Waterford’s electorate sent home a clear and resounding message to the government last week: ‘Yes’ to Lisbon and any good tidings it may bring.
The economic downturn had undoubtedly focused the mind of voters since the first Lisbon referendum in June 2008 when it was rejected locally by a majority of 54.32%.
Within minutes of the first boxes being opened at the Butler Community Centre last Saturday morning, however, it became clear that the Waterford constituency’s attitude towards Lisbon was distinctly altered. An early tally, taken at 9.15am, recorded just over 70% in ‘Yes’ votes and this trend was to continue throughout the morning’s count. And the official result, announced shortly after 1pm, confirmed 68.53% (30,744 votes) in favour and 31.47% (14,116 votes) against.
Proponents of the No campaign were noticeably absent at Saturday’s count, though members of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour were on hand to mount a cheer as the result was announced.
Speaking just after the news emerged, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen TD, applauded the people of his constituency for their support of the Treaty. “This is a very good result for the country, for Europe and for Ireland’s position within Europe”, he told The Munster Express. “The campaign was very coherent on this occasion and the message very clear. The result is a strong reversal on the first referendum and I’m delighted with Waterford’s 68% Yes vote.”
The result represented a turnaround of 22.5% on the part of Waterford’s voting public since June 2008. In all, Waterford recorded a 59.64% turnout, with 45, 083 adults exercising their constitutional right last Friday.
The strongest No vote was documented in the Ardmore Park area of Ballybeg (encompassing Ardmore Terrace, Ballybeg Close, Ballybeg Court and Ballybeg Drive), while the highest proportion of Yes votes was cast in Maypark/ Kingschannel.
‘No’ majorities were also returned in the following districts: Ring; Dungarvan Central; Dungarvan Kilrush; Beech Park, Tramore; Congress Place/ Dominick Place/ Cathal Brugha Street; Barrack Street and surrounding areas; Rice Park/ Barrack St/ Doyle St/ Monastery St/ Convent/ Bunker’s Hill; Central Avenue, Lisduggan; Larchville; and Clonard Park, Ballybeg.