LAOIS/Offaly strongly endorsed the ratification of the EU Stability Treaty with almost two thirds of the electorate casting a ‘yes’ vote.
Only 51,654 (48.59%) of the total Laois/Offaly electorate of 106,297 turned out to vote on Thursday, marginally lower than the national average of 50.6%.
Voting in the constituency was roughly in line with national figures with 30,655 (59.64%) voting for the treaty and 20,741 (40.36%) voting against. There were a total of 258 spoilt votes.
Although an official record was unavailable, tallies from the count centre suggested there was a rural urban voting divide with boxes from rural areas recording a marginally higher ‘yes’ vote.
Tallies for Tullamore showed urban voters came out 42% against and 58% in favour of the treaty while the rest of the Tullamore area had a 40% to 60% ratio of ‘no’ to ‘yes’.
The most dramatic of Laois/Offaly tallies came from Vicarstown in Laois where some 77% of the electorate were in favour of the treaty.
The writing was on the wall for ‘no’ campaigners within an hour of the first boxes opening at the Tullamore count centre on Friday morning.
While defeated, Sinn Fein Deputy Brian Stanley described it as “significant” that four in ten voters had backed the ‘no’ campaign when his party was pitted against Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail and their ‘massive fear campaign’.
“I’d be happier if the ‘no’ side carried the day but I think it is significant that four people out of ten voted against,” he remarked.
According to Deputy Stanley, the ‘no’ side had victories in Daingean, Mountmellick, Portarlington and Portlaoise where some boxes sided with them. “I’m disappointed for the ordinary working people. This does send a signal to the right to continue with its policy of austerity.”
Deputy Stanley is convinced the government will now renew its focus on the household and septic tank charges which he said had been “put on ice” during the referendum campaign.
He concluded, “The Government promised much if this treaty was passed. They promised investment and jobs, relief on banking debts and an easier budget in December. For our part in Sinn Féin, over the coming months we will hold them to account on all of the promises that they made.”
Fine Gael Party Chairman TD Charlie Flanagan has thanked the people of Laois/Offaly for supporting last week’s Fiscal Compact Treaty.
“It is a very positive step for Ireland as we focus on keeping our economy on a sustainable track to recovery. I am glad the public responded positively to a hard fought campaign over the last five weeks.
“By giving a strong endorsement to the Stability Treaty, we have put a crucial part of the jigsaw in place as we rebuild a working Ireland. It will help bring about the certainty needed for recovery and growth.
”From speaking with people of Laois/Offaly over the course of this campaign, it is evident that there is still plenty of work to do, especially in the areas of jobs and mortgage debt. The Government is very much focused on the task in hand and the support of the Irish people as witnessed in this referendum is crucial”.
Counting concluded at the count centre shortly after 3pm and Laois/Offaly and Carlow-Kilkenny were the last two centres in the country to declare. Count centre staff were thanked for their ‘tremendous work’ by Returning Officer Verona Lambe.