Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

By 9.30am on Friday June 13 2008, a sense of shock was rippling through the cavernous Royal Dublin Society hall in the Irish capital where counting of the previous day’s referendum votes had begun half an hour earlier. Campaigners for the "no" vote were as shocked as those on the "yes" side. Backing for the latest power grab by Brussels was thought to be a foregone conclusion, so much so that only 52% of Irish citizens bothered to go out and indicate whether or not they supported the Lisbon Treaty. By early evening, when the rejection was formally confirmed, my friends in the "no" camp were already preparing for the rerun. These seasoned campaigners knew the Brussels bureaucrats would not be able to contemplate sustained interference with their plans for a federal Europe. Within hours of the results, the 53.4% of Irish voters who had rejected the Lisbon Treaty were being widely dismissed as an "odd bunch of racists, xenophobes, nationalists, communists, the disappointed centre-left ...

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