Around the world, from Turkey to China to Qatar, people are hearing about Ireland’s historic vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum.
Responses vary, from Eurosceptics thanking the Irish voters for their No vote to bureaucrats worried that the unwieldy EU might collapse with Ireland’s rejection.
It is too early for detailed opinions with most media just reporting the latest tallies so far, but bloggers are wading in and editors are preparing weekend opinion pieces.
The mainstream press is framing Ireland’s No vote as a crisis, and pointing out the implications for a great many of the vote by a few.
‘Ireland's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty leaves the EU — whose leaders meet for a summit in Brussels next week — facing a new crisis like that which followed the 2005 rejection of the formal constitution,’ The Times in London says on its website.
‘It also means that 3m voters have effectively decided the fate of a bloc of almost 500m people.’
The New York Times uses similar language in its web story.
‘In a significant setback for efforts to reform Europe’s unwieldy institutions, a senior Irish official said Friday that voters had rejected a revised European Union treaty designed to change the way the bloc governs itself and presents itself to the world.
'If that outcome is confirmed in official results, it will mean that the 27-member bloc will be in turmoil, its latest attempt to reform stymied by less than 1% of its population of almost 500m.’
The UK’s Daily Telegraph, which has campaigned hard for a similar referendum to be put to the British, to no avail, says:
‘Should Ireland say ‘no’ to the Lisbon Treaty today, the decision could kill the painstakingly-negotiated pact stone dead.'
The BBC's main story gave prominence to Libertas founder (and US military contractor) Declan Ganley's role and did not even acknowledge the left-wing coalition on the No side.
In the generally more anarchic world of the bloggers, the likely No vote is being celebrated, especially in Britain.
‘The bureaucratic bog known as the European Union has been dealt another slap across the chops,’ a British blogger said.
‘Here in Britain under Commandant Brown we find it quaint that a nation should actually be allowed to have an opportunity to express its opinion on something that affects their liberty.’
Another blogger heads his post: ‘Cranky Irish Voters Reject EU Reform Treaty’.
See full coverage of the Lisbon Treaty referendum at RTÉ.ie/lisbon.