Irish support for EU treaty grows: poll
(DUBLIN) - Irish support for the EU's fiscal pact is growing ahead of a May 31 referendum, with more than half of voters now backing the treaty, according to an opinion poll to be published Sunday.
The Red C poll for The Sunday Business Post found 53 percent would vote in favour of the treaty, up six points since its last poll a fortnight ago.
Opposition to the treaty declined by four points to 31 percent, while 16 percent are undecided, the daily said.
When the undecided voters are excluded, the yes side leads by 63 percent to 37 percent, with just two and half weeks to go to polling.
"While previous referendums have seen late swings against government sponsored measures, the no side needs something dramatic to change in the campaign if it is to stop the treaty being passed," wrote the Post's political editor Pat Leahy.
Ireland's referendum is expected to be the only plebiscite in the European Union on the pact, which is designed to strengthen the euro currency through tighter oversight of public finances.
The vote will be watched closely by Ireland's EU partners, as the republic has previously sent shockwaves through Europe on treaty plans. It had to vote twice before it passed two founding EU treaties, the Nice and Lisbon accords.
In November 2010, Ireland was forced to seek an 85-billion-euro ($110-billion) rescue package from the EU and International Monetary Fund when debt and deficit problems left its economy on the verge of collapse.
The new fiscal pact, drawn up in response to the eurozone crisis, forces countries to enshrine in national law a so-called "golden rule" to balance budgets or face automatic sanctions.
Any state which fails to ratify the new pact, which comes into effect once 12 states have ratified it, will lose the right to future EU bailouts.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny's Fine Gael party and coalition partner Labour are in favour of the treaty, as is the main Fianna Fail opposition party.
The republican Sinn Fein party, the Socialist Party and a number of independents are against it.
The poll was conducted nationwide among more than 1,000 voters from Monday to Wednesday.
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