Connacht Tribune - Opinion Piece
Referendum result ‘hasn’t made a blip’ on European stage says Ó CuívJune 6, 2012 - 12:44pm
Despite being firmly gagged by his party in the run up to the vote on the Fiscal Treaty last Thursday, embattled Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív has emphatically ruled out any possibility of leaving Fianna Fáil and spending the remainder of his time in the Dáil as an independent.
But he is bemoaning the fact that he was not allowed to express his views in the days before the vote and said that the passing of the referendum had not “made a blip on the European stage”.
However, it was something of an embarrassing situation for the North Connemara TD when his own voting centre in Cornamona did not reject the Treaty – albeit there were just two votes in it, according to the tally figures.
Deputy Ó Cuív tempered this by saying that Gaeltacht Connemara certainly did not endorse the Treaty in that as many voted against the referendum as in favour of it.
“First of all I wasn’t surprised at the result and the opinion polls were very consistent. I did expect that the ‘yes’ side would win, however, I do think that during the debate the issue of an investment package and the need to grow ourselves out of our present difficulties became very apparent.
“The issue of growth and the need for growth has come very much to the fore but it was interesting that a lot of people decided not to vote at all and this is reflected in the turnout which was around 50% when you would have anything up to 70% voting in a general election,” Deputy Ó Cuív said.
He added that about 20% of the people, who would normally vote, didn’t go to the polls. He put this down to the possibility that they couldn’t make their minds up one way or the other.
He said that if Connemara was taken as a whole, it produced some very interesting patterns. He believed that Connemara was about 50/50 which showed that it voted significantly more against Treaty than the national trend.
“The Gaeltacht area from Spiddal to Carna and the islands voted against and in some cases it was well over 60% but the area that voted most in favour of the Treaty was from Galway to Oughterard while North Connemara from Leenane to Cong was in favour but not to the same extent.
“I am not disappointed by what has happened. I felt it was important to make a stand on this issue. The situation within Fianna Fáil is that other than not being allowed to speak on the referendum, which I would have loved to be able to do, life is going on as normal and at the moment I am working on a broadcasting bill and whole issue of broadband which is very important to the West of Ireland.
“Other than the fact that I am no longer on the front bench and wasn’t allowed to speak on the referendum, things go on as normal. I am doing a large amount of work within the party. I have the full support of the Fianna Fáil back up team and I am working away as usual,” Deputy Ó Cuív added.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.