Ireland says ‘Yes’ to Lisbon Treaty

October 4, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015
Supporters celebrate in St. Patrick's Hall following the offical announcement in favour of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty in Dublin, Ireland, on Oct. 3, 2009.  (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters celebrate in St. Patrick's Hall following the offical announcement in favour of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty in Dublin, Ireland, on Oct. 3, 2009. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

DUBLIN, Ireland—The Irish people voted in a referendum on whether or not to ratify The Lisbon Treaty on Oct. 3 and this time the Treaty was passed with a majority of 67 percent in favour.

The electorate was made up of 43 constituencies, 41 of which had majorities for the “Yes” side. Dublin South had the highest support for the treaty, with 82 percent of votes cast for the treaty.

This was Ireland's second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty since the first one in June 2008, when the treaty was rejected by 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent.

Since then European focus has been on Ireland because they were the only country who put the Lisbon Treaty's ratification to vote by the people, as this was a requirement by the Irish constitution.

The attention now shifts to Poland and the Czech Republic to complete the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Both countries have agreed in principal but have been dragging their heels until the outcome of the Irish vote before finalising their commitments.

If the British Conservative Party leader David Cameron takes power before the treaty is ratified, he pledges to hold a referendum in the UK.

The Lisbon Treaty is aimed at fundamentally changing the working of the EU. Among other things, the treaty will bring about the election of a Council President for a two and a half year term. Also the European Parliament will increase its influence, such as by having the power to determine the candidate for the presidency of the European Commission.

Reaction in Ireland

An Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), Mr. Brian Cowen was pleased that the Lisbon Treaty was “carried decisively.”

“Today the Irish people have spoken with a clear and resounding voice. This is a good day for Ireland and a good day for Europe,” said Mr. Cowen in an official statement.

“We as a nation have taken a decisive step for a stronger, fairer and better Ireland, and a stronger, fairer and better Europe.

“Today we have said to the other countries of Europe that we stand with them as we seek to move forward together.”

The Taoiseach continued by saying that Ireland would now work with all the other EU countries to ensure that the reforms the Lisbon Treaty brings are implemented.

Mr. Cowen stressed that the Irish people have supported the treaty which will enable reforms, so that the EU can become more efficient and more effective in dealing with the current global problems.

The Taoiseach cited issues such as climate change, energy, international crime and economic difficulties as some of the key areas. “This is what the European union is all about – States working together to achieve the common good.

“Today, we have done the right thing for our own future and the future of our children. We have taken another step on a journey that began 36 years ago when we first joined Europe.

“Thank you all for standing together, and for standing with Europe. We are better together,” concluded Mr. Cowen.

The “No” campaign's reaction

Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald said the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty will not solve Ireland's economic problems. She said her party will accept the decision of the Irish electorate to ratify the Lisbon Treaty but said that those campaigners who promised jobs on the back of Lisbon must now deliver.