Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
|Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland|
|To ensure that certain adoption orders would not be found to be unconstitutional|
|Date||5 July 1979|
The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution (Adoption) Act 1979 is an amendment to the Constitution of Ireland ensured that certain adoption orders would not be found to be unconstitutional because they had not been made by a court. It was approved by referendum on 5 July 1979 and signed into law on 3 August 1979.
In 1977 it came to light that for technical reasons child adoption orders made by An Bord Uchtála (the Adoption Board) might be found to be unconstitutional because they were not made by a court or judge. An amendment was therefore required to put the validity of these orders beyond question.
Changes to the text
The amendment renumbered Article 37 as Article 37.1 and inserted the following section as Article 37.2:
2. No adoption of a person taking effect or expressed to take effect at any time after the coming into operation of this Constitution under laws enacted by the Oireachtas and being an adoption pursuant to an order made or an authorisation given by any person or body of persons designated by those laws to exercise such functions and powers was or shall be invalid by reason only of the fact that such persons or body of persons was not a judge or a court appointed or established as such under this Constitution.
The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution (Adoption) Bill 1978 was introduced by Fianna Fáil Minister for Justice Gerry Collins on 13 December 1978. It was supported by opposition parties Fine Gael and the Labour Party and it passed final stages in the Dáil on 28 February 1979. In the Seanad, Labour senators Justin Keating and Mary Robinson and Fine Gael senator Alexis FitzGerald proposed an amendment to include the words "notwithstanding the status of such person", which would allow for the adoption of a child of a marital family. This was not approved, and the Bill passed the Seanad without amendment on 5 April 1979. It was put to a referendum on 5 July, on the same day as the similarly uncontroversial Seventh Amendment which dealt with university constituencies for the election of the Seanad.
The Sixth Amendment was approved almost unanimously with 601,694 (99.0%) votes in favour and 6,265 (1.0%) against. This is the highest support there has been in any referendum for a proposal to amend the Constitution. It was also the lowest turnout for any referendum.
|Invalid or blank votes||15,517||2.49|
|Registered voters and turnout||2,179,466||28.61|
|Constituency||Electorate||Turnout (%)||Votes||Proportion of votes|
Note: For this referendum and the Seventh Amendment held on the same day, the constituencies used were each county and county borough (city), which were deemed under section 2 of the Referendum (Amendment) Act 1979 to be constituencies for the purpose of the poll. Usually in Irish referendums the general election constituencies are used.
The Thirty-first Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, which took effect in 2015, added a new Article 42A on Children. It included a section which allowed for the adoption of any child, allowing for the first time the adoption of children of a marital family, as had been proposed in the amendment rejected in the Seanad in 1979. The new Article 42A.3 provided,
Provision shall be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child.
- Politics of the Republic of Ireland
- History of the Republic of Ireland
- Constitutional amendment
- Irish constitutional referendums, 1979
- Amendments to the Constitution of Ireland
- "Sixth Amendment of the Constitution (Adoption) Bill, 1978: First Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. 13 December 1978. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "Sixth Amendment of the Constitution (Adoption) Bill, 1978: Committee and Final Stages". Houses of the Oireachtas. 28 February 1979. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "Sixth Amendment of the Constitution (Adoption) Bill, 1978: Report and Final Stages". Houses of the Oireachtas. 5 April 1979. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "Referendum Results 1937–2015" (PDF). Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. 23 August 2016. p. 33. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "Referendum Results 1937–2015" (PDF). Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. 23 August 2016. p. 32. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- "Referendum (Amendment) Act, 1979". Irish Statute Book. 1 June 1979. Retrieved 10 May 2018.