To the surprise of Irish political leaders and European states, Ireland has voted No and rejected the Nice Treaty.

Voters throughout Ireland went to the polls and voted against the Nice Treaty. This is the first time that referendum on a European treaty has been defeated in Ireland sending shock waves through the political establishment in Ireland and throughout the European Union.

The No vote was particularly high in the constituencies of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Tánaiste Mary Harney.

The result was a particularly embarrassing one for the government.

The final count was announced by Referendum Returning Officer Peter Greene.

In what was a relatively poor turnout, the final tally was 453,461 for the proposal and 529,478 against.

Speaking following the announcement of the result, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said that he is certain that the Irish people are still committed to the European Union but it is clear that there are genuine anxieties and concerns. Tánaiste and leader of the Progressive Democrats Mary Harney said that today is not a day for recriminations but rather a day to accept the outcome expressed by the people.

Labour Party leader Ruairí Quinn believes that statements from Mary Harney and others served to create a climate of anti-Europeanism which manifested in this outcome.

Within one hour of the ballot boxes being opened here at the RDS this morning, it was clear from the tallies that Dublin was saying no to Nice. As the day wore on, this was mirrored again and again around the country.

Fine Gael leader Michael Noonan says that the Taoiseach failed to provide leadership resulting in very strong Euro sceptic messages from ministers in the lead up to the vote.

While the No campaign was made up vastly different views, it was united in its determination that paid off at the polls. One of those who campaigned for a no vote was MEP Dana Rosemary Scallan who says that political leaders and Europe must now accept the outcome of the vote. Green Party leader Trevor Sargent was delighted by the result.

I'm delighted for all the people who had to listen to the mud slinging from the government telling them that they didn’t know what they were thinking or talking about and they have now been shown that the people are able to think independently for themselves.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 8 June 2001. The reporter is Flor McCarthy.