Increased understanding of treaty


Nine out of ten voters are likely to vote on the Lisbon Treaty in the upcoming referendum, according to research carried out for the Referendum Commission.

The research shows high public understanding of the key elements of the treaty, with 63 per cent of voters saying they have at least some understanding of it.

This compares to 60 per cent who said they had some understanding of it in July, 44 per cent on the eve of polling day in June 2008 and just 21 per cent in April 2008.

The research was carried out last weekend for the Referendum Commission by market research agency Behaviour & Attitudes.

Seventy-two per cent of those questioned said they are "extremely likely" to vote and 18 per cent said they are "quite likely" to do so.

In total, 90 per cent say they are quite or extremely likely to vote, compared to 78 per cent in a poll in May 2008, a similar time period before polling day.

Commission chairman Mr Justice Frank Clarke said: "It is very encouraging to see public understanding rising, and the intention to vote being very high."

However, Mr Justice Clarke warned that some issues remained unclear for the electorate. "There is still misunderstanding and confusion over some particular issues and we hope to address this during the remainder of the campaign."

Mr Justice Clarke said the EU has "no input" into Ireland's minimum wage, which he said was set by the Government. "The EU has no input into this nor will it have if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified."

He said claims that ratifying the treaty will affect job levels are "political claims about which people may have different views." However, he added that the treaty itself "contains no provisions on this".