There is just one day to go now before Ireland decides the fate of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in a referendum. A ‘No’ vote in the country that makes up just one per cent of the union’s total population could bring the entire project to a halt.
It is far from clear which way the vote will go, so both sides are campaigning hard right up to the last minute. The government and all major parties bar Sinn Fein are pushing for a ‘Yes’.
Prime Minister Brian Cowen said: “As Taoiseach (Prime Minister), it is my deeply held belief, that the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty is crucial to this country’s future prospects.”
Cowen has accused the ‘No’ campaigners of using “dishonesty” to win support. But they insist the text would damage Ireland’s political and social structure, and compromise its neutrality. The treaty, which has to be ratified by all member states, is intended to streamline the EU’s institutions.
Finland and Greece are voting on it today. But in both cases, it will be parliament that votes, not the public. Ireland is the only member state obliged through its constitution to hold a referendum, although in the UK there is a big public campaign calling for one.