Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland

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Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
To permit the state to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon
Location Republic of Ireland Ireland
Date 2 October 2009 (2009-10-02)
Results
Votes %
Yes 1,214,268 67.13%
No 594,606 32.87%
Valid votes 1,808,874 99.60%
Invalid or blank votes 7,224 0.40%
Total votes 1,816,098 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 3,078,132 59%
Results by constituency
Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland Bill, 2009 map (results by constituency).png
Declared results by constituency 3 October 2009.
  Yes
  No
Result and turnout for the referendum

The Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty of Lisbon) Act 2009 (previously bill no. 49 of 2009) is an amendment of the Constitution of Ireland which permitted the state to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon of the European Union. It was approved by referendum on 2 October 2009 (sometimes known as the second Lisbon referendum).

The amendment was approved by the Irish electorate by 67.1% to 32.9%, on a turnout of 59%.[1][2][3][4][5] The amendment's enactment followed the failure of a previous attempt which was rejected in the first Lisbon referendum, held in June 2008. The successful referendum in 2009 represented a swing of 20.5% to the "Yes" side, from the result in 2008.[1]

Following the referendum, Dáil Éireann (the lower house of parliament) gave its approval to the Treaty on 8 October 2009.[6] The President of Ireland Mary McAleese signed the amendment of the constitution into law on 15 October.[7] These formalities having been conducted, the state ratified the treaty by depositing the instrument of ratification with the Italian government on 23 October. The Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on 1 December 2009.

Background[edit]

A 1987 decision of the Supreme Court established that ratification by Ireland of any significant amendment to the Treaties of the European Union requires an amendment to the Constitution of Ireland.[8] All constitutional amendments require approval by referendum.

A referendum on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe of the European Union was expected to be held in 2005 or 2006 but was cancelled following the rejection of the Constitution by voters in France in May 2005 and in the Netherlands in June 2005. The Treaty of Lisbon represents the European-wide political compromise that was agreed upon in the wake of the rejection of the Constitution. It preserves most of the content of the Constitution, especially the new rules on the functioning of the European Institutions, but gives up any symbolic reference to a Constitution. (See Treaty of Lisbon compared to the European Constitution.)

First Lisbon referendum[edit]

The 'Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008' was a proposal to amend the Constitution of Ireland to enable ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon (also known as the Reform Treaty) of the European Union, so it could be enacted as scheduled on 1 January 2009. As part of the enactment of the bill, a referendum was held on 12 June 2008.[9] The proposal was defeated by 53.4% to 46.6%, with a turnout of 53.1%.[10]

Ireland was the only EU member state that held public referendums on the Treaty. Ratification of the Treaty in all other member states is decided upon by the states' national parliaments. The referendum was part of the larger EU ratification of the Treaty, which required that all EU members and the European Parliament must ratify it. A "No" vote in the referendum could have blocked the treaty in the EU altogether. However, the Treaty of Nice was ratified by Ireland in 2002 in a second referendum after the first vote rejected it by a narrow margin in 2001.

Accordingly, the Irish government renegotiated the terms of the Treaty, adding areas where Ireland would have specific exclusions,[clarification needed] which could be presented in a second referendum.

Changes to the text[edit]

Before the amendment, the wording of Article 29.4 of the Constitution of Ireland was:

1º The executive power of the State in or in connection with its external relations shall in accordance with Article 28 of this Constitution be exercised by or on the authority of the Government.

2º For the purpose of the exercise of any executive function of the State in or in connection with its external relations, the Government may to such extent and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be determined by law, avail of or adopt any organ, instrument, or method of procedure used or adopted for the like purpose by the members of any group or league of nations with which the State is or becomes associated for the purpose of international co-operation in matters of common concern.

3º The State may become a member of the European Coal and Steel Community (established by Treaty signed at Paris on the 18th day of April 1951), the European Economic Community (established by Treaty signed at Rome on the 25th day of March 1957) and the European Atomic Energy Community (established by Treaty signed at Rome on the 25th day of March 1957). The State may ratify the Single European Act (signed on behalf of the Member States of the Communities at Luxembourg on the 17th day of February 1986, and at the Hague on the 28th day of February 1986).

4º The State may ratify the Treaty on European Union signed at Maastricht on the 7th day of February 1992, and may become a member of that Union.

5º The State may ratify the Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related Acts signed at Amsterdam on the 2nd day of October 1997.

6º The State may exercise the options or discretions provided by or under Articles 1.11, 2.5 and 2.15 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 5 of this section and the second and fourth Protocols set out in the said Treaty but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

7º The State may ratify the Treaty of Nice amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related Acts signed at Nice on the 26th day of February 2001.

8º The State may exercise the options or discretions provided by or under Articles 1.6, 1.9, 1.11, 1.12, 1.13 and 2.1 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 7 of this section but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

9º The State shall not adopt a decision taken by the European Council to establish a common defence pursuant to Article 1.2 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 7 of this section where that common defence would include the State.

10º No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State which are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union or of the Communities, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the European Union or by the Communities or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the Treaties establishing the Communities, from having the force of law in the State.

11º The State may ratify the Agreement relating to Community Patents drawn up between the Member States of the Communities and done at Luxembourg on the 15th day of December 1989.

The Twenty-eighth Amendment amended the text of subsection 3º to read:

3º The State may become a member of the European Atomic Energy Community (established by Treaty signed at Rome on the 25th day of March 1957).

Subsections 4º to 11º were deleted and the following were inserted as subsections 4º to 9º

4º Ireland affirms its commitment to the European Union within which the Member States of that Union work together to promote peace, shared values and the well-being of their peoples.

5º The State may ratify the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon on the 13th day of December 2007 (“Treaty of Lisbon”), and may be a member of the European Union established by virtue of that Treaty.

6º No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State, before, on or after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, that are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union referred to in subsection 5 of this section or of the European Atomic Energy Community, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by—

i. the said European Union or the European Atomic Energy Community, or by institutions thereof,
ii. the European Communities or European Union existing immediately before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, or by institutions thereof, or
iii. bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this section,

from having the force of law in the State.

7º The State may exercise the options or discretions—

i. to which Article 20 of the Treaty on European Union relating to enhanced cooperation applies,
ii. under Protocol No. 19 on the Schengen acquis integrated into the framework of the European Union annexed to that treaty and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly known as the Treaty establishing the European Community), and
iii under Protocol No. 21 on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice, so annexed, including the option that the said Protocol No. 21 shall, in whole or in part, cease to apply to the State,

but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

8º The State may agree to the decisions, regulations or other acts—

i. under the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union authorising the Council of the European Union to act other than by unanimity,
ii. under those treaties authorising the adoption of the ordinary legislative procedure, and
iii. under subparagraph (d) of Article 82.2, the third subparagraph of Article 83.1 and paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 86 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, relating to the area of freedom, security and justice,

but the agreement to any such decision, regulation or act shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

9º The State shall not adopt a decision taken by the European Council to establish a common defence pursuant to Article 42 of the Treaty on European Union where that common defence would include the State.

Referendum campaign[edit]

A Referendum Commission was established by Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley.[11] It was chaired by High Court judge Frank Clarke. Its role was to prepare one or more statements containing a general explanation of the subject matter of the proposal and of the text of the proposal in the amendment bill.[12]

Participants[edit]

Yes campaign poster – Dublin, October 2009
Organisation Notable personnel Stance
Cóir Richard Greene No
Fianna Fáil Brian Cowen, Micheál Martin Yes
Fine Gael Enda Kenny Yes
Generation Yes Andrew Byrne Yes
Green Party John Gormley Yes
Intel Ireland Jim O'Hara Yes
Ireland for Europe Pat Cox Yes
Labour Party Eamon Gilmore Yes
The Liberals Neil Nelligan Yes
Libertas Declan Ganley No
National Platform Anthony Coughlan No
Peace and Neutrality Alliance Roger Cole No
Socialist Workers Party Richard Boyd Barrett No
People's Movement Patricia McKenna No
Ryanair Michael O'Leary Yes
Sinn Féin Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald No
Socialist Party Joe Higgins No
EFD / UKIP Nigel Farage No
We Belong Olivia Buckley Yes
Women for Europe Michelle O'Donnell and Niamh Gallagher Yes
Workers' Party Mick Finnegan No

Opinion polls[edit]

Date of opinion poll Conductor Commissioned by Sample size For Against Undecided
27 September 2009[13] Quantum Research Sunday Independent 1,000 68% 17% 15%
26 September 2009[14] Red C Sunday Business Post 1,000 55% 27% 18%
25 September 2009[15] TNS/mrbi Irish Times 1,000 48% 33% 19%
18 September 2009[16] Millward Brown/Lansdowne ? 1,000 53% 26% 21%
12 September 2009[17] Quantum Research Sunday Independent 1,000 63% 15% 22%
12 September 2009[18] Red C Sunday Business Post 1,000 52% 25% 23%
4 September 2009[19] TNS/mrbi ? 1,000 46% 29% 25%
28 May 2009[20] TNS/mrbi ? 2,000 54% 28% 18%
13 May 2009[21] TNS/mrbi ? 2,000 52% 29% 19%
25 April 2009[22] Quantum Research ? 500 54% 24% 22%
28 January 2009[23] Red C Sunday Business Post 1,001 58% 28% 14%
23 January 2009[24] Millward Brown/Lansdowne ? 1,000 58% 29% 12%
20 January 2009[25] Quantum Research ? 500 55% 37% 8%

Voting[edit]

There were 3,078,132 voters on the electoral register. With the exception of some outlying islands that went to the polls two days ahead of the rest of the country, official voting took place on Friday, 2 October 2009 between 07:00 and 22:00. Counting began the following morning at 09:00.

Result[edit]

Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland Bill 2009[2]
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed Yes 1,214,268 67.13
No 594,606 32.87
Valid votes 1,808,874 99.60
Invalid or blank votes 7,224 0.40
Total votes 1,816,098 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 3,078,132 59.00
Result by constituency[26][27]
Constituency Electorate Turnout (%) Votes Proportion of votes ± Yes 2008
Yes No Yes No
Carlow–Kilkenny 104,387 58.0% 42,499 17,755 70.5% 29.5% +20.5%
Cavan–Monaghan 95,270 59.1% 34,740 21,301 62.0% 38.0% +16.8%
Clare 82,292 56.9% 33,707 12,898 72.3% 27.7% +20.5%
Cork East 84,411 57.5% 31,956 16,387 66.1% 33.9% +23.1%
Cork North-Central 65,348 59.6% 21,642 17,136 55.8% 44.2% +20.2%
Cork North-West 64,759 60.8% 27,249 11,942 69.5% 30.5% +23.4%
Cork South-Central 89,655 60.3% 36,040 17,874 66.8% 33.2% +20.2%
Cork South-West 58,657 60.6% 23,764 11,615 67.2% 32.8% +22.8%
Donegal North-East 56,935 51.4% 14,156 15,005 48.5% 51.5% +13.2%
Donegal South-West 60,340 52.3% 15,623 15,794 49.7% 50.3% +13.1%
Dublin Central 56,451 53.3% 18,545 11,396 61.9% 38.1% +18.1%
Dublin Mid-West 62,651 55.8% 21,435 13,424 61.5% 38.5% +21.9%
Dublin North 83,251 61.3% 36,971 13,895 72.7% 27.3% +22.1%
Dublin North-Central 50,946 65.6% 23,692 9,624 71.1% 28.9% +20.5%
Dublin North-East 52,499 63.4% 21,045 12,117 63.5% 36.5% +20.3%
Dublin North-West 49,813 57.6% 15,734 12,850 55.0% 45.0% +18.6%
Dublin South 98,225 59.5% 47,549 10,672 81.7% 18.3% +18.8%
Dublin South-Central 80,756 55.5% 25,854 18,742 58.0% 42.0% +19.0%
Dublin South-East 54,794 54.7% 23,478 6,365 78.7% 21.3% +17.0%
Dublin South-West 68,497 57.7% 23,192 16,178 58.9% 41.1% +24.0%
Dublin West 52,649 59.5% 21,429 9,852 68.5% 31.5% +20.6%
Dún Laoghaire 76,503 74.2% 45,917 10,651 81.2% 18.8% +17.7%
Galway East 80,320 56.1% 30,549 14,306 68.1% 31.9% +21.2%
Galway West 86,538 54.2% 31,000 15,732 66.3% 33.7% +20.2%
Kerry North 55,511 55.6% 19,543 11,193 63.6% 36.4% +23.2%
Kerry South 52,023 58.4% 20,092 10,170 66.4% 33.6% +23.8%
Kildare North 73,606 57.3% 32,012 10,002 76.2% 23.8% +21.6%
Kildare South 56,177 55.3% 21,568 9,373 69.7% 30.3% +21.6%
Laois–Offaly 107,303 59.6% 46,624 17,097 73.2% 26.8% +17.2%
Limerick East 73,734 61.0% 30,210 14,607 67.4% 32.6% +21.4%
Limerick West 58,206 58.1% 23,366 10,343 69.3% 30.7% +24.7%
Longford–Westmeath 88,390 53.4% 30,870 16,156 65.6% 34.4% +19.3%
Louth 84,360 58.8% 30,116 19,241 61.0% 39.0% +19.1%
Mayo 95,466 58.0% 34,056 21,132 61.7% 38.3% +23.4%
Meath East 68,869 56.1% 27,822 10,653 72.3% 27.7% +21.4%
Meath West 58,585 61.0% 23,103 12,504 64.9% 35.1% +20.4%
Roscommon–South Leitrim 59,871 65.0% 25,580 13,194 66.0% 34.0% +20.4%
Sligo–North Leitrim 56,286 58.9% 21,295 11,744 64.5% 35.5% +21.2%
Tipperary North 48,446 75.9% 25,768 10,846 70.4% 29.6% +20.6%
Tipperary South 61,439 54.3% 22,712 10,483 68.4% 31.6% +21.6%
Waterford 73,589 61.3% 30,744 14,116 68.5% 31.5% +22.8%
Wexford 103,412 58.8% 39,463 21,067 65.2% 34.8% +21.2%
Wicklow 86,812 67.9% 41,540 17,174 70.7% 29.3% +20.9%
Total 3,078,132 59.0% 1,214,268 594,606 67.1% 32.8% +20.5%

The '± Yes 2008' column shows the percentage point change in the Yes vote compared to the first Lisbon referendum which was rejected in a referendum in 2008.

Reaction[edit]

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said Ireland had taken "a decisive step" by passing the referendum.[28] Tánaiste Mary Coughlan said the No vote across her home county, Donegal, was apparent from around a fortnight previously because of "mixed messages".[28] Fine Gael's leader Enda Kenny described it as "a mature, reflective decision".[28] Eamon Gilmore, leader of the Labour Party, said it was both "sensible" and "necessary".[28] President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said the vote ensured it was "a great day" for both Ireland and Europe.[29] President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek stated that work would now get underway "to overcome the difficulties" that remained.[29]

Declan Ganley, Libertas leader, said the unexpectedly high Yes vote demonstrated "how scared people are" of the state of the economy.[30] This feeling was echoed by a certain proportion of voters, one of whose attitude was "I'm here because I have a vote and, basically, I've been told what to do with it".[31] The Socialist Party's MEP Joe Higgins praised the performance of the No campaign.[28] Sinn Féin's President Gerry Adams asked why the first referendum had been ignored.[28] Sinn Féin Vice-President Mary Lou McDonald criticised the "dishonourable and depressing" Yes campaign.[28] Richard Greene of Cóir promised the war against the Treaty would continue despite the second result,[28] saying Cóir was "extremely disappointed that the voice of the people was not heard the first time around".[32] Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, described the vote as "tarnished since this is a repeated referendum".[29] Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, said the process had been no different from "a corrupt election in Zimbabwe or Afghanistan".[29][33] Bruce Arnold, a columnist with the Irish Independent, said the damage done to the disenfranchised by the "tainted outcome" of the referendums would "not be easily fixed".[34]

Final formalities[edit]

Subsequent to the referendum, the following formalities were observed:[35]

6 October
The Provisional Referendum Certificate with the full result of the referendum was published in Iris Oifigiúil.[36]
8 October
[37] The Dáil passed a motion approving the terms of the Treaty under Article 29.5.2° of the Constitution
13 October
No petition to the Provisional Referendum Certificate having been lodged with the High Court, the Certificate became final.
15 October
President McAleese signed the amendment act into law
16 October
President McAleese signed the instrument of ratification of the Treaty
23 October
Dick Roche, Minister of State, deposited the instrument of ratification with the Italian government.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "67% vote Yes to Lisbon Treaty". RTÉ News. 3 October 2009. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Results received at the Central Count Centre for the Referendum on Treaty of Lisbon 2009". 3 October 2009. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  3. ^ "Irish Ayes on Lisbon Treaty Have Europe Smiling". TIME. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009. 
  4. ^ "Lisbon II referendum set for 2 October". RTÉ News. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "Irish treaty vote set for October". BBC News. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "Parliamentary Debates, 8 October 2009". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 12 November 2009. 
  7. ^ "McAleese signs bill ratifying Lisbon Treaty". Irish Independent. 16 October 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  8. ^ Raymond Crotty v An Taoiseach and Others [1987] IESC 4 (9 April 1987)
  9. ^ "12 June pencilled in as date for Lisbon Treaty vote". BreakingNews.ie. 2 April 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 
  10. ^ "Results received at the Central Count Centre for the Referendum on The Lisbon Treaty". Referendum Returning Officer, referendum.ie. 13 June 2008. Archived from the original on 19 June 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 
  11. ^ "S.I. No. 257/2009 - Referendum Commission (Establishment) Order 2009". Irish Statute Book. 10 July 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2018. 
  12. ^ "Referendum Act, 2001". Irish Statute Book. 22 December 2001. Retrieved 24 May 2018. 
  13. ^ Quinlan, Ronald (27 September 2009). "Yes lead grows on the final lap". Irish Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2009. 
  14. ^ Halpin, Padraic (26 September 2009). "Irish support for Lisbon Treaty at 55 percent – poll". Reuters UK. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  15. ^ "Support for Lisbon steady but No side makes ground". Irish Times. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2009. 
  16. ^ "Poll shows rise in Lisbon Treaty support". RTÉ News. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2009. 
  17. ^ Kealy, Willie (13 September 2009). "Poll backs cuts, not tax increases". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 13 September 2009. 
  18. ^ "Strong Irish support for EU's Lisbon treaty: poll". Eubusiness.com. 12 September 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2009. 
  19. ^ "Boost for No camp in latest Lisbon poll". RTÉ News. 4 September 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  20. ^ "Support for EU treaty rising in ailing Ireland: poll". Eubusiness.com. 31 May 2009. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  21. ^ "Lisbon Treaty Could Pass in New Irish Vote". Angus Reid Global Monitor. 25 May 2009. Archived from the original on 27 May 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  22. ^ "Lisbon Treaty Would Pass in Ireland". Angus Reid Global Monitor. 25 April 2009. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  23. ^ "Ireland will vote two-to-one for EU treaty: poll". Eubusiness.com. 1 February 2009. Archived from the original on 23 March 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  24. ^ "Crisis sees Ireland warm to Lisbon treaty". France 24. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  25. ^ "Most Irish Now Favour Lisbon Treaty". Angus Reid global monitor. 20 January 2009. [permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Referendum Results 1937–2015" (PDF). Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. 23 August 2016. p. 79. Retrieved 9 May 2018. 
  27. ^ "Lisbon 2009 results". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 November 2009. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h "Taoiseach welcomes 'decisive step'". RTÉ News. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  29. ^ a b c d "Irish vote good for Europe – Barroso". RTÉ News. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  30. ^ "Ganley concedes Lisbon Treaty has passed". Irish Examiner. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  31. ^ Olga Craig (3 October 2009). "Lisbon Treaty referendum: Irish voters look to EU after death of Celtic Tiger". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  32. ^ Padraic Halpin (3 October 2009). "From students to CEOs, Irish relief at "Yes" vote". Reuters. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  33. ^ "UKIP slams 'corrupt' Lisbon vote". The Irish Times. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  34. ^ "The damage done by Lisbon re-run will not be easily fixed". Irish Independent. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  35. ^ "Written Answers – International Agreements". Dáil debates. Dublin: Oireachtas. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  36. ^ Coughlan, Maurice (6 October 2009). "Constitutional Referendum" (PDF). Iris Oifigiúil (in English and Irish). Dublin (80): 1307–9. 
  37. ^ "Treaty of Lisbon: Motion". Dáil debates. Oireachtas. 8 October 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 

External links[edit]

Official websites
Media overviews