Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland

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Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
To permit the state to ratify the Treaty of Amsterdam
LocationRepublic of Ireland Ireland
Date22 May 1998 (1998-05-22)
Results
Votes %
Yes 932,632 61.74%
No 578,070 38.26%
Valid votes 1,510,702 97.85%
Invalid or blank votes 33,228 2.15%
Total votes 1,543,930 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 2,747,088 56.2%

The Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution Act 1998 (previously bill no. 1 of 1998) is an amendment of the Constitution of Ireland which permitted the state to ratify the Treaty of Amsterdam. It was approved by referendum on 22 May 1998 and signed into law on the 3 June of the same year. The referendum was held on the same day as the referendum on Nineteenth Amendment, which related to approval of the Good Friday Agreement.

Background[edit]

The Amsterdam Treaty was signed on 2 October 1997 by the member states of the European Union, amending provisions of the Maastricht Treaty (which had been approved by the Eleventh Amendment in 1992) and the Rome Treaty (which had been approved by the Third Amendment in 1972). Following the Supreme Court decision of Crotty v. An Taoiseach (1987), a constitutional amendment was required before the state could ratify the Treaty. The Treaty of Amsterdam contained a number of optional protocols that member-states could activate at a later time after its adoption. The Eighteenth Amendment permitted the Republic to choose to exercise these options, provided it had the support of the Oireachtas (parliament).

Changes to the text[edit]

The following subsections were inserted after Article 29.4.4º:

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 5º 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.

The existing subsections 5º and 6º of Article 29.4 were renumbered as subsections 7º and 8º respectively.

Oireachtas debates[edit]

The Eighteenth Amendment was proposed by Minister for Foreign Affairs David Andrews on behalf of the Fianna FáilProgressive Democrats coalition government led by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.[1] It was also supported by Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Democratic Left, while it was opposed by the Green Party, Sinn Féin and the Socialist Party. It passed final stages in the Dáil on 26 March 1998.[2] It passed final stages in the Seanad on and proceeded to a referendum on 22 May 1998.[3]

Campaign[edit]

A Referendum Commission was established by Minister for the Environment and Local Government Noel Dempsey.[4]This was the first referendum at which a Referendum Commission was established. It was chaired by former Chief Justice Thomas Finlay. At the time, its role included setting out the arguments for and against the proposal.[5]

Result[edit]

Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland referendum[6]
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed Yes 932,632 61.74
No 578,070 38.26
Valid votes 1,510,702 97.85
Invalid or blank votes 33,228 2.15
Total votes 1,543,930 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 2,747,088 56.20
Results by constituency[6]
Constituency Electorate Turnout (%) Votes Proportion of votes
Yes No Yes No
Carlow–Kilkenny 86,584 56.2% 30,122 17,181 63.7% 36.3%
Cavan–Monaghan 83,141 60.8% 32,044 17,115 65.2% 34.8%
Clare 71,060 51.5% 22,939 12,709 64.4% 35.6%
Cork East 63,881 55.3% 19,780 14,725 57.4% 42.6%
Cork North-Central 72,802 53.3% 20,715 17,326 54.5% 45.5%
Cork North-West 47,402 59.1% 15,682 11,472 57.8% 42.2%
Cork South-Central 85,752 58.2% 28,460 20,606 58.1% 41.9%
Cork South-West 47,988 57.5% 15,632 11,085 58.6% 41.4%
Donegal North-East 52,188 55.9% 17,843 10,718 62.5% 37.5%
Donegal South-West 51,097 54.6% 16,492 10,697 60.7% 39.3%
Dublin Central 63,483 52.8% 18,744 14,186 57.0% 43.0%
Dublin North 65,312 60.6% 24,912 14,159 63.8% 36.2%
Dublin North-Central 65,737 65.1% 24,832 17,239 59.1% 40.9%
Dublin North-East 59,398 61.5% 21,523 14,539 59.7% 40.3%
Dublin North-West 59,332 59.2% 19,905 14,705 57.6% 42.4%
Dublin South 90,536 63.4% 36,281 20,227 64.3% 35.7%
Dublin South-Central 66,994 59.4% 22,349 16,782 57.2% 42.8%
Dublin South-East 62,663 59.5% 22,298 14,376 60.9% 39.1%
Dublin South-West 76,748 52.3% 22,604 16,959 57.2% 42.8%
Dublin West 68,773 56.1% 22,495 15,571 59.1% 40.9%
Dún Laoghaire 86,311 62.2% 34,530 18,268 65.5% 34.5%
Galway East 61,703 52.8% 21,590 10,070 68.2% 31.8%
Galway West 79,180 48.9% 23,470 14,285 62.2% 37.8%
Kerry North 51,641 50.7% 14,126 11,394 55.4% 44.6%
Kerry South 47,677 53.3% 14,410 10,232 58.5% 41.5%
Kildare North 54,104 54.4% 18,479 10,485 63.8% 36.2%
Kildare South 47,904 51.3% 15,644 8,442 65.0% 35.0%
Laois–Offaly 84,530 55.1% 27,839 17,690 61.2% 38.8%
Limerick East 77,884 54.3% 26,241 15,113 63.5% 36.5%
Limerick West 48,454 52.5% 15,287 9,348 62.1% 37.9%
Longford–Roscommon 63,968 56.1% 23,255 11,600 66.8% 33.2%
Louth 72,116 60.5% 28,137 14,724 65.7% 34.3%
Mayo 86,785 52.1% 28,621 15,284 65.2% 34.8%
Meath 92,053 54.1% 31,660 17,189 64.9% 35.1%
Sligo–Leitrim 64,538 57.0% 23,487 12,290 65.7% 34.3%
Tipperary North 53,368 57.4% 18,137 11,649 60.9% 39.1%
Tipperary South 51,439 57.9% 18,240 10,764 62.9% 37.1%
Waterford 69,793 54.3% 23,002 14,005 62.2% 37.8%
Westmeath 48,289 54.7% 16,310 9,385 63.5% 36.5%
Wexford 84,228 52.6% 27,860 15,326 64.6% 35.4%
Wicklow 80,252 56.9% 26,655 18,150 59.5% 40.5%
Total 2,747,088 56.2% 932,632 578,070 61.7% 38.3%

Aftermath[edit]

The European Communities (Amendment) Act 1998 amended the European Communities Act 1972 to provide a statutory basis for decisions under the Amsterdam Treaty. The Treaty took effect across the European Union on 1 May 1999.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1998: Second Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. 3 March 1998. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1998: Report and Final Stages". Houses of the Oireachtas. 26 March 1998. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1998: Committee and Remaining Stages". Houses of the Oireachtas. 1 April 1998. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  4. ^ "S.I. No. 53/1998 - Referendum Act, 1998. Referendum Commission (Establishment) Order, 1998". Irish Statute Book. 2 March 1998. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Referendum Act, 1998". Irish Statute Book. 26 February 1998. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Referendum Results 1937–2015" (PDF). Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. 23 August 2016. p. 58. Retrieved 21 May 2018.

External links[edit]