Tight but Louth says 'Yes'
RURAL VOTE HELPS TURN THE TIDE IN FAVOUR OF TREATY
LOUTH SAID ' Yes'. Long regarded as a barometer county as to how the country will vote, Louth's voters came out in favour of the Stability Treaty but with a smaller margin than nationally.
Indeed, at one stage during the count in Dundalk's Redeemer Community Centre on a humid Friday morning it looked as though a dreaded recount could be on the cards, with the tallies indicating that, with 80 boxes open, just one vote separated the two sides.
But as more boxes revealed their secrets, the vote swung from No to Yes.
Crucially, it seemed, that as boxes from rural polling stations were opened the influence of the IFA who had campaigned vigorously in favour of the Treaty, had had an impact.
By noon it was clear that the Treaty would be passed in Louth although first all the votes had to counted and the doubtful and spoiled votes adjudicated on.
It wasn't until 2.30 p.m. that Returning Officer Mairead Ahern announced the final vote of 52.7 per cent in favour of the Treaty and 47.3 per cent against. There was a low turnout of 52.2 per cent, which ranged from as low as 30 per cent in some areas.
The excitement and anticipation which usually accompanies most counts was absent from the centre, with few onlookers other than the politicians and the tallymen and women from the parties which had campaigned either for or against the Treaty.
There was, however, a palpable sense of relief from the government parties that the Referendum had been carried.
Privately, they conceded that a No vote would have made their task in government extremely difficult.
Ireland is the only country to have put the fiscal treaty to a referendum. Unlike previous EU treaties, the pact cannot be blocked by Ireland because it enters into force when it has been ratified by 12 out of the 17 eurozone countries.