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The European Council concession on each Member State retaining a Commissioner, and a willingness to give legally binding assurances on issues such as Neutrality, Conscription, Abortion and Taxation have also swayed some voters. However the biggest change since last June has been the collapse of the Irish Economy. We no longer have the luxury of voting against the Lisbon Treaty in the hope of achieving some undefined better Treaty in the Future, we need the EU to lead more effectively now.
Yes and No voters differ in terms of the perceived impact on Ireland of the No vote. Yes voters are much more likely than No voters to say our economic prospects have weakened and far fewer are likely to say they remain unchanged (47% versus 66%).
When asked directly, respondents cited the issue of protection of workers' rights as being "very important" more often than any other issue (of a defined set of issues) relating to Ireland and the EU. Retaining control over public services in the future was similarly cited. Although workers' rights and public services did not feature as issues of concern in the focus groups or to any great extent in the open-ended questions, they made some contribution to the different attitudinal profiles of Yes and No voters. However, the key areas of divergence between the Yes and No sides are retaining military neutrality, preventing excessive EU regulation, the rotating loss of the Commissioner and retaining full control over abortion laws. The focus groups reinforce these indications as to where the main battlegrounds between the Yes and No sides lay, with retaining full control over Corporate Tax also featuring as an issue.
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