DAILY CATHOLIC TUESDAY May 26, 1998 vol. 9, no. 101
NEWS & VIEWS
HEAVY TURNOUT IN IRELAND FOR PEACE PLAN VOTE HELPED EFFECT THE LANDSLIDE
BELFAST (CWNews.com) - Voters in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland went to the polls in record numbers on Friday and overwhelmingly approved a controversial peace agreement for the fractured island.
After years of bitter fighting in which 3,400 have been killed over the past 30 years, peace may finally be at hand. The people of Ireland - North and South have spoken with their definitive yay vote on Friday.
The polls opened at 7 am local time with many people waiting in line to vote before going to work. The polls closed at 10 pm. Nearly 4 million people in the north and south were eligible to vote. "There appears to be a constant stream of voters," Northern Ireland's chief electoral officer Pat Bradley told BBC radio. "Certainly it's higher than what one would expect."
The peace agreement, reached in April after 22 months of
talks, sets up a new elected Northern Ireland assembly
and boosts cross border cooperation with the Irish Republic.
However, Northern Ireland loyalists view the agreement as a
slippery slope that could end in unification with the Irish
Republic, ending British sovereignty. Catholics on both
sides of the border heavily favored the
agreement, but Protestants were sharply split. Yet enough Protestants
voted for it to nullify any opposition. Analysts have said
strong support for the plan among Protestants is vital if
it is to work.
Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
NEWS & VIEWS