Sunday 4 December 2016

Ireland sails into perilous waters after the 'No' vote

It would be tragic if the Lisbon defeat led to a vote on Ireland's future within the EU, writes Con Houlihan

CON HOULIHAN

Published 13/07/2008 | 00:00

'I know men and women who resent the smoking ban. I understand them... the fabric of life in rural Ireland is in tatters'
'I know men and women who resent the smoking ban. I understand them... the fabric of life in rural Ireland is in tatters'

'The people' is the most abused term in the language. It got an unusually severe battering in the aftermath of the referendum. The headlines told us that the people had voted 'No'. This was repeated so often that it was funny.

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It wasn't logical: the 46 per cent that voted 'Yes' were people too. And the 53 per cent who voted 'No' were only 53 per cent of the total vote. By coincidence the turnout was 53 per cent too.

What about the 47 per cent who didn't vote at all? Long ago, when I was very active down in Kerry, I analysed the number of people who didn't vote. I took 500 as a sample in Castle Island Boys' National School. The register in that polling station was roughly half country and half town. And I went to great trouble to find out about the 20 per cent who didn't vote.

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