01/06/2012 07:24 BST

Irish Voters Accept EU Fiscal Treaty

Ireland has passed the European fiscal treaty, senior figures from both sides of the campaign have claimed.

Richard Bruton, Jobs Minister in the coalition Government, said he is confident that the pact has been supported by the people after tallies suggested at least a 55-45 majority.

"I would be confident it would be in the high 50s in our constituency which would be a good indicator," the minister said.

"Obviously it's early in the hunt and there are still many boxes to be opened but I think there are encouraging signs."

Declan Ganley, founder of the Libertas group who successfully campaigned against the European Union Lisbon treaty in 2008, accepted the early figures pointed to a Yes.

"It looks like it's a yes vote," he told RTE Radio.

With counting under way for less than two hours the senior political figures made the dramatic declaration after a relatively low voter turnout.

Ireland will now be the fourth country in the European Union to ratify strict new rules to rein in budget spending and set the groundwork for future bailout mechanisms in the eurozone.

Polls in the run up to the referendum had predicted safe passage for the pact with a 60-40 majority.