Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill 1958

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill 1958
To alter the Dáil electoral system from single transferable vote to first-past-the-post
LocationRepublic of Ireland Ireland
Date17 June 1959 (1959-06-17)
Results
Votes %
Yes 453,322 48.21%
No 486,989 51.79%
Valid votes 940,311 96.00%
Invalid or blank votes 39,220 4.00%
Total votes 979,531 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 1,678,450 58.36%

The Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill 1958 was a proposal to amend the Constitution of Ireland to alter the electoral system from proportional representation under the single transferable vote (PR-STV) to first-past-the-post (FPTP). The proposal was rejected in a referendum held on 17 June 1959. This was the same date as the presidential election in which Taoiseach Éamon de Valera was elected as president.

Proposed change[edit]

The subject matter of the referendum was described as follows:

The Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill 1958 –
At present, members of Dáil Éireann are elected on a system of proportional representation for constituencies returning at least three members, each voter having a single transferable vote. It is proposed in the Bill to abolish the system of proportional representation and to adopt, instead, a system of single-member constituencies, each voter having a single non-transferable vote. It is also proposed in the Bill to set up a Commission for the determination and revision of the constituencies, instead of having this done by the Oireachtas, as at present.

Background[edit]

Proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote had been used in Irish elections since the 1920 local elections. Under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, it was prescribed for elections to both the Southern Ireland House of Commons and the Northern Ireland House of Commons (Northern Ireland was to revert to FPTP for the 1929 election). On independence in 1922, it was prescribed under the Constitution of the Irish Free State for elections to Dáil Éireann. Similarly, under the Constitution of Ireland adopted in 1937, Article 16.2.5º prescribed PR-STV, while 16.2.6º specified that the number of members in a constituency would not be less than three.

The amendment proposed to alter the electoral system for elections to Dáil Éireann to first-past-the-post (FPTP) under single-seat constituencies. It also proposed to establish an independent commission for the drawing of constituency boundaries on a constitutional basis. It was introduced by the Fianna Fáil government of Éamon de Valera but was opposed by Fine Gael, the main opposition party, and by the Labour Party.

Oireachtas debate[edit]

The amendment was proposed by Taoiseach Éamon de Valera on 12 November 1958.[1] It was passed by the Dáil on 28 January 1959 by 74 votes to 55.[2] On 19 March 1959, it was rejected in the Seanad by 29 votes to 28.[3] Under Article 23.1, the Dáil may vote to deem a bill to have been passed by the Seanad by a resolution passed after a period of 90 days from being sent by the Dáil to the Seanad. On 13 May 1959, the Dáil passed such a resolution by 75 votes to 56, and the bill proceeded to a referendum.[4]

Result[edit]

Third Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland Bill 1958[5]
Choice Votes %
Referendum failed No 486,989 51.79
Yes 453,322 48.21
Valid votes 940,311 96.00
Invalid or blank votes 39,220 4.00
Total votes 979,531 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 1,678,450 58.36
Results by constituency[5]
Constituency Electorate Turnout (%) Votes Proportion of votes
Yes No Yes No
Carlow–Kilkenny 56,117 62.3% 16,470 16,658 49.7% 50.3%
Cavan 36,762 67.7% 11,975 11,677 50.6% 49.4%
Clare 47,227 63.0% 16,390 12,295 57.2% 42.8%
Cork Borough 62,647 56.6% 15,025 19,523 43.5% 56.5%
Cork East 35,193 61.8% 10,510 10,425 50.2% 49.8%
Cork North 33,805 70.6% 10,898 11,986 47.6% 52.4%
Cork South 35,238 65.2% 9,898 11,945 45.3% 54.7%
Cork West 32,290 66.1% 8,677 11,573 42.9% 57.1%
Donegal East 40,863 55.8% 13,919 8,026 63.4% 36.6%
Donegal West 30,850 50.2% 8,682 6,207 58.3% 41.7%
Dublin County 74,084 50.9% 15,666 20,852 42.9% 57.1%
Dublin North-East 62,241 55.5% 13,091 20,738 38.7% 61.3%
Dublin North-Central 24,940 52.5% 4,862 7,737 38.6% 61.4%
Dublin North-West 31,441 54.1% 6,116 10,401 37.0% 63.0%
Dublin South-Central 50,045 48.6% 9,403 14,068 40.1% 59.9%
Dublin South-East 35,845 58.2% 7,245 13,109 35.6% 64.4%
Dublin South-West 61,631 52.6% 12,271 19,327 38.8% 61.2%
Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown 61,716 53.2% 11,859 20,043 37.2% 62.8%
Galway North 28,588 51.5% 8,150 5,939 57.8% 42.2%
Galway South 28,318 62.8% 10,198 6,839 59.9% 40.1%
Galway West 29,882 49.8% 8,840 5,493 61.7% 38.3%
Kerry North 43,718 50.4% 10,910 10,016 52.1% 47.9%
Kerry South 30,631 43.2% 6,330 6,213 50.5% 49.5%
Kildare 36,552 61.7% 9,488 12,186 43.8% 56.2%
Laois–Offaly 56,583 61.0% 17,155 15,851 52.0% 48.0%
Limerick East 45,980 64.0% 14,328 13,596 51.3% 48.7%
Limerick West 31,999 69.2% 11,499 9,442 54.9% 45.1%
Longford–Westmeath 49,243 69.7% 15,205 17,796 46.1% 53.9%
Louth 40,209 62.3% 11,801 12,429 48.7% 51.3%
Mayo North 32,358 50.0% 8,541 6,710 56.0% 44.0%
Mayo South 46,460 51.3% 11,646 11,164 51.1% 48.9%
Meath 37,686 63.3% 11,912 11,163 51.6% 48.4%
Monaghan 29,370 64.1% 9,498 8,205 53.7% 46.3%
Roscommon 38,658 59.7% 10,322 11,800 46.7% 53.3%
Sligo–Leitrim 57,271 54.6% 14,112 15,224 48.1% 51.9%
Tipperary North 32,467 63.6% 9,766 9,633 50.3% 49.7%
Tipperary South 41,196 70.5% 13,562 14,406 48.5% 51.5%
Waterford 42,777 60.2% 13,289 11,482 53.7% 46.3%
Wexford 50,150 62.7% 14,852 15,233 49.4% 50.6%
Wicklow 35,419 54.1% 8,961 9,579 48.3% 51.7%
Total 1,678,450 58.4% 453,322 486,989 48.2% 51.8%

Aftermath[edit]

A second attempt by Fianna Fáil to abolish PR was rejected by voters in the 1968 referendum on the electoral system.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1958—First Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1958—Fifth Stage (Resumed)". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1958—Report Stage (Resumed) and Fifth Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1958—Motion (resumed)". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Referendum Results 1937–2015" (PDF). Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. p. 21. Retrieved 12 April 2018.

External links[edit]