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Irish poised to boost or bash EU treaty

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Irish poised to boost or bash EU treaty

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The final day before Ireland votes on the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum rolled on with uncertainty. Ireland is the only EU state whose own constitution requires a direct public ballot on the ratification. But backers of the text acknowledge it has not been easy to convince people.

Most parliamentary parties, business, the congress of trade unions and a powerful farming lobby have campaigned for a “Yes” vote on the pact designed to reform how the European Union is run. A no-vote in this country that makes up about one percent of the bloc’s total population could bring the entire project to a halt.

Critics such as the nationalist Sinn Fein party, have been telling Irish voters that the charter would endanger their autonomy on social, tax and military matters. Irish analysts have said external urging to vote yes could be counter-productive. One described a French remark that Ireland would be the first victim of a “No” vote as “very unhelpful”.