931  24.2
 Dublin South-Central   77,869  40,280  51.7    19,706  49.1    20,428  50.9
 Dublin South-East      56,037  27,369  48.8    19,682  72.3    7,539   27.7
 Dublin South-West      69,872  35,665  51.0    17,531  49.3    18,028  50.7
 Dublin West            61,762  31,901  51.7    18,503  58.2    13,300  41.8
 Dun Laoghaire          78,655  44,966  57.2    33,242  74.2    11,554  25.8
 Galway East            81,587  38,157  46.8    24,015  63.2    13,955  36.8
 Galway West            87,456  42,143  48.2    24,282  57.9    17,645  42.1
 Kerry N.-W. Limerick   62,271  29,365  47.2    17,800  61.0    11,403  39.0
 Kerry South            57,146  27,576  48.3    17,727  64.7    9,685   35.3
 Kildare North          75,513  38,688  51.2    25,169  65.3    13,384  34.7
 Kildare South          57,790  28,669  49.6    16,678  58.4    11,902  41.6
 Laois-Offaly           106,297 51,654  48.6    30,655  59.6    20,741  40.4
 Limerick               64,419  31,133  48.3    20,459  66.1    10,491  33.9
 Limerick City          64,241  31,342  48.8    18,933  60.7    12,262  39.3
 Longford-Westmeath     85,159  39,805  46.7    23,886  60.3    15,723  39.7
 Louth                  99,008  51,656  52.2    27,114  52.7    24,289  47.3
 Mayo                   96,158  45,922  47.8    30,738  67.2    14,977  32.8
 Meath East             64,178  31,433  49.0    19,613  62.6    11,697  37.4
 Meath West             62,232  29,609  47.6    16,661  56.6    12,785  43.4
 Roscommon-S. Leitrim   59,020  30,689  52.0    18,562  60.8    11,991  39.2
 Sligo-N. Leitrim       61,892  29,705  48.0    17,828  60.3    11,728  39.7
 Tipperary North        62,044  33,486  54.0    21,819  65.6    11,454  34.4
 Tipperary South        55,717  29,508  53.0    17,797  60.7    11,546  39.3
 Waterford              76,993  39,352  51.1    22,585  57.7    16,585  42.3
 Wexford                110,302 53,932  48.9    31,039  57.8    22,654  42.2
 Wicklow                92,984  53,438  57.5    32,426  60.9    20,839  39.1

© 2012 Irish Republican News