Voters in the Irish Republic go to the polls on Friday in a vote that is widely being seen as both an indication of sentiment towards Europe and a test of the government’s handling of the economic crisis.
Dublin drops from four to three MEPs and polls suggest the governing party’s candidate will lose his seat. Fianna Fail MEP Eoin Ryan said:“I think an awful lot of people realize that hard decisions have had to be made, the government has made those, but as this campaign is going on people are looking at Europe to bring us out of the economic recession.” With Ireland also holding local elections the governing Fianna Fail party is expected to suffer most from protest votes. For some, the poll is a chance to score vital points ahead of this autumn’s second vote on the Lisbon Treaty, for which support appears to have hardened recently. But with the “yes” side maintaining a consistent lead, others question whether the issue will be relevant this time round. That could spell bad news for Ireland’s Libertas which helped campaign for the country’s “no” vote. Polls show it is unlikely to win election to the European Parliament.