Welcome to live coverage of Ireland’s big decision. Voters are casting ballots in the only popular vote on Europe's new fiscal treaty.
Will voters ratify the pact? Yes or no? It sounds so simple, doesn’t? Don’t you believe it! Stick with us for all the latest news and views. Results in real time will appear throughout the course of tomorrow. Here we go…
Some 3.1 million people have the right to vote on whether to accept new rules to dictate strict government spending and future bailout options spearheaded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Polling stations in the 43 constituencies opened at 7am this morning and will stay open until 10pm tonight. Counting due to begin at 9am tomorrow and an early indication of the result expected mid-morning - or by lunchtime if there is a close contest.
Some referendum facts and figures for all you anoraks out there. Courtesy and with thanks to electionsireland.org:
*Referendums have taken place on a total of 32 proposals to amend the Constitution. 23 have been approved and 9 have been rejected.
*The largest majority was for the Adoption Referendum in 1979 when a huge 99% of the voters were in favour.
* The lowest majority in favour was in the Divorce Referendum in 1995 with 50.28% Yes, followed by Cabinet Confidentiality with only 52.65% in favour.
* The 1992 Right to Life Referendum was defeated by the largest majority (65.4% against).
*The largest turnout for a Referendum was in 1972 (70.9%) but this was less than turned out for the Plebiscite on the Draft Constitution in 1937 (75.8%). This Plebiscite also had the largest number of spoilt votes (10%).
* The 7.65% spoilt votes in the Local Government referendum in 1999 was the highest since 1937.
* The least turnout was for the Seanad Referendum in 1978 when only 28.6% of the electorate voted.
* The Nice and Lisbon Treaty Referenda were the only ones to date to be voted on twice as Nice was rejected in 2001 by 54% to 46% but was passed in 2002 by 63% to 37% with Lisbon rejected in 2008 by 53% to 47% and passed in 2009 by 67% to 33%.
* The electorate passed the three million mark for the first time in 2004 and was up in the latest referendums (October 2011) by 1.5 million from the first Referendum in 1959."
Interesting to see what the turnout figure is. Last October's referendum on judges pay prompted 55.9% of the electorate to vote. Let's hope that figure is considerably higher tomorrow or what does that say about the democratic process? Staying at home just says apathy. A spoiled vote shows you care at the very least. If you have not done so already go out and do your democratic duty. Lecture over!
Hi all. As you see, we're live blogging today as you cast your votes all over the country. We'll be following up tomorrow with live results and reaction. Keep your comments coming too...
SEVEN HOURS UNTIL POLLS CLOSE
A very unscientific exit poll on irishexaminer.com shows the NO side leading by 2%, 46% to 44%.
As reported by the BBC. Enda Kenny and Gerry Adams call to action ...
Enda Kenny: "I ask you to make a further contribution by coming out to vote 'Yes'. Yes to stability. Yes to investment. Yes to recovery. Yes to a working Ireland."
Gerry Adams: "Be wise. Join with the millions across Europe who are demanding an end to austerity. Vote 'No'."
Hi guys...Need to ask that you keep posts and comments fairly short pls. Just deleted one of a few hundreds pars long (almost...). thanks!
@Mark Cheers Mark. We do our best!
LATEST: Reports from around the country suggest sluggish turnout in most areas. The average in most constituencies was estimated to be about 10% … but the traditional lunchtime rush might help, together with the expected teatime surge.