Twenty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland

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Twenty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
To permit the state to ratify the Treaty of Nice
LocationRepublic of Ireland Ireland
Date19 October 2002 (2002-10-19)
Results
Votes %
Yes 906,317 62.89%
No 534,887 37.11%
Valid votes 1,441,204 99.63%
Invalid or blank votes 5,384 0.37%
Total votes 1,446,588 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 2,923,918 49.47%

The Twenty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Act 2002 (previously bill no. 32 of 2003) is an amendment of the Constitution of Ireland which permitted the state to ratify the Treaty of Nice. It was approved by referendum on 19 October 2002 (sometimes known as the second Nice referendum) and signed into law on 7 November of the same year. The amendment followed a previous failed attempt to approve the Nice Treaty which was rejected in the first Nice referendum held in 2001.

Background[edit]

The Treaty of Nice was signed by the member states of the European Union in February 2001, amending the Treaties of the European Union. Under the decision of the Supreme Court in Crotty v. An Taoiseach (1987), an amendment to the Constitution was required before it could be ratified by Ireland. In June 2001, an amendment to the Constitution of to allow the ratification of the Nice Treaty was rejected in a referendum. One of the reasons the No side had called for its rejection was that it would affect Irish neutrality. When the Nice Treaty was put to a second vote, the wording of the constitutional amendment excluded participation in common defence. The Treaty of Nice contained a number of optional discretionary provisions that member-states could activate at a later time after its adoption. The Government of Ireland and the European Council jointly made the Seville Declarations on the Treaty of Nice in June 2002 to recommit themselves to shared interests ahead of the second vote. The Twenty-sixth Amendment permitted the Republic to choose to exercise these options, provided its decision was approved by the Oireachtas.

Changes to the text[edit]

Insertion of the following subsections in Article 29.4:

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 7º 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.

Existing subsections 7º and 8º of Article 29.4 renumbered as 10º and 11º respectively.

Oireachtas debate[edit]

The Twenty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill was proposed in Dáil Éireann by Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen on 4 September 2002 on behalf of the Fianna FáilProgressive Democrats coalition government led by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.[1] It passed final stages in the Dáil on 11 September, where it also had the support of Fine Gael and the Labour Party, and was opposed by Sinn Féin, the Green Party and the Socialist Party and a number of Independent TDs.[2] It passed final stages in Seanad Éireann on 13 September and proceeded to a referendum on 19 October.[3]

Campaign[edit]

A Referendum Commission was established by Minister for the Environment and Local Government Noel Dempsey.[4] It was chaired by former Chief Justice Thomas Finlay. 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.[5]

Result[edit]

Twenty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland referendum[6]
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed Yes 906,317 62.89
No 534,887 37.11
Valid votes 1,441,204 99.63
Invalid or blank votes 5,384 0.37
Total votes 1,446,588 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 2,923,918 49.47
Result by constituency[6]
Constituency Electorate Turnout (%) Votes Proportion of votes ± Yes 2001
Yes No Yes No
Carlow–Kilkenny 94,668 49.9% 31,402 15,546 66.9% 33.1% +19.1%
Cavan–Monaghan 86,865 50.5% 27,262 16,370 62.5% 37.5% +14.4%
Clare 77,519 47.1% 24,839 11,484 68.4% 31.6% +19.6%
Cork East 71,175 50.0% 21,960 13,504 62.0% 38.0% +18.4%
Cork North-Central 76,671 47.0% 19,751 16,146 55.1% 44.9% +14.2%
Cork North-West 52,513 55.3% 18,552 10,360 64.2% 35.8% +19.0%
Cork South-Central 88,246 52.0% 28,506 17,282 62.3% 37.7% +16.0%
Cork South-West 51,531 52.6% 16,694 10,243 62.0% 38.0% +14.6%
Donegal North-East 56,794 39.3% 11,647 10,555 52.5% 47.5% +12.6%
Donegal South-West 53,443 41.8% 12,227 10,022 55.0% 45.0% +15.3%
Dublin Central 60,152 48.0% 16,460 12,305 57.3% 42.7% +17.3%
Dublin Mid-West 54,337 44.9% 14,716 9,657 60.4% 39.6%
Dublin North 70,799 52.8% 24,839 12,532 66.5% 33.5% +18.5%
Dublin North-Central 64,599 56.6% 22,763 13,676 62.5% 37.5% +19.5%
Dublin North-East 51,198 51.6% 15,953 10,414 60.6% 39.4% +17.0%
Dublin North-West 47,043 47.2% 11,961 10,176 54.1% 45.9% +12.2%
Dublin South 90,876 56.4% 37,096 14,133 72.5% 27.5% +20.6%
Dublin South-Central 84,372 47.0% 21,454 18,048 54.4% 45.6% +10.2%
Dublin South-East 56,839 51.5% 19,720 9,407 67.8% 32.2% +18.5%
Dublin South-West 67,215 46.6% 17,820 13,516 56.9% 43.1% +18.4%
Dublin West 51,651 49.7% 15,935 9,724 62.2% 37.8% +18.1%
Dún Laoghaire 88,490 56.6% 36,695 13,375 73.3% 26.7% +19.7%
Galway East 72,283 47.5% 22,202 11,986 65.0% 35.0% +17.6%
Galway West 79,460 45.2% 21,649 14,146 60.5% 39.5% +18.5%
Kerry North 54,137 46.3% 13,887 11,097 55.6% 44.4% +16.1%
Kerry South 49,527 50.1% 14,958 9,766 60.5% 39.5% +15.5%
Kildare North 57,540 50.5% 19,868 9,080 68.7% 31.3% +19.3%
Kildare South 56,147 46.4% 17,123 8,808 66.1% 33.9% +18.3%
Laois–Offaly 93,648 49.2% 30,120 15,742 65.7% 34.3% +17.0%
Limerick East 79,005 49.3% 23,876 14,921 61.6% 38.4% +15.0%
Limerick West 52,636 50.2% 16,581 9,701 63.1% 36.9% +13.7%
Longford–Roscommon 68,485 50.9% 21549 13,153 62.1% 37.9% +14.7%
Louth 80,663 47.7% 22,739 15,513 59.5% 40.5% +12.8%
Mayo 91,805 46.1% 24,647 17,510 58.5% 41.5% +14.2%
Meath 107,309 46.7% 32,712 17,374 65.4% 34.6% +17.3%
Sligo–Leitrim 67,759 49.3% 20,981 12,214 63.3% 36.7% +18.4%
Tipperary North 57,211 51.3% 19,705 9,484 67.6% 32.4% +18.1%
Tipperary South 54,272 51.5% 18,167 9,602 65.5% 34.5% +16.9%
Waterford 72,772 50.5% 23,291 13,297 63.7% 36.3% +15.4%
Westmeath 52,897 48.4% 16,235 9,249 63.8% 36.2% +18.7%
Wexford 92,603 48.8% 28,065 16,937 62.4% 37.6% +13.6%
Wicklow 86,763 53.9% 29,710 16,832 63.9% 36.1% +17.6%
Total 2,923,918 49.5% 906,317 534,887 62.9% 37.1% +16.8%

The '± Yes 2001' column shows the percentage point change in the Yes vote compared to the first Nice referendum which was rejected in a referendum in 2001.

Note on numbering[edit]

The Twenty-sixth Amendment follows directly after the Twenty-third Amendment in the list of successfully passed Amendments. This is because the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution Bills were both rejected in referendums, and the government decided not to reuse the numbers. Numbers have been re-used before, for example, there were rejected proposals titled the Third Amendment in 1959 and in 1968, before the Third Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland was passed in 1972.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Twenty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2002: Second Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. 4 September 2002. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Twenty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2002: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages". Houses of the Oireachtas. 11 September 2002. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Twenty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2002: Committee and Remaining Stages". Houses of the Oireachtas. 13 September 2002. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  4. ^ "S.I. No. 346/2002 - Referendum Act, 1998 Referendum Commission (Establishment) (No. 2) Order, 2002". Irish Statute Book. 9 July 2002. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Referendum Act, 2001". Irish Statute Book. 22 December 2001. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Referendum Results 1937–2015" (PDF). Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. 23 August 2016. p. 72. Retrieved 25 May 2018.

External links[edit]