No campaigners accept defeat


No campaigners have conceded defeat in the EU referendum, with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and Libertas founder Declan Ganley both saying many people voted Yes "through gritted teeth".

Speaking at Dublin Castle, Mr Adams said he accepted the outcome of the referendum and was not disappointed by the result. He accused the Government of playing on the fears of the public and that he had met many people who had voted Yes through “gritted teeth”.

“In the course of the campaign the Government made a number of very firm commitments in terms of removing the burden of the bank bailout from people and also of growth and job incentive initiatives and we will be holding [them] to those commitments,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the public had decided to vote in favour of the promises of growth and stability put forward by the Yes campaign and that her party “would seek to hold them” to their promises.

“I’m pretty sure all of the people who came out and cast their votes on the Yes side will equally do so.”

Ms McDonald said she believed Sinn Féin had a “good campaign”.

“We argued our position fairly and clearly. We did public meetings the length and breadth of the State and I think our political message has a fairly deep resonance with a fairly significant section of the
general public.”

Ms McDonald said it was clear throughout the campaign that the Labour Party was on the wrong side of the argument when its traditional supporters were considered. “The Labour Party were on the wrong side of the debate in respect of the trade union movement right across Europe and the wrong side of the debate laterally even in terms of their own sister parties across the EU,” she said.

“Austerity hasn’t worked and Eamon Gilmore knows that as surely as I know that. They have promised big and we want to see them deliver on it. We will be reminding them of all the promises and assertions they have made.”

Earlier, Mr Ganley conceded defeat in the referendum, saying many people voted Yes "through gritted teeth".

Asked what went wrong with No campaign, Mr Ganley replied: “Not enough votes.”

He said the Yes side had convinced the electorate the treaty would bring stability.

“More people have been persuaded by the various arguments put forward by the Yes campaign that this is going to provide certainty in Europe, this is going to provide stability for Ireland and Europe and this is going to provide growth and jobs,” he said at the Dublin Castle count centre. “I’m looking forward to all of those things happening.”

Mr Ganley said there was a feeling of powerlessness on the streets.

"Part of this Yes vote was through gritted teeth, it wasn't all of it but it was part of it, because of this funding issue, or threat if you will. I think that one of the things that concern is that if people feel powerless it points to a democratic deficit that is inflicting Europe right now and it badly needs to be addressed."

He said he did not have faith that the current approach would solve the problems in the EU. Mr Ganley said it was "way too early to say" if he would run in the European elections again but he would not rule it out.

He said Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his campaign managers had pulled off something that worked by not having him debate the treaty. "If you can't win a debate, don't have one,” he said.

"His argument would be that I'm not elected and I don't have a mandate but it does question ones approach to the whole democratic process that you have to be elected and have a mandate. On that basis none of you [journalists] would be able to ask me a question at all."

Speaking at Dublin Castle, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who campaigned for a No vote, said the result was disappointing but not surprising. “Fear won the day,” he said. “People thought things would get worse if they voted No and that was the message they were given by the Government.”

He said the biggest victims of austerity to date, those in working class areas, had clearly voted No and that others had voted Yes in the hope that things would not get any worse.

Mr Boyd Barrett said Labour had a very good reason to be worried given the voting patterns of working class people, who he said had “deserted them to a very large extent”.

He said the outcome showed the Dáil was “unrepresentative” as just 20 per cent of TDs opposed the treaty but some 40 per cent of the electorate had opposed it.

Mr Boyd Barrett said he would continue to oppose the ratification of legislation relating to the European Stability Mechanism and that he believed a further referendum should be held on the permanent EU bailout fund.

Earlier, Socialist MEP Paul Murphy also accepted defeat. “For this referendum, it looks like the game is over, but the battle on austerity continues. It goes back to the communities, to the work places,” the Dublin MEP said. “It’s looking like there’s been strong class polarisation where working class areas have been voting No and the more affluent areas have voted Yes in high numbers.

"It’s no endorsement of this Government, it’s no endorsement of what’s in this treaty and it’s no endorsement of austerity. People are scared out there.”

Earlier, Independent TD Luke Ming Flanagan said the Government regarded the vote as a nuisance. “I would say the government are delighted that the nuisance of democracy is now out of the way,” he told RTÉ’s Pat Kenny Show. “They did their damndest to make it difficult for people to vote. They held the vote on a Thursday which I find quite remarkable. If you're really interested in democracy you would hold it at a weekend and you would hold it over a two day period to get the maximum amount of people out to vote even still though I think it would have been passed.”

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