Apathy Winning in Ireland Lisbon Vote

12 June 2008
SNP Member of the European Parliament has been monitoring the progress of the Irish referendum vote underway today (Thursday) in Ireland and concluded that with 6 hours until polls close apathy is winning and the vote is too close to call.

Speaking from Edinburgh Smith said:

"It just shows what a small state in the EU can achieve, and gives the lie to the idea that small states have no influence. The Lisbon Treaty is an important constitutional decision, and the government of Ireland has, quite properly, asked the view of the Irish people. Ireland is the only state out of 27 to do so, the UK also having decided to deny the people of Scotland and the UK a say on the treaty.

"However, it seems clear that the only winner so far is apathy, with turnout low across Ireland. News that Estonia, Finland and Greece all ratified the Treaty yesterday bringing the total to 18 out of 27 in favour has been widely reported in Ireland, but it is still too close to call. This backs up my point that the people of Scotland, Ireland and the EU as a whole have little interest in constitutional minutiae, and the Irish debate has been dominated by extremists and anoraks at both poles of the argument.

"The SNP decided that, on balance, the Lisbon Treaty is not the way the EU should go, but the people of Scotland were denied a say by the London government. The Irish result will be known at some point tomorrow afternoon, and all eyes are on the republic until then.

"I'll keep a phone to my ear meantime."