Ratification of European Constitution: Publication of 28th Amendment of the Constitution Bill
The Government has today published the 28th Amendment of the Constitution Bill. If approved by the people in a referendum, this would make the changes to the Irish Constitution necessary to allow the State to ratify the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (the European Constitution).
Announcing the publication, Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs said: “The proposed amendment would essentially maintain the broad approach of previous amendments to the Irish Constitution relating to previous EU Treaties. It would allow the State to ratify the European Constitution and would ensure the compatibility of EU law and Irish law. In a small number of cases it would require prior Oireachtas approval of proposed actions or decisions by the State under the European Constitution. It would also carry forward the prohibition on Irish participation in a common defence inserted by the second referendum on the Nice Treaty. In line with the simplifying spirit of the European Constitution itself, redundant references to previous Treaties which will be repealed on its entry into force will also be removed”.
The Minister said: “The wording has been the subject of consultations with Fine Gael and the Labour Party. These have been very useful, and the Government looks forward to working with them to secure the ratification of the European Constitution. We hope that other parties will also decide to support it.”
“The Government is confident that the Irish people will endorse the European Constitution. Membership of the European Union continues to be vital to our national development. The European Constitution, which will provide a simpler and more durable basic legal text for the Union, will help make it more democratic, more open, and more effective. It will enhance the protection of citizens' fundamental rights. It will preserve the balances between the Member States and between the institutions which have served Ireland so well”.
The Minister for European Affairs, Noel Treacy, T.D. said: “We in Government look forward to a full and honest debate. Despite the good work which has been done already, in particular by the National Forum on Europe, we are conscious of the need to ensure that citizens are well informed about the European Constitution and what it means for Ireland. Publication of the Bill now makes it possible to move to establish the Referendum Commission, which has the dual function of informing the public and encouraging voter turnout. The Government will ensure that the Commission has the time and resources it needs. In addition, the Government will soon be publishing a full White Paper, and will in due course be circulating a short information guide to all households.”
26 May 2005