Enda Kenny casts vote on fiscal treaty

 

Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny was among the early voters today as Ireland has its say on the European fiscal treaty.

About 3.1 million people have the right to vote in the only referendum being held across the EU on the controversial agreement to impose stricter budget controls.

The earliest indications of a result will not be until mid-morning tomorrow when the political tally men get to work with estimates from the 43 constituencies around the country.

And turnout is crucial with low voter numbers in two previous European referendums giving the anti-treaty side a huge boost.

Mr Kenny cast his ballot at St Patrick's National School in Castlebar, Co Mayo alongside his wife Fionnuala while his deputy prime minister Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore voted in Shankill, south Dublin this morning.

Elsewhere, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, one of the key figures in the anti-treaty camp, was also out early casting his ballot in the constituency of Louth where he moved to from Belfast to contest the Republic's 2011 general election.

Last night both Mr Kenny and Mr Adams made their final appeal for support.

The Taoiseach said a strong Yes would send a message that Ireland is on the road to the recovery and that it would help continue the strong flow of investment into businesses seen over the last few months.

"While there are still difficult challenges ahead, I hope people will vote Yes to continuing the progress we've made together," he said.

Mr Adams' final message to voters warned that the treaty would not solve the eurozone crisis and would put into the Constitution the failed austerity policies.

"I ask Irish citizens not to be bullied, not to give their democratic rights away, not to give up their say over Irish economic policy and not to write austerity into the Constitution," he said.

Polling stations in the 43 constituencies stay open until 10pm with counting due to begin at 9am tomorrow.

The Government has repeatedly insisted that, regardless of the result, Ireland will not be asked for its support a second time - a departure from the major Nice and Lisbon treaties of the last decade.

The big talking point as a broadcasting moratorium kicked in at lunchtime yesterday was a last-ditch High Court lawsuit brought by Sinn Fein against the independent advisory body, the Referendum Commission.

The party failed in its attempt to have the chair Judge Kevin Feeney retract remarks that Ireland would not have recourse to the proposed European Stability Mechanism (ESM) bailout fund unless the treaty was backed.

Three recent opinion polls have revealed a 60/40 split in favour of the European fiscal treaty among Irish voters but the No side are always boosted by lower voter turnout and whether the middle class vote can be mobilised is likely to determine the outcome.

The Taoiseach has said he was confident, but never over-confident, before polling day but his number two refused to make a call.

Labour Party Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton is the only senior figure to nail her colours to the mast and claim victory for the Yes side.

Ireland is the only country in Europe holding a referendum on the treaty as it is obliged to put major EU reforms to the public test, according to the Constitution.

Its record is unpredictable, having rejected the last two at the first vote only to accept the EU reforms in a re-run the following years. Regardless, the treaty will come into effect with the support of 12 states, with or without Irish support.

Voting has already taken place in some islands off the coast of Ireland - in Donegal voters cast ballots on Monday on Tory, Gola, Inishfree, Inishbofin and on Arranmore which, with 43 voters from an electorate of 173, had its lowest turnout ever.

The Mayo islanders polled on Tuesday while the Aran islanders and others off Connemara voted yesterday and the seven islands off the south-west of Co Cork vote with the rest of the country today.

A total 25 of the 27 European Union states have accepted the text of the treaty - with the exception of the UK and Czech Republic.

Only three states have ratified the treaty in full - Greece, Portugal and Slovenia - while Germany, Poland, Latvia, Romania, Austria and Denmark have begun the process.

If passed, the treaty will see stricter budgetary rules imposed on member states and penalties for those that fail to meet them.

The objective of the treaty is also to keep a control on deficits and ensure greater checks and balances are in place for money in and out of each country.

The Yes camp, including the Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail parties, has argued that ratification will ensure Ireland has access to emergency funds from Europe should it require a second bailout.

Meanwhile, there was a security alert outside the constituency office of Sinn Fein's vice-president Mary Lou McDonald.

Army bomb experts were sent to the scene at North Strand Road, in north Dublin, just after 10am.

A Defence Forces spokesman said the scene was declared safe before midday and the device was removed to a military location for further examination.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee