Lisbon Treaty set for rejection

First results from the Lisbon Treaty referendum have confirmed that the treaty is set to be rejected by the Irish electorate.

While some constituencies in south Dublin are showing a 'Yes' vote, all others are now indicating a rejection. The margin of victory in most constituencies is being reported at about 55% to 45%, with some areas evenly split and others showing a 'No' vote of over 60%.

The first confirmed result was from Waterford, which rejected the Treaty by 53% to 47%. The second was from Sligo-North Leitrim, which rejected the Treaty by 57% to 43%, and the third from Tipperary South by 53% to 47%. Tipperary-North rejected the Treaty by the much narrower margin of 50.2% to 49.8%. Kerry North clearly rejected the Treaty by 60% to 40%, while Kerry South also voted strongly against by 57% to 43%.

26-County Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern all but accepted defeat, and public debate is now turning to the consequences of the Treaty rejection and the next steps for the Dublin government.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin said there were "lessons for Europe" in the result.

There were high sprits among 'No' campaigners at the Dublin count centre and across the country today, while other government ministers struggled to conceal their disappointment.

The anticipated result comes in the face of significant support for the Treaty among the Irish establishment and mainstream media. All the parties in the Dublin parliament, except for Sinn Fein, backing the Treaty.

There appeared to be both geographic and demographic factors in play, with only wealthier areas of Dublin coming out strongly in favour of Lisbon.

Rural Leinster inside 'the Pale' is looking to be very evenly split on the Treaty, while the Laois-Offaly constituency of Taoiseach Brian Cowan and possibly Wicklow may approve the Treaty by a narrow margin.

However, traditionally nationalist/republican constituencies and working-class areas have been rejecting the Treaty by a wide margin, and that trend is expected to be confirmed when further results are declared today.

Turnout has ranged from 40% to 60%.

There will be a full round-up of the results and reaction on this news service later this afternoon.

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