Irish opposed to second referendum on Lisbon Treaty

The latest opinion polls show that the majority of Irish voters are against a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The key EU reform paper was rejected in a previous referendum held on June the 12th.


Nearly three-quarters of Irish voters are against holding a second referendum on the EU's key reform treaty, according to an opinion poll out Sunday.

Ireland -- the only European Union state to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, which has to be ratified by all 27 member states to take effect -- rejected the text with a stunning 53.4 percent vote on June 12.

The Red C poll for the London-based euro-sceptic Open Europe think-tank found that 71 percent oppose a second referendum and 24 percent are in favour.

Of those who expressed an opinion, 62 percent said they would vote "no" in a second referendum, compared to 34 percent who would vote "yes".

"That would mean that the 'no' vote lead would increase from six points in the recent referendum to a commanding 24-point lead in a second vote," the think-tank said.

The poll found 17 percent of "yes" voters would change their mind in a second referendum, compared to six percent of those who voted "no".

"Perhaps most significantly of all, those who did not vote last time would vote more than two-to-one against in a second referendum: 57 percent would vote 'no' and 26 percent would vote 'yes'," the think-tank said.

Sixty-seven percent agreed with the statement that "politicians in Europe do not respect Ireland's no vote" and 61 percent disagreed with the statement that "if all of the other 26 EU countries ratify the treaty in their parliaments then Ireland has to change its mind and support the treaty."

Fifty-three percent said they would be less likely to vote for Prime Minister Brian Cowen at the next election if he called a second referendum.

The think-tank said 43 percent of Cowen's own Fianna Fail party voters said they would be less likely to vote for him.

"EU leaders who are trying to force Ireland to vote again are playing a very dangerous game, and it looks like Brian Cowen could be putting his political life on the line by calling a second vote," said Open Europe director Neil O'Brien.

"By appearing to bully the voters, EU politicians are actually driving lots more people into the no camp."

The Irish government has commissioned its own research into the reasons for the vote.

France currently holds the rotating six-month EU presidency and Cowen is due to hold talks with French President Nicholas Sarkozy in September.

EU leaders are set to discuss the crisis again at an October summit.

Eurosceptics in Ireland and elsewhere claim the Lisbon Treaty is little more than a mildly-tweaked version of the previous EU constitution, torpedoed by French and Dutch voters in referendums in 2005.

The Red C poll of 1,006 voters was carried out between July 21 and 23 -- shortly after a visit to Dublin by Sarkozy who said he wanted to understand the reasons for Ireland's rejection.

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