The omens weren't great. A pal sent me a text on Thursday morning saying 'it's probably going to be a train wreck'. Later on, when I walked into Jim's Barber Shop on Patrick Street in Dun Laoghaire, Jim said everyone who had come in the door that morning had voted No.
Friday morning I took an early train to Cork for a friend's wedding near Bantry. Enterprise Rent a Car picked me up at the station, and half an hour later I was negotiating roundabouts heading west in a Ford Fiesta. Posters of Kathy Sinnott MEP still stared out from every junction asking 'We give up power, in exchange for what?' A rhetorical question, but interesting to note that according to the website that she flags, the independence / democracy group is sponsored by 'EU-critics, eurosceptics and eurorealists'. The Workers Solidarity Movement had pasted their posters to lamp posts with a large anarchist A in a circle and the slogan - 'If you trust liars, vote yes, if you don't then vote no.' Their website cites Mikhail Bakunin's maxim that "Socialism without freedom is tyranny and brutality". Incidentally Bakunin held that the state should be immediately abolished because all forms of government eventually lead to oppression.
By the time I got to Bandon, Pat Kenny had some early tallies indicating a No vote. When I got to Dunmanway it was clear, the Treaty had been rejected.
-The Yes campaign started late. Cóir hit the ground running. The monkeys worked.
-Certain high profile individuals bizarrely stated that they hadn't read the damn thing.
-Cabinet pay hikes didn't exactly install fervour for politicians telling us what way to vote.
-People are concerned about the Mutual Solidarity Clause and European Security and Defence Policy.
Too be honest, I'm not a great fan of the line stating 'Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities' in Article 42 of the Treaty. I guess that could mean making sure that Irish army radios can talk to other troops in Chad or elsewhere, or it could mean something more sinister. I do feel uneasy about other EU member states with large defence spending, but I certainly don't think that an arms race is at the heart of the Treaty. In fairness, Carol Fox and others from PANA put these points across in a level-headed way.
I made my own pitch for a yes vote in this week's Dún Laoghaire Gazette, and I'm glad to see that the Dún Laoghaire constituency delivered the highest Yes vote in the country. Interestingly, all the constituencies with a Green TD voted Yes, bar Dublin Mid-West. I'm disappointed that the strong lead that the European Union has taken on climate change may be diminished by the impasse over the treaty.
Saturday morning I drove back from Bantry to Cork, slightly the worse for wear from the celebrations of the previous evening. A wide-awake Declan Ganley from Libertas was on Radio One with Dunphy. He seemed to suggest that he had made most of his money in two-radios, and that really it was all about defending freedom. I'm not so sure. The car hire guy drove me back to the railway station, saying that he and his family voted no, because they didn't have enough information.
Sunday evening I went to hear Leonard Cohen up at IMMA. His voice was, well, as good as ever, but even there I couldn't stop thinking about the future of the Union. It must have been something to do with the roadies' truck, parked beside the big screen. Four bright yellow stars in an arc, reminding us that the Union is still there, and that disengaging is not an option. Where to from here? I don't think we can walk away and pretend Lisbon can't or won't happen. Hopefully we can negociate protocols that addresses the concerns both real and imaginary that people have about the EU's future. I'd hate to think that we might be left to one side as the other 26 countries chart their common future without us.