Download Cóir Brochure of what we do
What we did : Lisbon
The country was in need of a wake-up call; the Lisbon Treaty - and the Charter of Rights attached to it - posed a serious and immediate threat to our sovereignty, and to our pro-life and pro-family ethos. More than 2000 volunteers came together to make Cóir’s NO to Lisbon undertaking a professional, well-executed, imaginative and hugely successful campaign. Thousands of donations from ordinary citizens financed this project, and the imagination, initiative, prayers and hard work of volunteers made it an endeavour that money alone couldn’t buy. On 12 June 2008, it produced the result required.
Extensive research undertaken by the government following the Lisbon Treaty showed that the issues Cóir highlighted, such as abortion and marriage, loss of sovereignty and power, and taxation and jobs were key concerns with the electorate.
In particular, the research carried out by Millward Brown showed that abortion was a major factor for NO voters, with a massive 66% of NO voters saying they had abortion concerns – a finding which echoed an earlier Red C poll. Cóir were the only national campaign to have tackled this issue.
Our first step was to build a network of voluntary activists. The response was heartening, and meetings were held to co-ordinate, inform and motivate people throughout the country. Guest speakers included EU expert Dr Anthony Coughlan, and journalist Hermann Kelly. During the course of 23 meetings, almost 2,000 supporters signed up to our campaign for a NO vote. As Brian Dobson of RTÉ said to Minister Dick Roche, “While you were saying an extended goodbye to Bertie, they (Cóir) were out knocking on doors.”
We’re still knocking on doors and reaching out to people, so if you would like to attend a Cóir meeting in your area or get involved with the campaign please call us on 01 8746858 or email
What we do : Materials
“A very intriguing, and well executed pamphlet from Cóir.”Carol Hunt, Sunday Independent
“In the face of punchy anti-treaty slogans like (Cóir’s) ‘Lisbon: It’ll cost you’, the main messages from the YES camp included such bland generalities as: ‘Europe: let’s be at the heart of it’. ” The Economist
The humble leaflet. When it’s well written and attractively designed it’s one of the most powerful tools in any campaign. Cóir’s volunteers lent their collective talents to producing striking leaflets which were spread far and wide, in doors, at churches, in shopping areas; wherever voters gathered. Some 1.2 million leaflets were produced and distributed by Cóir. The 3 main campaign leaflets addressed the four key issues: loss of sovereignty; jobs and taxes; the right to decide our social and moral laws; and lack of democracy in the EU. We also produced leaflets as Gaeilge, for prayer groups, students and farmers.
One of the first documents written by Cóir was the highly-regarded Catholic Voters’ Guide which was sent to every parish in the country, to every Bishop, and to thousands of concerned voters.
We’re now producing new material. If you’d like to help with ideas, design or leaflet distribution please contact us.
What we do : Posters
“Effective, funny, attractive.”Gerry Ryan on Cóir’s posters
“The best and most eye catching posters.”Today FM News on Cóir’s posters
“I was with my 7-year-old niece and she was looking at the monkeys poster and she said to me ‘I think we should vote NO’. And I asked her why and she replied ‘Because it will cost us, more taxes, less power’ (Cóir’s poster strapline). Their campaign was pitched at such a simple level, it was arresting; it just grabbed people.”Katie Hannon, from RTÉ’s Prime Time
“There's a campaign poster out there with three monkeys on it saying 'Europe doesn't see you, doesn't hear you, won't speak for you' and sadly in a sense that is true. Europe has removed itself from us ... People in inner city areas like ours, they've become the lost people really.”Father Michael Mernagh, community project organiser in inner-city Dublin
“You won the poster campaign hands down”
Brian Dobson of RTÉ to Richard Greene of Cóir on the day of the count
The now-famous monkey posters were just one of six posters produced altogether by Cóir in the fight against the Lisbon Treaty. Altogether 11,500 posters went up – and they were judged by all to be the best in the campaign. As Noel Whelan wrote in The Irish Times: “(Cóir’s) posters depicting non-seeing, non-hearing and non-speaking monkeys and others depicting the 1916 Proclamation have proved effective because they play to the medium that is outdoor postering; they are uncluttered and have a single blunt message that can be seen and read from the ground.” Our posters addressed concerns about loss of power, the economy, and our right to decide. Quite simply, they worked.
Each and every one of those much talked-about posters was designed, produced and erected by volunteers. If you can help with ideas, design or with putting up posters, please call or email us.
What we do : Advertising
“In the beginning, the YES campaign treated Cóir as an irritating little upstart... though they have become rapidly disabused of that notion over the last week.”Mark Hennessy, The Irish Times
Our advertising spend was reduced considerably by designing and producing everything in-house, and we booked space where we thought it would best reach undecided voters or encourage likely NO voters to come out and vote. The political parties spent a fortune on advertising but failed to back it up with a canvass – something Cóir volunteers were told time and time again at the doors.
We booked ads on both Luas lines in Dublin, with Google and The Irish Times on-line, with The Examiner and the Irish Daily Mail, as well as adverts in local papers.
Got a brainwave for an eye-catching ad? If so please call us on 01 8746858 or email
What we do : Internet
“Cóir is, without doubt, running the most entertaining campaign of all. I love the snazzy pamphlets and I encourage you all to look up its promotional video on the internet, which is truly a work of great imaginative genius.”
Carol Hunt, Sunday Independent
The internet is an important factor in any modern political campaign, and Cóir used it in an attractive and engaging fashion. Our website won high praise from voters looking for clear information on the treaty, and every query that came in was answered promptly.
One area where Cóir indisputably took the lead was in using Youtube to appeal to young voters. Our 90-second video - produced especially for Youtube – used humour and some solid facts to explain what was wrong with the treaty, explaining that “sometimes NO is the most positive answer”. More than 32,000 young people watched the video and this section of the electorate voted strongly against the treaty.
We also organized a NO to Lisbon Roadshow, several days of popularand imaginative street theatre, and attended sporting, social and cultural events with our NO to Lisbon stalls, where volunteers discussed the issues, promoted Cóir’s website and encouraged people to vote NO.
Have YOU any ideas for attention-grabbing campaigns on the net or elsewhere? If so please call us on 01 8746858 or email
What we do : Canvassing and Campaigning
“One of the most important drivers of turnout is individual contact with voters - if people are asked for their vote, they are statistically more likely to exercise it.”
Professor Richard Sinnott, UCD
“I showed up to help out (with Cóir) and at first reluctantly handed out leaflets just for the laugh, but they turned out to be the most committed people I've met in long time. Top marks for integrity. I'm convinced the work Cóir did on the grass roots level defeated the referendum...(they) had countless young volunteers out and about every day and engaged the community on a one-to-one level.”
Brian, blogging on Politics.ie
“I came to Dublin, as a foreigner, the election week to volunteer to take part in the NO campaign. Then luckily I got in contact with Cóir. I am not Catholic but I must say that I admire the dedication and the hard work that the members of Cóir put down in this campaign. I feel that it has been a great privilege to have met such warm and humorous people.” Hans Nillsen from Sweden
No praise is high enough for the volunteers who wore out shoe leather in the six months prior to the vote on 12 June 2008. At least 140,000 voluntary hours were spent knocking on doors, swamping shopping centres, giving information out at churches, train stations and everywhere else that people gathered. Cóir carried out a large-scale canvass against the treaty; it was a huge, sustained and extraordinary effort which ensured that voters had the solid reasons for voting NO to Lisbon explained to them in person.
We ALWAYS need more volunteers to help with canvassing and campaigning, and we’d love to have you on the team. Please call us on 01 8746858 or email
and we’ll put you in touch with the Cóir people in your area.
What we do : Media
“Of those who believed Lisbon made abortion more likely (58%), a massive 74% voted NO.This means that, despite the existence of legally-binding protocols guaranteeing Ireland’s constitutional provisions on abortion, statements from the members of the Catholic hierarchy and even the contention of many NO campaigners that Lisbon had no effect on Irish abortion law, a significant number of voters still believed the arguments of anti-abortion campaigners (Cóir).”
Pat Leahy, Sunday Business Post
“Niamh Uí Bhriain and Richard Greene of Cóir ... the campaigners whose arguments about the future of this country we accepted rather than heed the opinions and advice of mainstream politicians.”
Sunday Tribune editorial, 15 June 2008
Cóir’s media spokespersons featured on local and national radio and newspapers and on current affairs TV programmes. Up to three press releases were issued daily, and our website www.lisbonvote.com, was updated with breaking news each day. Sticking to the facts gave Cóir essential credibility with voters, and in the end, as the Sunday Business Post acknowledged, Cóir was “wildly successful” in getting the message across, especially on social and moral issues.
If you are interested in helping with our media campaign, please call us on 01 8746858 or email us at