Irish voters have thrown the EU into disarray by rejecting the Lisbon Treaty, the government conceded.
Three hours before the count was expected to be completed, Dermot Ahern, the country’s justice minister, predicted: “It looks like this will be a 'no' vote.”
Mr Ahern added: “At the end of the day, for a myriad of reasons, the people have spoken.”
The decision places massive doubt over the future of the pact designed to bring more European integration.
All 27 European member states have to ratify the treaty for it to go come into force next year. So far it has been approved by 18 members including Britain, but Ireland is the only country to put it to a public vote.
The leaders of the 26 other member states watched with dismay as Ireland voted “no”, a decision that will inevitably lead to much infighting and bickering across Europe.
Despite benefiting from £32 billion in European Grants in recent years, a low turn-out (45 per cent) of the Irish electorate discarded the Treaty, designed to streamline the EU.
The outcome was triumph for a highly-effective No Campaign masterminded by the Libertas group led by the multimillionaire Declan Ganley.
Libertas argued that the Treaty would undermine Ireland’s influence in Europe, would open the door to interference in taxation and enshrine EU law above Irish law. Telegraph UK
The French said "Non" to a different, but essentially the same EU treaty in 2005. The Poles have said "Nie wypadek" to the abortion provisions of the EU treaty. But most members' governments won't let their citizens vote on this attempt at creating a super-state government in Brussels with veto power over member states' legislation.So the bureaucrats will draft another treaty with even more obfuscations and attempt to get that in place to preserve their cushy jobs.
The liberal minority on the U.S. Supreme Court that loves to cite European laws when writing their judicial decisions, must be totally dismayed this morning. Just like the Minneapolis City Council dreams of being like New York City, the people in Washington dream of being like London or Paris.