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(03/08/08) -

Irish Would Ratify EU’s Lisbon Treaty

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Despite a high number of undecided voters, an upcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty could pass by a wide margin in Ireland, according to a poll by Red C published in the Sunday Business Post. 46 per cent of respondents would vote in favour of the new common European Union (EU) treaty, 23 would vote against it, and 31 per cent are unsure.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Despite a high number of undecided voters, an upcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty could pass by a wide margin in Ireland, according to a poll by Red C published in the Sunday Business Post. 46 per cent of respondents would vote in favour of the new common European Union (EU) treaty, 23 would vote against it, and 31 per cent are unsure.

EU heads of state officially signed the European Constitution on Oct. 29, 2004. The project for a continental body of law was practically abandoned in 2005, after voters in France and the Netherlands rejected the proposed document in two plebiscites.

In October 2007, leaders of the 27 EU member nations reached an agreement on the Lisbon Treaty and Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Lisbon Treaty provisions call for the creation of new posts, such as a foreign policy chief, and a High Representative who will answer to EU governments and serve as vice-president of the European Commission. The Charter will become legally binding in all EU member states except Britain, which negotiated an exemption.

The EU leaders would also choose a president of the European Council for a two and a half year renewable term. This will effectively eliminate the current six-month rotating presidency among member nations. The Lisbon Treaty also provides for the creation of a mutual defence clause, in case one of the member states is attacked.

If all countries ratify the treaty—whether through a referendum or a parliamentary vote— it will become effective in January 2009. Ireland, due to its internal regulations, is the only country that must hold a nationwide vote on the Lisbon Treaty, while other governments can decide whether they want to do the same.

Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern is expected to set the date for the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty—which is supported by himself and the governing Fianna Fáil party—this month.

On Feb. 29, opposition Sinn Fein member Mary Lou McDonald urged Irish voters to vote against the Lisbon Treaty, saying, "We cannot support a treaty that gives unaccountable and unelected officials greater powers, undercuts public services, commits Ireland to a common defence and reduces Ireland’s voice on the EU stage. (…) It would be irresponsible for Ireland, or any small member state, to place themselves in a weakened position within the EU institutions."

Polling Data

How would you vote in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?

Yes

46%

No

23%

Not sure

31%

Source: Red C / Sunday Business Post
Methodology: Interviews with 1,012 Irish adults, conducted from Feb. 25 to Feb. 27, 2008. No margin of error was provided.