November 18, 2008
The Irish may approve the Lisbon Treaty in a new referendum, provided that a number of safeguards are added to the text, according to a new opinion poll published by the Irish Times today (17 November).
The Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll reveals that a swing to the ‘yes’ side has taken place since the referendum defeat last June.
Now, 43% of the Irish say they would vote ‘yes’ and 39% woud say ‘no’ to the text, while 18% have no opinion. Excluding the ‘don’t knows’, this would give the ‘yes’ camp 52.5% and the ‘no’ side 47.5%, compared with last June’s referendum result of 53.4% ‘no’ and 46.6% ‘yes’ (EurActiv 13/06/08).
But the possible breakthrough would come at a price. In the poll, people were asked how they would vote if the Lisbon Treaty was modified to allow Ireland to retain its EU commissioner, with other Irish concerns on neutrality, abortion and taxation clarified in special declarations.
As the Irish press has been reporting since as early as July (EurActiv 30/07/08), the government in Dublin is considering asking the Union to guarantee every member state a permanent commissioner in return for agreeing to put the treaty to a second referendum.