Generation split apparent at Dún Laoghaire polling stations


GARDENER GEORGE Downer voted Yes in Ballybrack, Dún Laoghaire yesterday, despite having backed prominent No campaigner Richard Boyd Barrett of People Before Profit in last year’s general election.

The Dún Laoghaire constituency has traditionally given a resounding Yes to European-themed referendums. Mr Boyd Barrett, who won a seat in the 2011 Dáil election, represents the area, along with Labour leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and two Fine Gael TDs.

Explaining his thinking, Mr Downer said: “I actually voted for Richard Boyd Barrett in the last election. He kind of stirs it up a bit. But it makes sense to vote Yes. If the No vote won you’d be afraid.”

A 20-year-old woman and her mother leaving the same polling station, St Colmcille National School on Churchview Road, took a different view.

“It’s all over Facebook, saying vote No, so that’s all I really know about it. Just to vote No because in the end the Government doesn’t give us what we want.”

“If we all stand up maybe they’ll listen to us,” her mother added.

A supervisory presiding officer, speaking at lunchtime after a rainy morning, said the polling station had been quiet.

Turnout in the centre of Dún Laoghaire town was 20.8 per cent by early afternoon, according to an official at Dominican National School on Convent Road. This was high compared to elsewhere in the country at that time, but slow by the constituency’s standards.

Paul and Sheila Broadberry, who voted there, said they were hoping for a Yes, with Mr Broadberry predicting a 60/40 split in favour of the fiscal treaty. “We don’t want to be like Greece where no one wants to lend us money,” he said.

At Harold School in Glasthule, where one of Fine Gael’s TDs, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, used to be principal, No voters appeared to be few and far between. Many women leaving the polling station said they “hoped” that the referendum would be passed.

The same sentiment was expressed in Sallynoggin, where Brian and Jean McKenna were leaving St Kevin’s National School on Pearse Street. “The Dún Laoghaire area normally votes Yes to most referendums,” Mr McKenna observed.

He was worried about the cost to the State of borrowing if the referendum was lost.

Another married couple said they had voted Yes but were concerned about the younger generation’s intentions. “A lot of the young people are saying No.

“I think the older people are voting Yes. I hope it will pass,” the woman said. In Dalkey, a young woman at the town hall on Castle Street declined to say how she had voted but revealed that her family was “split” on the issue. Meanwhile, a reluctant Yes voter said she thought the referendum would be passed. “I don’t like Europe telling us what to do, but at the same time somebody needs to put the foot down,” she said.

A number of people said the fact that the “three main political parties” – Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil – were advocating a Yes vote had convinced them to support the treaty.

At Kill o’the Grange National School in Deansgrange, turnout was 37.22 per cent at 7pm, which an official said was “not great” for the area.

Some voters leaving the polling station predicted the treaty would be passed “comfortably”, while Alice and Jim Farrell said they were hopeful of a Yes vote. “I don’t fancy the No crowd,” Mrs Farrell said. Her husband said the Government had been elected to advise people. “That’s what they’re there for, if they are looking after our interests,” he said.

Ken Byrne said he hoped the referendum would not pass. “I don’t trust the Government. I don’t think they’ve done anything they said they were going to do,” he said.

One young woman said she and most of her friends were voting Yes, “because we need the money”.

A young man said he thought the No side would win, because of the volume of material he had seen on the internet.

His father intervened to say the referendum would “definitely” be passed in Dún Laoghaire, however, because of the “demographics” of the constituency.