Ireland rejects EU Lisbon Treaty

Friday, June 13, 2008

A referendum in Ireland proposing the country's ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon has been rejected by the electorate despite near universal support from the country's political establishment.

Although in most states the issue has been (or will be) decided through parliamentary vote, Ireland was obliged to hold a referendum by its constitution. Ireland is the first state to reject the treaty which came about as a reworking of the E.U. Constitution, rejected by referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005.

862,415 cast their vote against the treaty and 752,451 people voted for it, yielding a 53.4% to 46.6% margin of defeat. All 43 constituencies have been counted.

"It looks like this will be a No vote," Dermot Ahern, the Irish Minister for Justice said on live television. "At the end of the day, for a myriad of reasons, the people have spoken."

"The Treaty is not dead," said European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. "The ratification process is made up of 27 national processes, 18 Member States have already approved the Treaty, and the European Commission believes that the remaining ratifications should continue to take their course," he said.

"Ireland remains committed to a strong Europe," said Barroso after speaking with Taoiseach (prime minister) Brian Cowen. "Ratifications should continue to take their course."

France and Germany issued a joint statement expressing regret over the result. The United Kingdom said it would continue with its own ratification process.