Government Approves Reform Treaty Referendum Bill. Bill Provides Constitutional Prohibition on Irish Participation in an EU Common Defence. “Enhanced Role for Oireachtas in EU Law Making."
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., today welcomed the Cabinet’s approval of the Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill. The Bill, which will be published in the coming days, provides for the continuation of the Constitutional prohibition on Irish participation in an EU common defence and for an enhanced role for the Houses of the Oireachtas in EU law-making.
“This Amendment Bill is an important step in the process that will see the Irish people passing judgment on the Reform Treaty and on Ireland’s role in the EU” the Minister said.
He continued: “The proposed legislation reflects principles which the Irish people hold dear and which the Government views as vital for Ireland.
First, the Bill maintains the Constitutional prohibition on Irish participation in an EU common defence. This prohibition will remain, in plain black and white, for all to see. Those who may continue to argue that the Treaty will somehow undermine Irish neutrality are badly mistaken. The Bill makes it completely clear that we cannot join an EU common defence.
Second, the Bill provides for the Houses of the Oireachtas to play their full role in EU business. By ratifying the Reform Treaty, we will mandate the Houses of the Oireachtas, like other national parliaments, to play an enhanced role in EU law-making. The Bill will also go beyond the requirements of the Treaty by providing for the Houses of the Oireachtas to give prior approval to Irish involvement in certain areas of EU activity.
This constitutional amendment will allow us to go forward on the basis of equality and partnership with our fellow members of the European Union. I will be working over the coming weeks to ensure that the common sense of the Reform Treaty and of Ireland’s full engagement in the EU become common knowledge to the Irish people. The Reform Treaty represents a good deal for Ireland and it is important from a national point of view that we proceed with its ratification.”
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