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South of the Border

Declan O'Niell


 

 

In the twenty six counties voters were electing both Euro MEPs and local councillors.   The big winners in the elections were Sinn Fein, largely at the expense of the main government party Fianna Fail.   In the Euro vote the SF vote rose to 11% (+ 5%), and the party took its first Euro seat in the South. The Greens lost both lost both their European seats and their two representatives on Dublin council, though they did pick up council seats elsewhere. 

 

For the European elections Ireland was split into four constituencies with MEPS being elected under the STV system.   The only far left candidate standing was Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party, already an elected member of the Irish parliament, standing in the Dublin Euro constituency.   Joe received 23218 first preference votes (5.5%) in the constituency, whilst the Socialist Party also had four councillors elected. 

 

Whilst the “mainstream Left” vote  ( Labour party, Greens and Sinn Fein) increased at the expense of the right wing coalition government parties, Irish voters also endorsed a reactionary amendment to the constitution, which will allow the government to remove the automatic right to citizenship of anyone born on the island of Ireland.  This nasty xenophobic amendment was fuelled by unverified stories of hundreds of foreign women arriving at Dublin hospitals in the last days of their pregnancies in order to claim Irish (and hence EU ) citizenship for their children.  To their credit SF, the Greens and the Labour Party all opposed the amendment.  Like the SEA they are also all involved in the protests all being planned against George W. Bush’s visit to Ireland on June 25th.

 

 

 

Read Declan's piece Alternative Ulster, Alternative Europe here

 

June 2004

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