IRELAND, like Spain and other sensible countries, imposes a short moratorium on campaigning and media reporting before election and referendum polling days, but when the last words had been said just before midnight on Wednesday it seemed likely that Irish voters will today reverse the No decision they made last year against ratification of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty. It is not the first time that the Irish have been asked to change their minds on an EU issue but on this occasion the circumstances between the two polls have changed radically. The credit-crunch of one year ago and the subsequent global recession has affected Ireland's economy harder than any other western European Union member and as a consequence the long-term security from that membership is an important new factor. It is also likely that a number of No voters and abstainers from the previous referendum will have recognised that they were influenced by a No campaign that played fast and loose with some of the facts about the effects of the Lisbon Treaty.

The Irish people must, of course, make their decision on the basis of their judgement of the broad advantages to Ireland of the Treaty. However, it will be difficult for them not to be aware that their decision will probably determine whether reforms wanted by at least 25 of the 27 EU members will go ahead.