It looks like the Irish have backed the European Union’s new fiscal treaty by a comfortable margin. That is good news for Prime Minister Enda Kenny who has campaigned hard for the yes camp.
Ireland is the only EU member to have put the pact to a referendum.
Sin Fein’s Gerry Adams had been urging a no vote. He believes the austerity measures in the pact are simply not proving an effective way of tackling the economic crisis that’s engulfed much of the eurozone.
But a no vote would mean Ireland would not get any more emergency funds from the EU beyond the current bailout package which runs until next year.
The German-led plan for stricter budget rules only needs the ratification of 12 of the 17 eurozone nations. However an Irish no would undermine it. And, say economists, it would damage Ireland’s image as the poster child for austerity, deeply committed to getting its financial house in order.