By Hilary White

DUBLIN, June 27, 2008 ( – Despite surveys that discounted the issue in the recent Irish referendum, new polling has found that abortion was a significant factor in the rejection of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty.

In the weeks following the referendum on June 12, European lawmakers and EU diplomats have speculated that if only the real reason could be found for the Irish rejection, appropriate changes could be made to render the Treaty more palatable for a second vote. Pressure is increasing on the Irish government to hold another vote next spring to bring back the desired result to Brussels.

Most analysts have cited as the main objection the perceived threat to Ireland’s tax laws and changes to the system of representation in the European Parliament. Some, accusing Ireland of hosting racist anti-immigrant sentiments, believe the No vote was a protest against increasing immigration.

A Red C poll, on behalf of the Irish Sunday Business Post, has been released showing that simpler and more visceral matters were in the minds of the Irish on June 12. Although the pro-life warnings about abortion were dismissed by the Electoral Commission, 58 percent of those who voted against the treaty believed that it would make abortion more likely in Ireland, against 28 percent who disagreed. Of those who believed Lisbon made abortion more likely, a massive 74 percent voted No, the Sunday Business Post reported. 

A Eurobarometer survey found that fears about the economy or unemployment were not mentioned, and just 1 per cent of survey responses showed the No vote was in response to immigration.

The leading pro-life campaigners against Lisbon, Cóir. said the results are also noteworthy in that a majority of young people and women came out against the treaty.

“We targeted the young vote with the lively and eye-catching element of our campaigns, such as our youtube feature,’ said Richard Greene of Coir.

Greene also said he had the “highest praise” for the pro-life group, Youth Defence, whose members “brought such fresh energy, talent and creativity to Cóir’s campaign and who were obviously highly respected by the electorate for both their honesty and commitment”.

The Red C poll results followed the address of a Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, to the EU leader’s summit, where he stated that one of the reasons for the No vote was a belief that European Court of Justice would change the laws on abortion and euthanasia.