Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland

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Circle frame.svg

Result

  Yes (60.3%)
  No (39.7%)
Referendum campaign posters in Dublin

The Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution is an amendment to the Irish constitution to permit Ireland to ratify the 2012 European Fiscal Compact (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) and preclude measures taken under the Compact from being held to be inconsistent with the Irish constitution. The Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Act 2012 was approved by referendum on 31 May 2012, by 60.3% to 39.7%, on a turnout of 50%. It was signed into law by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins on 27 June 2012.[1]

The decision to hold a referendum on the Fiscal Compact was made by the Irish government following advice from the Attorney General, and was announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on 28 February 2012 prior to the signing ceremony.[2]

Change[edit]

The following subsection 10 was appended to Article 29, section 4 of the constitution:

10° The State may ratify the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union done at Brussels on the 2nd day of March 2012. No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of the State under that Treaty or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by bodies competent under that Treaty from having the force of law in the State.

Publication of bill[edit]

The bill paving the way for the referendum was published on 28 March 2012. It is officially entitled the Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012,[3] and proposes to insert a new clause in Article 29 of the Constitution.

High Court challenge[edit]

In May 2012, Independent TD Thomas Pringle brought a High Court challenge over the Irish European Fiscal Compact referendum. He asked the High Court to check the legality of the referendum as the fiscal treaty is intertwined with the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) treaty and an amendment to another treaty.[4]

Referendum campaign[edit]

Proponents[edit]

On 27 May, Taoiseach Enda Kenny appealed to voters to support the referendum in order to contribute to a recovery from Ireland's financial crisis. "This treaty strengthens the economic and budgetary rules that apply to countries like Ireland that use the euro. It will create stability in the euro zone that is essential for growth and job creation. A strong yes vote will create the certainty and stability that our country needs to continue on the road to economic recovery."[5]

Opponents[edit]

The No Campaign referred to it as the Austerity Treaty.[6] Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams promising to lead a "strong anti-treaty campaign" to stop what he described as a pact that would worsen the Irish government's "terrible policy of austerity."[2] Independent TD Shane Ross called for the Irish people to reject the treaty as "the only way to stop a process that would end in Ireland's surrender of economic decision-making."[2] The United Left Alliance also campaigned for a No vote in the 2012 European Fiscal Compact referendum.[7]

On 29 February 2012, Éamon Ó Cuív resigned as Fianna Fáil's Deputy leader and Communications spokesperson due to dissatisfaction with his party's position on the referendum.[8] He vowed to vote against the treaty and said "joining a badly designed monetary union had cost Ireland... the people of Europe do not agree that there is only one way forward." Fianna Fáil party whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl then sent Ó Cuív a letter which put a gag on him during the referendum campaign for speaking out of turn and expressing his own opinion against the party's wishes.[9]

Debates[edit]

TV3 hosted the first live televised debate concerning the European Fiscal Compact referendum. It was an hour-long debate, hosted by Vincent Browne, and airing on 1 May at 21:00. Sinn Féin deputy president Mary Lou McDonald and Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party put the case for a No vote, and while Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and agriculture minister Simon Coveney of Fine Gael called on viewers to vote Yes. Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to participate in the debate, citing comments made previously by the host.[10] Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore also declined to join the debate.

Lucinda Creighton and Clare Daly appeared on Prime Time while the TV3 debate was happening.[11]

A debate held on The Frontline on 21 May 2012 descended into chaos. Celebrity "Dragon" Norah Casey and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore represented "Yes", while Declan Ganley and Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald represented "No". At one stage presenter Pat Kenny shouted down a farmer in the audience who was advocating a No vote.[12]

A 45-minute debate, this time "strictly marshalled" by Richard Crowley, was held on Prime Time on 29 May 2012. Fianna Fáil director of elections Timmy Dooley and Labour's Joan Burton represented "Yes", while the Socialist Party's Clare Daly and Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald represented "No". Following Richard Bruton's gaffe on live radio (see below), Joan Burton declined repeated attempts to have her say whether Labour would agree to a second referendum in the event of the "No" side prevailing.[13]

Notable moments[edit]

On 19 April 2012, the government launched a website offering information about the treaty.[14] Having claimed that this was a neutral source of information, the government came under pressure to remove some content from the site which explicitly called for a Yes vote.[15] When questioned why, in light of the ruling in the Patricia McKenna case that it was unconstitutional for the government to spend public money to promote one side of a referendum debate, the government was launching a website which contained partisan material, Minister Leo Varadkar replied that as they had launched the website before moving the writ to formally call the referendum, the ruling did not apply.[16] The government was also criticised for diverting millions of euro to fund this website and related leaflet drop from the budget of the Referendum Commission whose role it is to provide unbiased information on referendums in Ireland.[17]

On 16 May, finance minister Michael Noonan caused controversy with his Greek "holidays" and "feta cheese" comment at a breakfast briefing with Bloomberg news agency. Noonan said these were the only links between Ireland and Greece.[18][19][20]

On 17 May, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was heckled and booed by opponents of the compact in Galway as he attended a breakfast briefing.[21] Later that day, jobs minister Richard Bruton let slip on radio the possibility of there being a second referendum if the Irish people voted "No".[22]

Opinion polls[edit]

Date Source Polling agency Sample size For Against Undecided
26 May 2012[23] The Irish Times Ipsos MRBI 1,000 39% 30% 22%
17 May 2012[24] Irish Independent Millward Brown Lansdowne 1,000 37% 24% 35% (plus 4% 'will not vote')
13 May 2012[25] The Sunday Business Post RED C 1,000 53% 31% 16%
29 April 2012[26] The Sunday Business Post RED C 1,000 47% 35% 18%
22 April 2012[27] The Sunday Times Behaviour and Attitudes 946 42% 27% 31%
19 April 2012[28] The Irish Times Ipsos MRBI 1,000 30% 23% 39% (plus 8% 'will not vote')
25 March 2012[29] The Sunday Business Post RED C 1,000 49% 33% 18%
4 March 2012[30] The Sunday Business Post RED C 1,000 44% 29% 26%
4 March 2012[31] Sunday Independent Millward Brown Lansdowne ? 37% 26% 15% (plus 21% 'depends')
29 January 2012[32] The Sunday Business Post RED C ? 40% 36% 24%

Results[edit]

National[edit]

Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2011[33]
Choice Votes  %
Referendum passed Yes 955,091 60.37%
No 626,907 39.63%
Valid votes 1,581,998 99.55%
Invalid or blank votes 7,206 0.45%
Total votes 1,589,204 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 3,144,828 50.53%

By constituency[edit]

How the electorate voted, by constituency. Proportion of the valid poll voting yes:
  69%–76%
  64%–68.99%
  57%–63.99%
  50%–56.99%
  43%–49.99%
Constituency Electorate Turnout (%) Yes (%) No (%) Spoilt
Carlow–Kilkenny 102,643 52,325 51.0 32,920 63.3 19,098 36.7 307
Cavan–Monaghan 97,803 47,689 48.8 27,296 57.6 20,106 42.4 287
Clare 80,102 39,900 49.8 26,121 65.7 13,616 34.3 163
Cork East 81,692 38,017 46.5 24,212 64.0 13,616 36.0 189
Cork North–Central 74,257 38,234 51.5 19,798 52.0 18,275 48.0 161
Cork North–West 61,672 32,013 51.9 20,894 65.6 10,961 34.4 158
Cork South–Central 89,844 48,032 53.5 29,730 62.2 18,090 37.8 212
Cork South–West 59,852 30,852 51.5 20,350 66.3 10,360 33.7 142
Donegal North–East 58,387 24,869 42.6 10,975 44.4 13,758 55.6 136
Donegal South–West 63,127 26,465 41.9 11,862 45.1 14,466 54.9 137
Dublin Central 55,092 26,611 48.3 14,183 53.5 12,312 46.5 116
Dublin Mid–West 64,445 33,275 51.6 16,590 50.0 16,585 50.0 100
Dublin North 69,533 36,798 52.9 22,153 60.4 14,507 39.6 138
Dublin North–Central 52,799 31,024 58.8 19,250 62.3 11,660 37.7 114
Dublin North–East 57,175 32,689 57.2 18,890 58.0 13,679 42.0 120
Dublin North–West 48,352 25,072 51.9 11,682 46.8 13,302 53.2 88
Dublin South 101,451 57,896 57.1 43,735 75.8 13,931 24.2 230
Dublin South–Central 77,869 40,280 51.7 19,706 49.1 20,428 50.9 146
Dublin South–East 56,037 27,369 48.8 19,682 72.3 7,539 27.7 148
Dublin South–West 69,872 35,665 51.0 17,531 49.3 18,028 50.7 106
Dublin West 61,762 31,901 51.7 18,503 58.2 13,300 41.8 98
Dun Laoghaire 78,655 44,966 57.2 33,242 74.2 11,554 25.8 170
Galway East 81,587 38,157 46.8 24,015 63.2 13,955 36.8 187
Galway West 87,456 42,143 48.2 24,282 57.9 17,645 42.1 216
Kerry North–West Limerick 62,271 29,365 47.2 17,800 61.0 11,403 39.0 162
Kerry South 57,146 27,576 48.3 17,727 64.7 9,685 35.3 164
Kildare North 75,513 38,688 51.2 25,169 65.3 13,384 34.7 135
Kildare South 57,790 28,669 49.6 16,678 58.4 11,902 41.6 89
Laois–Offaly 106,297 51,654 48.6 30,655 59.6 20,741 40.4 258
Limerick 64,419 31,133 48.3 20,459 66.1 10,491 33.9 183
Limerick City 64,241 31,342 48.8 18,933 60.7 12,262 39.3 147
Longford–Westmeath 85,159 39,805 46.7 23,886 60.3 15,723 39.7 196
Louth 99,008 51,656 52.2 27,114 52.7 24,289 47.3 253
Mayo 96,158 45,922 47.8 30,738 67.2 14,977 32.8 207
Meath East 64,178 31,433 49.0 19,613 62.6 11,697 37.4 123
Meath West 62,232 29,609 47.6 16,661 56.6 12,785 43.4 163
Roscommon–South Leitrim 59,020 30,689 52.0 18,562 60.8 11,991 39.2 136
Sligo–North Leitrim 61,892 29,705 48.0 17,828 60.3 11,728 39.7 149
Tipperary North 62,044 33,486 54.0 21,819 65.6 11,454 34.4 213
Tipperary South 55,717 29,508 53.0 17,797 60.7 11,546 39.3 165
Waterford 76,993 39,352 51.1 22,585 57.7 16,585 42.3 182
Wexford 110,302 53,932 48.9 31,039 57.8 22,654 42.2 239
Wicklow 92,984 53,438 57.5 32,426 60.9 20,839 39.1 173
Total 3,144,828 1,589,204 50.5 955,091 60.4 626,907 39.6 7,206

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Legislation Signed by President Higgins". Official website. Office of the President. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ireland to hold referendum on European fiscal pact". Newsday. 27 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012". Oireachtas.ie. Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Independent TD takes legal action over EU treaties". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). 17 May 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Taoiseach makes final pitch to voters". The Irish Times. 27 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Referendum 2012: Fiscal Treaty Guide". RTÉ News. 5 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "United Left Alliance says pro-treaty parties 'cannot be trusted'". RTÉ News. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  8. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan; Kelly, Fiach (29 February 2012). "O Cuiv steps down as FF Deputy leader over EU treaty". Irish Independent. 
  9. ^ "O Cuiv say he will remain in Fianna Fáil". BBC News. 8 May 2012. 
  10. ^ "TV3 confirms line-up for Vincent Browne’s referendum debate". The Journal. 30 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "AS IT HAPPENED: The Europe Debate with Vincent Browne on TV3". The Journal. 1 May 2012. 
  12. ^ McGee, Harry (22 May 2012). "Sharp exchanges and accusations in TV debate". The Irish Times. 
  13. ^ McGee, Harry (30 May 2012). "Burton avoids backing of second referendum". The Irish Times. 
  14. ^ "Government launches Stabilitytreaty.ie". The Business Post. 19 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "Government forced to remove ‘yes’ vote speeches from website". The Irish Independent. 26 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "Vincent Browne destroys Leo Varadkar". Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Moriarty, Gerry; De Bréadún, Deaglán; Wall, Martin (20 April 2012). "Kenny says ratifying treaty in Ireland's interest". The Irish Times. 
  18. ^ Wall, Amy (18 May 2012). "Michael Noonan accused of being "ignorant" over remarks about Greece". JOE.ie. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  19. ^ O'Doherty, Michael (17 May 2012). "Let's thank the Greeks bearing gift of Georgia". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Telford, Lyndsey (16 May 2012). "Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore stands firm on our corporation tax rate". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  21. ^ Crawford, Caroline; Keogh, Elaine (18 May 2012). "Kenny accuses protesters of bullying and intimidation". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  22. ^ "Bruton raises prospect of second treaty referendum". Irish Examiner (Thomas Crosbie Holdings). 17 May 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  23. ^ "Undecided come off the fence". The Irish Times. 26 May 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  24. ^ "Undecided voters hold key to treaty outcome - poll". RTÉ News. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  25. ^ "Poll shows big rise in support for fiscal treaty Yes vote". RTÉ News. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "Poll shows slight increase in EU Fiscal Treaty opponents". RTÉ News. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  27. ^ "Poll indicates 55% of voters do not understand European Union Fiscal Treaty". RTÉ News. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  28. ^ "Poll shows 40% of voters have yet to decide how to vote on Fiscal Treaty referendum". RTÉ News. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  29. ^ "Poll shows support for EU Fiscal Treaty". RTÉ News. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  30. ^ "Poll shows support for Yes vote". The Irish Times. 3 March 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  31. ^ "Two opinion polls suggest support for treaty". RTÉ News. 3 March 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  32. ^ "Poll shows support for Treaty referendum". RTÉ News. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  33. ^ "Fiscal Treaty Referendum". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 

External links[edit]

Official sites
News overviews