‘Worried’ no supporters may not vote, says Martin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said some people who support the no side in tomorrow’s referendum may not actually vote — as they fear the consequences for the country of a rejection.

Speaking in Cork, where he was giving his final press conference, Mr Martin argued that, even among those who want to reject the fiscal treaty, fears linger about where a no vote could lead.

“Relative to Lisbon, we could have a reasonable enough turnout tomorrow,” he said.

“There are more definite yes votes than no votes. And people are worried about a no vote. People are actually worrying about where the no vote leads them, the uncertainty that arises.

“People who might have been inclining that way, but are worrying about the consequences, may not vote.

“My sense all the way along, is that there has been more definite yes votes than definite no votes.”

Mr Martin also urged voters not to turn the treaty into a vote on austerity or on the current Government.

“There’s no doubt that, in such a severe economic collapse like this, people are angry. There will be a significant element that are voting no that are voting against Government policy but this treaty is about you, the families concerned.

“It is not a referendum on the Government, not a vote on the Government. People should reserve their position until the next local election or next general election. Voting no won’t advance your own position.”

It was vital also, he said, that the political parties continued debating until the close of the polling booths.

“The yes side is shading it but it depends on turnout and again on the intensity of the campaign and debate up to the close of the closing booths.”

Mr Martin also criticised Taoiseach Enda Kenny and, more so, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams for failing to take part in television and radio debates on the treaty.

“My own view is that, irrespective of personality, if you believe in something and want to advocate a particular position, you should be prepared to debate it on national media,” said Mr Martin.

“People make tactical decisions in the middle of campaigns but I think, in this era, there should be an obligation on all leaders to participate in debates. Gerry Adams has steadfastly avoided any opportunity to debate with me.”

Meanwhile, canvassing in North Dublin, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore repeated that only a yes vote could ensure funding for vital services.

Mr Gilmore was heckled by no campaigners protesting about the Government’s treatment of single mothers as he tried to push the yes message on the doorstep.

The Tánaiste said he understood why people would raise a range of other issues during the referendum campaign, but that voters should concentrate on what is in the fiscal treaty.

Mr Gilmore also said Sinn Féin should recognise the independence of the Referendum Commission after the party challenged one of its pronouncements.


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