Henry McDonald

Public would punish party, says poll

Brian Cowen and his Fianna Fáil-led government will suffer a Gordon Brown-style electoral meltdown if they hold a second referendum on the EU’s Lisbon reform treaty, a poll warns today.

The news will come as a major blow to ministers. Senior Irish government sources have been hinting, both before and after French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Dublin last week, that a new referendum could be held in March next year. According to today’s survey, which was carried out by the established polling organisation Red C poll, 71 per cent of voters are opposed to holding a second vote. Moreover, 62 per cent said they would vote ‘no’ in a second referendum compared to only 24 per cent who are in favour. Back in June, 38 per cent of the Irish electorate backed the treaty.

More than half of those asked said they would be less likely to vote for Cowen and his party in an Irish general election if he decided to re-run the referendum.

Ireland rejected the Lisbon blueprint[…] by 53 per cent to 47 per cent. The result caused panic among EU leaders because the treaty can only be implemented if it is approved by all 27 member states. Only the Irish have held a referendum.

17 per cent of those who voted ‘yes’ in the recent referendum would vote ‘no’ in a second referendum.

It also reported that 67 per cent agreed with the statement that ‘politicians in Europe do not respect Ireland’s no vote’. O’Brien said the response to the referendum result from other EU heads of states has obviously appeared arrogant to some voters.  ‘EU leaders who are trying to force Ireland to vote again are playing a very dangerous game.’

This week it was revealed that the Dail will be recalled early from its summer recess to establish an all-party body on the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish government hopes a parliamentary committee can plot a way forward following the voters’ rejection of the deal in June.

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