The Irish people were voting on Friday on the Lisbon Treaty, including the Prime Minister Brian Cowen.
He could lose his job if he presides over a second defeat of the Lisbon Treaty. If the referendum is used as a way of expressing anger at the government, the result for the European Union does not look positive either. Cowen warned a rejection would spark an exodus of foreign investment from Ireland, at a time when the ‘Celtic tiger’ economy is really struggling. Healthcare worker Julianne Lyons seemed to have been persuaded: “I voted ‘Yes’. I’m not fully sure about the reasons why, but I think overall I think I’d prefer to be viewed positively by Europe, and I feel like a ‘No’ vote wouldn’t do that. The ‘No’ votes were swaying me but I think overall, Yes.” Teacher Pol Mc An Tsionnach had not changed his opinion from the last time he voted on this Treaty: “I voted ‘No’ for the simple reason is, I don’t understand what they’re trying to implement, I honestly don’t. The politicians, I think, in Ireland have not explained to us fully what is in the Lisbon Treaty, and until they explain it fully I will keep voting ‘No’ if they keep calling elections.” The Lisbon Treaty is designed to speed up decision-making in the EU, give it a long-term president and a stronger foreign policy head There has been fierce campaigning on both sides. The opinion polls were predicting a yes, which would allow Ireland to bask in the glow of European approval and side-step a domestic political crisis.