List of failed amendments to the Constitution of Ireland

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The Constitution of Ireland has been amended 26 times since its adoption in 1937. Numerous other amendment bills were introduced in the Oireachtas but never enacted.[1][2] Some were government bills passed by the Dáil and Seanad but rejected at referendum; some were bills which the government introduced but later decided not to proceed with; the rest were private member's bills, usually introduced by opposition TDs. As is usual with private member's bills, none of the last group got past a second reading.

Title[n 1] Year Type Group Stage reached Subject, notes References
03.1941 Third 1941 private member's Fine Gael 23 Second stage (defeated) Judges: process for impeachment; make more rigorous by requiring two-thirds majority resolution of each House; extend protection from Supreme Court and High Court to lower-court judges [3]
03.1958 Third 1958 Government Fianna Fáil 61.19590617 Referendum (defeated on 17 June 1959) Elections to the Dáil: Replace single transferable vote (STV) system with single-member plurality voting ("first past the post", FPTP). Also proposed an independent boundary commission for constituencies. The main proposal similar to the 1968 fourth-amendment bill. [4]
03.1968 Third 1968 Government Fianna Fáil 61.19681016.1 Referendum (defeated on 16 October 1968) Elections to the Dáil: Specified a degree of malapportionment in favour of rural constituencies over urban constituencies. [5]
04.1968 Fourth 1968 Government Fianna Fáil 61.19681016.2 Referendum (defeated on 16 October 1968) Elections to the Dáil: Replace STV with FPTP for Dáil elections. Similar to main proposal of the 1958 bill. [6]
04.1972 Fourth[n 2] 1972 private member's Labour 13 First stage (defeated) Elections: Lower voting age from 21 to 18. Accomplished by the government-sponsored Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1972. [8]
06 Sixth 1978 private member's Labour 23 Second stage (defeated) Rights of children: To facilitate adoptions whose legality had been questioned, and to abolish illegitimacy. The government-sponsored Sixth Amendment passed in 1979 addressed the adoption issue; the Status of Children Act, 1987 addressed illegitimacy.[9] [10]
08.1980 Eighth 1980 private member's Socialist Labour Party 13 First stage (defeated) Divorce: Permit by deleting Article 41.3.2 and 41.3.3. Divorce was eventually permitted by the 15th amendment in 1996. [11]
08.1982 Eighth (Divorce) 1982 private member's Workers' Party 11 First stage (lapsed) Divorce: Relax ban. This was eventually lifted by the 15th amendment in 1996. [12]
08.1983 Eighth (Divorce) 1983 private member's Workers' Party 13 First stage (defeated) Divorce: Relax ban. This was eventually lifted by the 15th amendment in 1996. [13]
10.1984 Tenth (Divorce) 1984 private member's Workers' Party 13 First stage (defeated) Divorce: Relax ban. This was eventually lifted by the 15th amendment in 1996. [14]
10.1985 Tenth 1985 private member's Fine Gael (Michael O'Leary) 13 First stage (defeated) Divorce: Relax ban. O'Leary was a government backbencher. His move prompted the government to introduce its own bill. [15][16]
10.1985 Tenth (No. 2) 1985 private member's Labour 23 Second stage (defeated) Divorce: Relax ban. Labour's coalition partner Fine Gael opposed the bill; a government-sponsored divorce amendment was rejected at referendum later in 1986. [17]
10 Tenth 1986 Government Fine Gael–Labour 61.19860626 Referendum (defeated on 26 June 1986) Divorce: Relax ban. This was eventually lifted by the 15th amendment in 1996. [18]
11 Eleventh 1990 private member's Workers' Party 23 Second stage (defeated) Amend Articles 2 and 3 to weaken the irredentist claim to Northern Ireland. The Nineteenth Amendment in 1999 amended the articles in a similar manner as part of the Northern Ireland peace process. [19]
11 Eleventh (No. 2)[n 3] 1991 private member's Workers' Party 21 Second stage (lapsed) [20]
11 Eleventh (No. 2)[n 3] 1991 private member's Fine Gael 21 Second stage (lapsed) Elections: enable Irish emigrants to elect three members of the Seanad. [21]
11 Eleventh (No. 3) 1991 private member's Fine Gael 23 Second stage (defeated) Rights of women; replace the reference in Article 40.1 to women's "life within the home" with a statement of equal rights. [22]
11 Eleventh (No. 4) 1991 private member's Fine Gael 21 Second stage (lapsed) Bail laws [23]
12 Twelfth 1992 Government Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats 61.19921125 Referendum (defeated on 25 November 1992) Abortion: Partially reverse the Attorney General v. X decision by removing risk of suicide as grounds for an abortion. [24]
15 Fifteenth 1995 private member's Fianna Fáil 23 Second stage (defeated) Restrict right to bail. Accomplished by the government-sponsored Sixteenth Amendment in 1996. [25]
17 Seventeenth 1997 private member's Progressive Democrats 21 Second stage (lapsed) Election of President: Allow nominating petitions [26]
18 Eighteenth 1997 private member's Fine Gael 21 Second stage (lapsed) Election of President: Allow nominating petitions by 20,000 voters [27]
20 Twentieth 1999 private member's Democratic Left 21 Second stage (lapsed) Lower the age of eligibility for TDs from 21 to 18. [28]
21.1999.1 Twenty-first 1999 private member's Greens 21 Second stage (lapsed) Neutrality: Requiring a referendum before the state could join to join a military alliance [29]
21.1999.2 Twenty-first (No. 2) 1999 private member's Greens 21 Second stage (lapsed) Allowing constitutional amendments by initiative [30]
21.1999.3 Twenty-first (No. 3) 1999 private member's Labour 23 Second stage (defeated) Rights: Guarantee economic, social and cultural rights [31]
21.1999.4 Twenty-first (No. 4) 1999 private member's Labour 21 Second stage (lapsed) Rights: Prohibits "unfair discrimination" and permits positive discrimination. [32]
21.1999.5 Twenty-first (No. 5) 1999 private member's Labour 21 Second stage (lapsed) Rights of children, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [33]
22 Twenty-second 2001 Government Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats 31 Committee stage (lapsed) Judges: process for impeachment [34]
24.2001 Twenty-fourth 2001 Government Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats 61.20010607 Referendum (defeated on 7 June 2001.) European Union: Ratify the Treaty of Nice. The Twenty-sixth Amendment in 2002 passed referendum and accomplished this. [35]
24.2002 Twenty-fourth 2002 private member's Labour 12 First stage (withdrawn) Neutrality: amend Article 29 to allow the state to participate in UN operations but not to join any military alliance. Withdrawn when the Twenty-sixth Amendment included an opt-out from the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy. [36]
25.2001 Twenty-fifth 2001 private member's Sinn Féin 21 Second stage (lapsed) Neutrality: forbid the state from joining any military alliance [37]
25.2002 Twenty-fifth (Protection of Human Life in Pregnancy) 2001 Government Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats 61.20020306 Referendum (defeated on 6 March 2002) Abortion: Partially reverse the Attorney General v. X decision by removing risk of suicide as grounds for an abortion, and specify the legal grounds for abortion. [38]
27.2003.1 Twenty-seventh 2003 private member's Sinn Féin 23 Second stage (defeated) Neutrality: affirms neutrality, forbids the state from joining any military alliance; war may only be declared by the Dáil. [39]
27.2003.2 Twenty-seventh (No. 2) 2003 private member's Sinn Féin 23 Second stage (defeated) Rights: Guarantee the right to housing [40]
28.2005 Twenty-eighth 2005 Government Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats 21 Second stage (lapsed) European Union: Ratify the proposed Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. The amendment was lapsed when the Treaty was abandoned after it was rejected by France and the Netherlands at referendums. [41]
28.2006.1 Twenty-eighth 2006 private member's Labour 21 Second stage (lapsed) Preserve cultural heritage and commit to sustainable development [42]
28.2006.2 Twenty-eighth (No. 2) 2006 private member's Greens 21 Second stage (lapsed) Elections: Votes for emigrants in all election. [43]
28.2006.3 Twenty eighth (No. 3) 2006 private member's Greens 21 Second stage (lapsed) Presidency: ease ballot access by reducing the qualifying number of Oireachtas members and allowing nominating petitions; reduce the term from seven to five years; mandate annual address to the Oireachtas; mandate meetings of the Council of State [44]
28.2007 Twenty-eighth 2007 Government Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats 21 Second stage (lapsed) Rights of children, insertion of a new article. [45]
28.2008 Twenty-eighth 2008 Government Fianna Fáil–Greens–Progressive Democrats 61.20080612 Referendum (defeated on 12 June 2008) European Union: Ratify the Treaty of Lisbon. The Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2009 passed referendum and accomplished this. [46]
29.2008 Twenty-ninth 2008 private member's Sinn Féin 21 Second stage (lapsed) Rights relating to trade unions [47]
29.2009 Twenty-ninth 2009 private member's Fine Gael 21 Second stage (lapsed) Judges: Ease the restriction on reducing judges' pay. The Twenty-Ninth Amendment of 2011 effected this. [48]
29.2011.1 Twenty-ninth 2011 private member's Greens 21 Second stage (lapsed) Defines "economic treason". [49]
29.2011.2 Twenty-ninth (No.2) 2011 private member's Fianna Fáil 22 Second stage (defeated) Allow only individual voters to make political donations. [50]
30.2011 Thirtieth (Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries) 2011 Government Fine Gael–Labour 61.20111027 Referendum (defeated on 27 October 2011) Overturn the 2002 John Carthy verdict limiting the power of Oireachtas inquiries. [51][52][53]
31.2011 Thirty-first (The President) 2011 private member's Technical group (Catherine Murphy) 23 Second stage (defeated) Presidency: ease ballot access by reducing the qualifying number of Oireachtas members and allowing nominating petitions; remove illogical reference to "proportional representation"; reduce the term from seven to five years [54][55]
32.2013 Thirty-second (Abolition of Seanad Éireann) 2013 Government Fine Gael–Labour 61.20131004 Referendum (defeated on 4 October 2013) Oireachtas: Abolish Seanad Éireann, the upper house of the Irish parliament. [56][57]
34.2014 Thirty-fourth (Judicial Appointments) 2013 private member's Technical group (Shane Ross) 23 Second stage (defeated) Judges: establish a non-political body to nominate judges, subject to Oireachtas ratification [58][59]
  1. ^ Where "Nth" is listed, the title of the bill was "Nth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, Year"; Where "Nth (Qualifier)" is listed, the title of the bill was "Nth Amendment of the Constitution (Qualifier) Bill, Year".
  2. ^ Introduced as the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill 1968, the government renumbered it the Fourth Amendment when introducing its own its own Third Amendment bill[7]
  3. ^ a b The Dáil record lists two bills named Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill, 1991.

Missing numbers[edit]

A new bill to amend the constitution is usually named with the ordinal number next after that of the last amendment passed. Multiple pending bills will often use the same number, and be distinguished by year of introduction and/or a parenthetical number or description. However, if the government introduces multiple bills, these are numbered consecutively. There are several gaps in the numbering of passed amendments, corresponding to government bills which did not pass:

Twelfth
amendments 12, 13, and 14, all relating to abortion, were put to referendums on the same day. The 12th was rejected while the 13th and 14th passed.
Twenty-second
amendments 21, 22, 23, and 24 were introduced in the Dáil on the same day, with a view to being passed quickly through the Oireachtas. Three proved uncontroversial, but the 22nd was delayed after complaints from opposition parties. By the time the government decided not to proceed with the 22nd bill, the 23rd had passed at referendum.
Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth
after the 24th bill was rejected at referendum in 2001, the government elected not to re-use the number when introducing the 25th bill later that year. Similarly, after the 25th was rejected in 2002, the government's next amendment bill was numbered 26 rather than 25 or 24. By contrast, when the 28th amendment bill of 2008 was rejected at referendum, the government chose to re-use the number 28 for the amendment bill passed the following year.
Thirty-second
the 32nd and 33rd bills were put to referendum on 4 October 2013; the 32nd was rejected while the 33rd was approved.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bills Initiated in Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann (1997 -2002): T Oireachtas
  2. ^ Bills Initiated in Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann (2003 – —): T Oireachtas
  3. ^ Dáil debates Vol.83 No.14 p.13
  4. ^ Referendum results, 1937–2011, pp.16–17
  5. ^ Referendum results, 1937–2011, pp.18–19
  6. ^ Referendum results, 1937–2011, pp.20–21
  7. ^ Dáil debates Vol.257 No.1 p.25
  8. ^ Dáil debates Vol.259 No.2 p.46
  9. ^ Status of Children Act, 1987 Irish Statute Book
  10. ^ Dáil debates Vol.308 No.6 p.28 No.7 p.58
  11. ^ Dáil debates Vol.321 No.9 p.33
  12. ^ Dáil debates Vol.338 No.3 p.26
  13. ^ Dáil debates Vol.340 No.1 p.29
  14. ^ Dáil debates Vol.350 No.4 p.15
  15. ^ Dáil debates Vol.361 No.5 p.19
  16. ^ "Former Tánaiste Michael O'Leary dies in France". RTÉ.ie. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  17. ^ Dáil debates Vol.363 No.13 p.28, No.14 p.22; Vol.364 No.1 p.23, No.2 p.16
  18. ^ Referendum results, 1937–2011, pp.36–37
  19. ^ Dáil debates Vol.403 No.4 p.23, p.28; No.9 p.22
  20. ^ Dáil debates Vol.405 No.5 p.4
  21. ^ Dáil debates Vol.405 No.6 p.18
  22. ^ Dáil debates Vol.407 No.3 p.28, No.4 p.26, No.6 p.21, No.7 p.19
  23. ^ Dáil debates Vol.409 No.9 p.21
  24. ^ Referendum results, 1937–2011, pp.42–43
  25. ^ Dáil debates Vol.454 No.2 p.4; Vol.456 No.1 p.18, No.2 p.9, No.3 p.17, No.4 p.19
  26. ^ Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1997 (PMB) Oireachtas
  27. ^ Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1997 (PMB) Oireachtas
  28. ^ Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1999 (PMB) Oireachtas
  29. ^ Twenty-First Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1999 (PMB) Oireachtas
  30. ^ Twenty-First Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill, 1999 (PMB) Oireachtas
  31. ^ Twenty-First Amendment of the Constitution (No. 3) Bill, 1999 (PMB) Oireachtas
  32. ^ Twenty-First Amendment of the Constitution (No. 4) Bill, 1999 (PMB) Oireachtas
  33. ^ Twenty-First Amendment of the Constitution (No. 5) Bill, 1999 (PMB) Oireachtas
  34. ^ Twenty-second Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2001 Oireachtas
  35. ^ Referendum results, 1937–2011, pp.64–65
  36. ^ Twenty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2002 (PMB) Oireachtas
  37. ^ Twenty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2001 (PMB) Oireachtas
  38. ^ Referendum results, 1937–2011, pp.66–67
  39. ^ Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2003 (PMB) Oireachtas
  40. ^ Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill 2003 (PMB) Oireachtas
  41. ^ Twenty-eight Amendment of Constitution Bill 2005 Oireachtas
  42. ^ Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2006 (PMB) Oireachtas
  43. ^ Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill 2006 (PMB) Oireachtas
  44. ^ Twenty Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (No. 3) Bill 2006 (PMB) Oireachtas
  45. ^ Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2007 Oireachtas
  46. ^ Referendum results, 1937–2011, pp.72–73
  47. ^ Twenty-Ninth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008 (PMB) Oireachtas
  48. ^ Twenty-ninth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2009 (PMB) Oireachtas
  49. ^ Twenty-Ninth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2011 (PMB) Oireachtas
  50. ^ Twenty-Ninth Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill 2011 Oireachtas
  51. ^ Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries) Bill 2011
  52. ^ Carroll, Steven (29 October 2011). "Inquiries referendum defeated". The Irish Times. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  53. ^ Referendum results, 1937–2011, pp.78–79
  54. ^ Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution (The President) Bill 2011 Oireachtas
  55. ^ Dáil debates Vol.748 No.7 p.5
  56. ^ "Thirty-second Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of Seanad Éireann) Bill 2013". Bills 1992–2013. Oireachtas. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  57. ^ "Referendum to abolish Seanad is defeated". RTE News. 5 October 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  58. ^ Thirty-Fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Judicial Appointments) Bill 2013 [PMB] Oireachtas
  59. ^ Dáil debates 25 February 2014 p.30