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As it happened: Referendum count returns a 'Yes' majority

We liveblogged all the results, reactions and fallout from the Fiscal Compact referendum here…. Catch up on what you missed.

WITH ALL THE votes in from the 43 constituencies around the country, counting has started in the 2012 Fiscal Compact referendum. Early tallies suggest that the Yes side looks like it’s going to win – join us as we follow all the results and reaction throughout the day.

Here’s where things stand at 3.34pm: 43 out of 43 constituencies have declared full results and the Yes side has officially won by 60.29% to 39.71%. 38 constituencies returned a Yes vote with just 5 – Dublin South Central, Dublin South West, Dublin North West, Donegal South West and Donegal North East – voting No. The turnout for the referendum was 50.6%.

While we’re still waiting for the first results, early indications are pointing to a Yes win. Initial tallies from the 26 count centres around the country show the Yes side is ahead in almost every single constituency so far – although by just a narrow margin in some rural constituencies. The Returning Officer for the referendum has said she expects a full result to come in between 4pm and 6pm this evening.

There’s already a lot of talk about the turnout and whether people chose to stay away because they didn’t know or simply didn’t care enough about the referendum. It’s looking like around 50 per cent of the electorate turned out to vote. By comparison, here’s the turnout figures for the four most recent European referendums:

Nice 1: 34.8 per cent

Nice 2: 49.5 per cent

Lisbon 1: 53.1 per cent

Lisbon 2: 59 per cent

If you’ve ever wanted to know what hundreds of votes being transported around a count centre looks like, it’s your lucky day. Here’s electoral workers wheeling in votes at the City West Hotel earlier this morning:

(Photo: AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Joe Higgins was just on RTE talking about the impact of class on how people voted. Tallies suggest that people in working class constituencies voted in larger numbers against the Referendum, while it picked up far more support among middle class constituencies, particularly in Dublin.

Higgins described it as a sharp polarisation between low-income and high-income voters and said lot of people who had voted Yes had been resentful about it:

That will have rather important implications for the government and political life over the next year or two as austerity continues to bite and bites even deeper

A very useful document from Twitter user @skearon: he has set up this  Google document which tracks the tallies coming in from around the country.

Word Of The Day comes from Irish Independent journalist Lise Hand:

Early contender for quote of the day: Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne is on the RTE panel right now and just said – with a straight face – that “it was Fianna Fáil what won it”.

Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, who had been sitting solemnly across the studio, immediately burst out laughing (which Senator Byrne didn’t seem to appreciate). He tried to explain how people like Mattie McGrath had been pivotal in the Yes vote but Lucinda wasn’t buying it.

“I don’t think it WAS Fianna Fáil what won it,” said the Fine Gael Minister, suggesting it was more likely to have been the government parties.

Update on when the final result is expected: the Returning Officer earlier suggested it will be between 4 o’clock and 6 o’clock this evening by the time there’s a full result but Fine Gael sources are suggesting that it could be earlier – a lot earlier. The low turnout coupled with the boxes being opened faster than expected means there could be a result as early as 3 o’clock.

Our own Gavan Reilly has taken the fantastic Thomas Byrne quote and put it back in its original context. Amazing. Bravo, Senator Byrne.

Lucinda Creighton is still on RTE and has said that a turnout of around 50 per cent is normal for a referendum. She also echoed what Joe Higgins said earlier and said that there is a type of class divide in how the vote has broken down.

She also said something interesting about the electoral register which hasn’t been discussed much: she said that in a lot of places, particularly urban areas, the electoral register is “not reliable” . She said a lot of people live in addresses other than ones in which they’re registered, which causes problems and means that they’re less likely to vote.

Exciting news: our reporter Sinead O’Carroll is down at the central count centre in Dublin Castle  and – well, it’s not all that exciting right now. Brian Hayes is expected to turn up soon, but aside from that, not much will be happening there until the results start rolling in and are collated there in the next few hours.

There is a large contingent of foreign media at Dublin Castle though (possibly because they got it confused with City West Hotel, where most of the action is taking place). A group of journalists from Portugal told Sinead that they had come to cover the reaction because they were “interested, because when you are in the same boat it is good to know what the others are doing”.

They also said that the public in Portugal would be more supportive of a No vote. Apologies, Portuguese general public.

(Electoral tumbleweed. Photo: Sinead O’Carroll)

My colleague Susan Daly has done a round-up of where things stand at midday. Here’s where we are right now:

  • All of the boxes are now open in nine count centres around the country with Yes looking set to win in six out of the nine, based on tallies.
  • The six constituencies showing Yes leads are: Galway West, Dublin North, Cork East, Tipperary North, Kildare North, and Kildare South.
  • The three constituencies out of the nine where No is ahead are Donegal South West, Donegal North East, and Cork North Central.
  • There are no official results returned yet to to the central count centre at Dublin Castle, but a result is expected as early as 3pm.

My colleague Gav Reilly notes something interesting: Sinn Féin’s Peader Tobin has stopped referring to the referendum as the Austerity Treaty and is now calling it the Fiscal Compact.

It’s been a tough campaign for Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy – so tough that he has to go shoe-shopping. Seriously.

The Fine Gael TD explained to my colleague Sinead O’Carroll at Dublin Castle that he wore out his shoes from going door to door canvassing for the Referendum and is taking advantage of the break before the results are announced to go and buy a new pair.

Yes, he literally wore out the shoe leather. Political clichés exist for a reason, apparently.

He also said that he and other TDs are looking forward to getting back to their constituencies because the Referendum has been something of a distraction from their regular work.

From John McGuirk on Twitter comes a contender for spoiled vote of the day:

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore are going to make a statement on the result at 3.30pm at Government Buildings.

It confirms that this really has been a very quick count if they’re expecting a full result by then.

The first results are expected to start coming in shortly from the 26 count centres around the country. Here’s electoral workers opening a box at the City West Hotel in Dublin:

(Photo: AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

RESULT: The first result in the country is in and it’s from Tipperary South: Yes  60.65%  No 39.35%

The turnout in the constituency was 52.9% and a total of 29,508 people voted. 17,797 peopled voted Yes and 11,546 voted No, with 165 spoiled votes.

And two more results have just come in:

Galway East: Yes 63.25% No 36.75%

Waterford: Yes 57.6% No 42.3%

Result from Limerick City: Yes 60.69% No 39.31% .

The turnout was 48.79%.

So there have been a total of four results so far and all of them have been definitive wins for the Yes side.

The margin of victory was almost exactly 60:40 in two of the constituencies (Tipperary South and Limerick City) which tallies with the final opinion polls which took place before the vote.

Kildare North: Yes: 65.28% No 35.72%.

The turnout was 51.23%. That’s a total of five results so far and it’s confirming that the Yes side is on course to a win.

Tipperary North: Yes 65.57% No 34.42%

Donegal South West: Yes 45.05% No 54.95%.

There’s the first No result of the day so far. The results from the other five constituencies which have declared have all been Yes votes.

Dublin South West: Yes: 49% No 50.7%

Dublin Mid West: Yes 50.01 No 49.99

Extraordinarily close in Dublin Mid West with the Yes side winning by just 5 votes – 16,590 to 16,585. Tight one.

Dublin West: Yes 58.18% No 41.82%

Cork South Central: Yes 62.17% No 37.83%

So here’s how it’s looking so far: with 11 out of the 43 constituencies counted, the Yes side is winning by 58.44% to 41.56%. Turnout has just scraped over the 50% mark.

Cork North Central: Yes 52% No 48%

My colleague Sinead O’Carroll has been speaking to Declan Ganley at the central count centre in Dublin Castle.

Ganley, who was part of the No campaign, said he hopes that the EU and the Irish government don’t take the Yes vote to be a sign that the Irish people are happy. He told her that it’s going to be a “long, hot summer for the eurozone” and that he hopes we didn’t miss an opportunity to flag problems and demand reform.

He also said that he believes the media has an important role to play to ensure the government knows that people are placing its trust in them and giving them the benefit of the doubt.   When asked about the No campaign Ganley said he is positive that the No side made their case that the government needs to address bank debt and the democratic deficit in Europe.

Is he going to run again? Ganley didn’t rule it out – and said that he’s going to remain vocal on social media in the mean time.

Donegal North East: Yes 44.37% No 55.63%

Clare: Yes 65.73% No 34.27%

Dublin Central: Yes 53.53%, No 46.47%

Sligo-North Leitrim: Yes 60.32% No 39.68%

Dún Laoghaire: Yes 74.21% No 25.79%

Kerry South: Yes 64.67% No 35.33%

Kerry North-West Limerick: Yes 60.95% No 39.05%

My colleague Sinead O’Carroll reports that Mary Lou McDonald has also arrived at the central count centre in Dublin Castle.

(Photo: Sinead O’Carroll)

The Sinn Féin TD told reporters that it’s over to the government now:  ”They explicitly invited a Yes vote and now they need to deliver”.

She said she didn’t want to rerun the campaign again and that the focus on the ESM had been a red herring. She said the Yes side had focused on a single argument and that she still holds the view that Ireland would have had access to emergency funding if it needed it.

McDonald also said she is very conscious of the number of people who didn’t come out and vote, and said that it’s an issue that should be reflected on.

Dublin North: Yes 60.43%, No 39.57%

Dublin North Central: Yes 62.28% No 37.72%

Limerick: Yes 66.1% No 33.9%

Dublin South-East: Yes 72.3% No 27.7%

Kildare South: Yes 58.36% No 41.64%
Dublin South: Yes 75.84% No 24.16%

Dublin North East: Yes 58% No 42%

Roscommon-South Leitrim: Yes 60.75% No 39.25%

Meath West: Yes 56.58% No 43.42%

“The government has been sent a clear message that they have to get their act together” – No, it’s not an opposition TD but Fine Gael minister Brian Hayes.

Mayo: Yes 57.58%  No 42.42%

Cavan Monaghan: Yes 57.58% No 42.42%

Mary Lou McDonald has been talking to my colleague Sinead O’Carroll about yesterday’s bomb scare at her constituency office on the North Strand.

The Sinn Féin TD said the people who planted the hoax device “were obviously deeply misguided” and said the experience had been unpleasant and upsetting for her staff and people in the area. The office reopened once the scene had been cleared by the gardaí and Defence forces.

Mcdonald also said that the conversations she had had with people during the campaign had been more politicised than any conversations she’d had with voters before.

Meath East: Yes 62.64% No 37.36%
Louth: Yes 52.75% No 47.25%

Cork East: Yes 60.52% No 39.48%

Cork South-West: Yes 66.27% No 33.73%

Cork North-West: Yes 65.59% No 34.41%

This was unexpected:

Longford/Westmeath: Yes 60.30% No 39.70%
Dublin North West: Yes 46.76%  No 53.24%

Dublin North West becomes the second Dublin constituency  to register a No vote after Dublin South West. Interestingly, both constituencies are home to government ministers: Pat Rabbitte and Junior Minister Brian Hayes are both DSW while Junior Minister Roisin Shortall is DNW.

Wexford: Yes 57.81% No 42.19%

With turnout just breaking the 50% mark, how does this compare to previous European referendums? Despite all the talk about turnout being very low, it isn’t actually all that different to previous European referendums.

The first Nice vote had just 34.8% turnout, increasing to 49.5% the second time around. The first Lisbon saw 53.1% while the second time around it increased to 59% – meaning this referendum comes firmly in the middle of the turnout for the most recent votes.

Wicklow: Yes 60.88%  No 39.12%

Unexpected Bros of the Day: Is it just us or do Paul Murphy and Simon Coveney look really like brothers? Simon even has that slightly condescending older brother-stare down PERFECTLY.

(Screengrab via

There are just two constituencies to go: Laois-Offaly and Carlow-Kilkenney, home to Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan. Come on mid-Leinster, stop prolonging the inevitable.

On an aside: Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore have pushed back their joint press conference from 3.30pm to 4pm, presumably to allow for the final result to come in.

A result is expected to be declared within the next couple of minutes at the main count centre in Dublin Castle. It’s currently 60.2% Yes 39.82% No, so unless there’s a gigantic mutiny against Phil Hogan in Carlow-Kilkenny then this isn’t going to change too much.

Ríona Ní Fhlanghaile, the Returning Officer, has begun delivering the final result at Dublin Castle:


The final result from the Returning Office:

Total poll: 1,591,385

Invalid ballot papers: 7,206

Total valid poll: 1,584,179

Votes in favour: 955,091

Votes against: 629,088

It’s official: the Yes vote has won by 326,003 votes.

Final result: Yes 60.29% No 39.71%

Hi – Susan Daly here with you for a while.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton is at Dublin Castle saying that many people voted ‘Yes’ with “a heavy heart” and many voted ‘No’ with “a heavy heart”. Ain’t that the truth.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is congratulating the returning officers for the efficiency of the count today.

RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan is asking him why the ‘Yes’ vote won. Adams reckons that people were scared by the Government and that people voted without enthusiasm because they felt beaten down by circumstances.

He says Sinn Féin still takes issues with the topics on which the referendum was debated, saying the banking crisis IS part of the issue and should have been debated as such. The Taoiseach – well, “ní raibh focal ar bith aige”, on the jobs stuff, says Adams.

Adams being asked if the second bailout question and where we would get the funding from for it was a difficult issue to fight against.

“It was,” said Adams.

He’s saying that some people told him they expected that the Government would come back with a second vote if we voted ‘No’ to this one. Surprised he didn’t bring up Richard Bruton’s gaffe

Businessman Declan Ganley joins his fellow ‘No’ campaigner Gerry Adams at Dublin Castle.

He is saying that the Government won the poll on very positive promises – “but now they have to deliver on them”. Programme for growth, anyone?

Gerry Adams says that the Government is “not negotiating to the maximum” and that Francois Hollande has “show them the way”.

Declan Ganley not ruling out a return to politics? Hmmm.

So where do you think the most spoiled votes were cast in the country? Oh alright then, we’ll tell you…. North Tipperary.

Christina Finn has been compiling some striking images from the day… Declan Ganley looks remarkably cheerful, Richard Boyd-Barrett looks suitably troubled, and Richard Bruton paid very close attention to the count. Have a look at the slideshow here.

Joe Higgins at Dublin Castle feels that most of those who voted ‘Yes’ did so “reluctantly” and “grudgingly” because they were scared into it.

He says that our challenges within Europe and against austerity now moves from “air warfare” to “ground warfare” and “trench warfare”. Eh?

Pat Cox is saying that the banking crisis emerging out of Greece and out of Cyprus, “which we don’t talk about”.

Ireland is the proof, he says, that having a weak sovereign status which is then imposed with a bank debt is a bad idea. He thinks Spain should learn from our mistake…

Socialist Party leader Higgins is back in with his disdain for what he calls the “casino capitalism” that got us into this economic mess.

He thinks the “casino capitalism” still exists and that banks need a wake-up call and we also need to join a movement in Europe to demand a change to a “socialist approach” over “bending the knee to the craziness of the markets”.

On RTÉ, the camera switches from Miriam stopping Pat Cox and Joe Higgins talking over each other to a mildly-amused Bryan Dobson in the studio.

Round of applause please for Julien Behal of Press Association Images who took this photograph of Taoiseach Enda Kenny at An Bord Bia’s Bloom festival today. We think he was trying his hand at creating a sugar basket. We don’t want to suggest that he was internally singing, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…”

This just in: A message from Herman Van Rompuy, president of the EC.

In case you can’t read this on your phone, it says:

I welcome the positive outcome of the referendum in Ireland on the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union. With this vote, the Irish people have given their endorsement and commitment to European intergration. This result is an important step towards recovery and stability.

Lucinda Creighton doesn’t accept that everybody who voted ‘Yes’ did so grudgingly. She said it actually mobilised some people who hadn’t been interested in politics before.

Richard Boyd Barrett disagrees, naturally.

Taoiseach and Tanaiste press conference now at Leinster House.

Enda Kenny: Ireland has sent “a powerful message around the world” that we are serious about sorting our economic situation. It will create confidence internationally, and create jobs as a result. We are also backing the idea that “responsible budgeting” will become “the norm” around Europe.

Kenny says that the result is decisive and conclusive. He addresses the banking debt and says addressing it must form part of the solution.

“I want this country and the Irish people to be the winners of Europe”.

“Today is a good day’s work for all of us in that direction”.

He gives a shout-out for Simon Coveney, Lucinda Creighton, Joan Burton, Eamon Gilmore, Michéal Martin and all those who forwarded the ‘Yes’ campaign.

And the voters who ticked the ‘Yes’ box, obviously.

The scene at Leinster House on Merrion Street right now. Image from’s Sinead O’Carroll:

Enda Kenny says that following the ‘Yes’ win, he has spoken to Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, Herman van Rompuy and Mariano Rajoy (PM of Spain).  We’d like to know what they said back.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore says that they will be going hell for leather on growth and sorting out the banks deal following the ‘Yes’ result.

He says: We will take this result today, not just as the passing of the treaty itself but as a message for the government to continue to work for recovery and growth.

Eamon Gilmore also thankful for Joan Burton (who drove the Labour Yes campaign), Simon Coveney (who directed Fine Gael’s) as well as Fianna Fáil.

Some questions now from the assembled media.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says that some of the ‘no’ vote could be explained by local issues taking effect. But he says that’s democracy and it’s clear that the result is “decisive” and shows the “pragmatism” of the Irish people.

Paul O’Brien from the Examiner is in with a zinger. Asks why does Enda Kenny think that he could stand up and renegotiate the bank deal if he wouldn’t stand up and debate Gerry Adams in a head-to-head debate.

Enda Kenny not amused. He said that he did stand up to Gerry Adams but he wasn’t going to confer the title of ‘head of the Opposition’ on Gerry Adams. Also, there isn’t a history of head-to-head debates in referendums in Ireland.

“I’m not going to be shoved around by Sinn Féin in any event.” Boom, etc.

Enda Kenny says he raised the bank debt deal with Angela Merkel in his conversation with her today. And also with the Spanish and French heads. He says he feels Ireland has “sent a message on an issue that we think is a particular problem”.

He says the Spanish banking crisis was also on the menu.

Kenny rejecting that we are headed on even longer route of austerity. His ambition is that Ireland will “be the best small country in the world in which to do business by 2016″.

He says no-one will have control over our budgets and that this is an “executive decision by the Irish people”.

Does that make us all executives? Can I have a company car?

Political decisions can deal with this crisis, says Kenny, he mentions the copyright issue, the expansion of trade (“which the Tanaiste is dealing with, he says, gesturing at Eamon Gilmore”).

The line that people were frightened into voting ‘yes’ has come up a lot today. Enda Kenny said the fear message was coming from the ‘No’ side.

Enda Kenny on telling people the truth: “There was never a question of the government stating to the people other than the facts of where we are.”

The Viking Splash Tour just went past Merrion Street and the passengers cheered loudly at the press conference. Didn’t stop the Taoiseach in his as Gaeilge flow to TnaG. What a pro. Take more than some plastic horned helmets to stop him on this day, we imagine.

Press conference over.

“That went well, do you think?”

In case you want a quick overview of what the Taoiseach and Tánaiste said about getting a better deal on the banks – and on Sinn Féin – see Susan Ryan and Sinéad O’Carroll’s report on the goings-on at Leinster House a little earlier HERE.

There were 43 constituencies in this referendum – only five of those had a ‘No’ majority.

They were Donegal North-East, Donegal South-West,  Dublin South-Central, Dublin South-West and Dublin North-West. Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte’s home turf is Dublin South-West. Junior Minister Róisín Shortall is a TD in Dublin North-West. Oh.

Junior Minister Brian Hayes is also of Pat Rabbitte’s parish so that is three Cabinet members whose constituencies failed to ratify the treaty. Both of those constituencies have a strong Sinn Féin voting base though… SF’s Seán Crowe took the third seat in Dublin South-West in last year’s general election; Dublin North-West is Dessie Ellis country. Saying that, Labour is 2:1 with Roisin Shortall and John Lyons in that three-seater…

If, like us, you enjoy the nitty gritty of votes like this, we like the easy-to-use breakdown of stats per constituency on the website here. Click on your constituency to see how many of your neighbours spoiled their votes… (We already gave Tipperary North a shoutout for the highest number of spoiled votes).

It also helps us to figure out who had the lowest turnout – Donegal South-West (41.92 per cent turnout) and Donegal North-East (42.59 per cent). These also happen to be the only two constituencies outside Dublin who did not ratify the treaty.

So does that mean that a lower turnout favoured a ‘No’ vote in this referendum? Not necessarily. The other three Dublin ones had a turnout higher than the national average of 50.6 per cent.  (Dublin North-West: 51.85 per cent turnout; Dublin South-Central: 51.73 per cent; Dublin South: 50.7 per cent.)

We will be continuing our coverage of the result of the Fiscal Compact referendum here on this evening and over the weekend (we promise to bring you other stories too – we understand your referendum fatigue!)

For now, we’ll sign off on this liveblog so it’s good evening from myself, Susan Daly, and from Christine Bohan, who did most of the heavy lifting on the blog throughout the day, Sinéad O’Carroll at Dublin Castle, Susan Ryan at Leinster House, Gavan Reilly on the analysis desk and Christina Finn and Emer McLysaght, keeping you up to date on the rest of the news.

We’ll leave you with a picture of Declan Ganley getting ready for his close-up. Just so you realise there *was* some glamour in this referendum. Or at the very least, some face powder.

(Image: Eamon Farell/Photocall Ireland)

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