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Page last updated at 19:52 GMT, Friday, 13 June 2008 20:52 UK

Irish EU No vote: Voters' reaction

Irish voters have rejected the European Union's Lisbon reform treaty in a referendum.

Here, Irish voters react to the result and predict what will happen next for the EU in the wake of the No vote.

SANDRA FITZPATRICK, 62, DUBLIN

Sandra Fitzpatrick

I am happy at the result as I think it proves that we as Irish voters are not as stupid as the Irish government and the EU thought.

It has sent them both a message not to present us with incoherent gobbledegook and expect us to vote for it.

I found it interesting that on the ballot the simple question was: "Do you want to change the Irish constitution."

I thought at that moment, if only they had presented the treaty to me in those simple terms all along I might have voted for it. And then I voted No.

I think confusion was the main issue for many No voters, and that has to be the government's fault.

It will be a very difficult EU summit for our government next week.

At least that's the end of the Lisbon treaty in its current form. It will have to now be reconsidered.

There will probably be another referendum with a treaty presented in a different form. If I can understand what's in it, I will reconsider my own vote.

TERRY O'FLOINN, 33, DUBLIN

Terry O'Floinn

As a Yes voter, I'm not really surprised about the No result.

The arguments on both sides were frustrating to listen to, with each side engaging in scaremongering.

A better attempt by the government to explain and sell the treaty in the months leading up to the vote would have helped.

A combination of distrust and a lack of knowledge on the part of voters, along with confusion at the treaty's jargon, probably sealed the fate of the vote.

French and Dutch voters did the same thing two years ago. Voters seem to be sending a message to Brussels and to their own politicians that we think the EU has reached its limit, and should stick to the common market but keep away from domestic affairs.

For Ireland, it will probably cause some temporary discomfort for officials in Brussels, but our constitution requires us to hold such a referendum and it was right that we did.

Unless something is significantly changed with the treaty, I don't know how the government can ask us to vote on it again.

I suspect that the upcoming French presidency of the EU will be taken up with finding a replacement to Lisbon.

TONY RODGERS, 18, CORK

Tony Rodgers
I am happy the No vote won but am still very surprised at the result.

I knew that Lisbon was not going to affect our taxation, abortion laws or neutrality, as many on the No side said. That's not why I decided to vote against it.

I voted No because of the issues in the treaty which concerned me, namely the loss of a commissioner and the loss of the power of veto.

So, while I am happy they will not go through, I am not really that happy for the main groups involved in backing the No vote, such as Sinn Fein and Libertas.

There has been a massive split in Ireland over this vote.

Now, as a result of the treaty's rejection, there's a lot of embarrassment among the main political parties who backed it.

I think the EU should stay as it is and the No vote proves that.

PETER BUCHANAN, 48, WICKLOW

Peter Buchanan

As a Yes voter, I am surprised at the result because of the relatively high turnout.

It's hard to know where Ireland or the EU will go from here.

It's also hard to know exactly what this No vote was all about. People were certainly concerned about issues such as taxes, sovereignty and abortion.

Many also voted No simply because they couldn't understand it - my sister for one.

I appreciated the difficulty the Yes side had in trying to present the treaty in coherent terms, but it was very complicated to voters.

It will probably end up being like the Nice Treaty all over again - Nice Mark II, Mark II, if you like, where the government will re-run the referendum, perhaps in the autumn.

I don't think the Irish will be punished for this. The French and the Dutch did the same and didn't suffer the consequences after all.

DECLAN BRENNAN, 21, DUBLIN

Declan Brennan

To be honest, as a No voter, I was expecting a defeat when I woke up this morning.

I have supported the No vote since early April.

For the past week, I was expecting a tight result but for the Yes vote to shade it in the end.

Bookies here paid out on a Yes vote on Thursday.

But against the odds, the people of Ireland have said No.

What this means for the EU is that it's time to go back to the drawing board, and that is the message from No voters.

Ireland will perhaps be the black sheep of Europe now, at least as far as EU leaders are concerned.

The economy the EU built has rejected their reform treaty. We await their reaction.

TOM O'SULLIVAN, 28, CORK

Tom O' Sullivan

I voted Yes but am not shocked at the No result.

It was a poor campaign from the Yes side. They were never able to gain the initiative in the debate and were always answering the No side's arguments.

They were also in the position of trying to convince voters that a treaty that was good for Europe was also good for Ireland.

On the No side, they were able to raise various issues that the Yes campaign had to refute, effectively allowing them to set the debate.

Some groups were sending out leaflets saying that a Yes would bring in abortion, prostitution, and force children to be educated at three years of age.

Added to that, it was a technical and ambiguous treaty drafted by lawyers and diplomats who, it seems, were getting paid by the syllable.

Among my friends, young professionals, most of them college-educated, there was a feeling that the treaty gave Europe too much power, that it was vague and that there were no real convincing arguments for voting Yes.

I personally only decided to vote Yes this week, mainly because of the groups who were recommending No. In the end they won out because their opponents could not convince the voters to vote otherwise.



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