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Monday 23 October 2017

Embarrassment for Ross as 'bizarre' No call snubbed

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

INDEPENDENT TD Shane Ross was yesterday dealt an embarrassing blow after his constituency of South Dublin recorded the country's biggest Yes vote -- despite his calls for the treaty to be rejected.

Mr Ross ended weeks of silence last weekend by using the 'Sunday Independent' to declare that he could not back the fiscal treaty.

The Independent TD, who has not been shy in expressing his views on political and economic matters, had been reticent about his intentions other than to call for the poll to be postponed.

But the Yes camp recorded a resounding win in his affluent constituency, which has historically strongly backed previous European treaties.

The Yes side clinched victory this time at around 75.8pc to 24.2pc.

Mr Ross did not return a call to the Irish Independent yesterday after a message was left with a staff member in his Dail office.

Constituency colleague Olivia Mitchell of Fine Gael said voters were perplexed by his "bizarre" late intervention calling for a No vote.

And she claimed the move was strange as the business lobby, thought to be among Mr Ross's supporters, were passionately calling for the fiscal treaty to be backed.

Ms Mitchell stopped short of accepting that he had been politically damaged as a result of his stance.

"Anyone I spoke to thought it was a really bizarre decision," Ms Mitchell said.

"Whatever about left-wing people or Sinn Fein to take up a position like that, but for Shane to do it, people were completely perplexed by it. And it was contrary to the position that the business community were taking. Most people would have had the view that Shane drew a lot of his support from the business community."

Mr Ross argued in the 'Sunday Independent' that the vote could have been postponed if people voted No, as there inevitably would have been a second poll in the autumn.

Mr Ross wrote that he wanted to support a fiscal treaty, but said that like other potential Yes voters, he felt forced to vote No against what he termed the "incomplete package".

He accused the Government of rushing the people into voting.

But Ms Mitchell said voters on the streets of the constituency had been questioning his motives.

"Just talking to people they were very much saying, 'what was he at?'."

And she claimed his decision to enter the No camp at the final stages of the campaign did little to help his cause.

Ms Mitchell said it made him appear as if he was "dithering and couldn't make up his mind".

Irish Independent Supplement

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