ANALYSIS: Mistrust in final days key to Seanad result
Mistrust and money were the two issues that voters had to think about when deciding whether or not to abolish the Seanad.
The Yes side, led by Fine Gael, put the promise to "save €20m" at the heart of their campaign - something that had resonance with an austerity-hit public.
The No side, meanwhile, questioned the political motives behind the referendum "power grab" and asked if people could trust the Government to reform the Dail in a post-Seanad world.
In the end, it seems, the latter argument won out.
Just five days before Friday's vote, an Irish Times poll showed the Government on course to win the referendum, with 44% in favour of abolishing the Seanad, 27% against and 21% undecided.
Of those who said they would vote Yes, the majority (40%) said they were doing so because of the cost of running the Upper House.
Of those who said they wanted to keep it, over half said it was because they didn't want to give the Government more power, while 20% said they didn't trust the Government.
TDs canvassing the doorsteps privately expressed surprise with the level of support for the referendum in the poll, and said they had sensed that a niggling mistrust in giving more power to the Government was taking hold.
This mistrust probably intensified in the final days of the campaign, particularly when attention turned to the Taoiseach's refusal to take part in debates on the issue - which was his own personal proposal - on TV3 and RTE.
People wondered what he had to hide an it did nothing to help his case when he launched a giant jigsaw in Saint Stephen's Green on the last day of campaigning.
This, coupled with an appearance of people dressed up as The Beatles to urge a Yes vote on Grafton Street, just fed into the Fianna Fail claim that Fine Gael was campaigning on gimicks and not the substance of the issue.
In the end these publicity stunts did not win over the Irish people who "analysed the real implications and didn't buy the spin," according to no-campaign Professor John Crown.
The Taoiseach said this evening that "sometimes in politics you get a wallop" but accepted the verdict of the people in "the ultimate exercise in democracy."
— Mary Regan, Irish Examiner
- Sign up here to receive news by email. Once per day, no spam.