'Vote tallies show Ireland rejects European Union reform treaty'

Substantial referendum returns show that Ireland has rejected the European Union reform treaty, Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said Friday. Electoral officials expect to confirm the result later Friday. Ahern has based his conclusion on tallies of votes produced nationally by election observers as well as early official returns. They show the "no" camp ahead in the vast majority of Ireland's 43 electoral constituencies, while pro-treaty voters were clearly ahead in only a few. The expected result will be a major blow to the 27-nation bloc. All member nations must approve the treaty for it to go into effect.