The Irish go to the polls in a referendum on Friday to give their verdict on the Lisbon Treaty, after 53.4% of voters rejected it in 2008. Since then, what have been the main issues that may persuade the population to change its mind?
Last year a majority of young Irish voters said "No" in the country’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. In a country where over 54% of the population is under 30, that sizeable youth vote was enough to tip the scales against the treaty.
Does this mean the new Irish generation has tilted towards Euroscepticism? Or was the vote a form of rebellion against a political establishment many young Irish people feel increasingly disengaged from?
How will young Irish voters will vote this year? What are the arguments that might lead them to change their mind, and say "Yes" this time round?
To help answer these questions, FRANCE 24 met some prospective voters at the Electric Picnic music festival in the run-up to the referendum.
A raucous debate there entitled "What has Europe ever done for us?" asked people how they might vote in the October 2 referendum.
Some are adamant they will stick to their original "No" vote and feel angry that Ireland has been asked to vote again. Others plan to use this referendum to punish the government for its handling of the economic and banking crisis.
Another interesting trend particularly evident among university students is that many said they voted "No" last year due to a "lack of information" and because they did not understand the treaty. They say they feel better informed this time round, and they plan to vote "Yes".
But many observers believe the result of today’s referendum will hinge on Ireland’s economic situation. In the sixteen months since Irish voters rejected the treaty, the country has witnessed a dramatic reversal of its "Celtic Tiger" fortunes. With Irish banks being kept afloat by the European Central Bank, Europe has again become a symbol of economic solidarity in Ireland.
Date created : 2009-10-02