Working-class areas reject treaty
01/06/2012 - 17:51:08
Working-class Dublin joined defiant Donegal in their rejection of the European Fiscal Treaty.
Out of Ireland’s 43 constituencies, only three in the capital and two in the far north-west returned an overall No vote.
While the Government parties attempted to play down the pockets of dissent as traditionally hostile to European treaties, both Fine Gael and Labour admit they will have to reach out to them.
Junior finance minister Brian Hayes, a Fine Gael TD, bristled at the suggestion he failed to deliver a Yes in his own electoral backyard Dublin South West.
“I think that’s over-egging the pudding,” he insisted.
“This is a national vote where everyone has the same vote. It is not determined on constituency.
“Our vote is no different to the vote that occurred in other parts of working-class Dublin or working-class Cork.”
Almost 51% rejected the fiscal compact in Dublin South West, a constituency ravaged more than most by job losses since the economic crash.
Mr Hayes accepted some would see the result as a reflection of his own campaign, and that of his fellow constituency TD, the Communications Minister and former Labour leader Pat Rabbitte.
But he pointed to the high-profile redundancies and a traditional mistrust of increased European power among voters.
“Were it not for the effort that went in by Fine Gael and Labour in the constituency, I suspect the Yes vote would be much smaller,” he said.
“I’m delighted we got so many Yes votes.
“I would have taken your arm off at the start of the campaign if someone had said we could get 49%.”
Mr Hayes said the Government would use its renewed mandate mostly to battle for further concessions on an agreement tying taxpayers to the debts of the doomed Anglo Irish Bank.
“There is a lot of unfinished business,” he said.
“We have made progress on that but much more progress needs to happen.”
In the capital, Dublin South West was joined in the No camp by Dublin South Central and Dublin North West, another constituency with a Labour party junior minister, Roisin Shortall.
Colleague and Social Welfare minister Joan Burton, a Labour TD for neighbouring Dublin West – where almost 42% rejected the EU deal – admitted Labour have to learn lessons from the No vote.
“People wanted to register their concerns about employment and the suffering, particularly, of those who have lost their jobs,” she said.
Ms Burton said there was always a Eurosceptic faction within left-leaning voters.
But she was adamant the anti-treaty Dublin constituencies – like Donegal South West and Donegal North East – were traditionally hostile in such votes for a variety of social reasons.
“A lot of people on the left – including about 25% of the Labour Party – would have strong sceptical feelings about Europe, that’s always been there.
“We will take the messages from the Yes and the No side.”
People Before Profit TD Joan Collins, who represents Dublin South Central, claimed Labour supporters in the constituency had abandoned the party in their droves for backing austerity.
“Despite the campaign of fear waged by the Government, it comes as no surprise as the people in Dublin South Central have been at the brunt of the austerity policies of this Government,” she said.
Ms Collins said the No vote was particularly high in working-class areas.
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