Taxi drivers have been blockading the streets of Dublin calling for a “No” vote. The centre of the Irish capital was brought to a standstill on the eve of the poll.
They were angered by EU support for deregulation of taxi licences. They fear a “Yes” vote would accelerate change and effectively undermine their ability to earn a decent living wage. Taxi driver Dave Weafer said: “My message is I’m voting ‘no’, the people voted ‘no’ the last time around 16 months ago. Why are we being asked the same question again?” But with growing unemployment and government cutbacks forming a twin-pronged attack on prosperity many people feel the Irish economy will fall even further behind unless the country engages fully with Europe. Unemployed Claire Gillespie said: “I’m going to vote ‘yes’. I just think it’ll be good for the economy. It’s better than voting ‘no’. We could be left on our own if we vote ‘no’.” Anti-capitalist activists, and some union organisers frustrated by government inaction over long-running disputes have come out in support of politically motivated “No” campaigns. In tandem with voters angry over the economy, traditionally conservative Catholic groups could ultimately hold sway. They fear the EU will force Ireland to implement free abortion. Officially the Catholic church in Ireland says a good Christian can vote either “Yes” or “No” to the Treaty but the radical elements fear the country’s ban on abortions will be under threat.