Does this need to be in the Irish Constitution?

Copies of the constitution are published by th...
Image via Wikipedia

As I mentioned earlier today, the Twenty Eight Amendent to the Constitution Bill 2009 was published today. IrishElection has the full text of the amendment but I have a query to the proposed new Article 29.4.4 of Bunreacht na hEireann.

It reads as follows:

Ireland affirms its commitment to the European Union within  which the member states of that Union work together to promote peace, shared values and the well-being of their peoples.

Really does it have a point? It refers to no treaty or protocol. It’s something that should be in a preamble in my mind.

I seriously doubt those words will have any effect what so ever considering the preceding subsection states that we are members of the European Union.

Will it swing any voters? I doubt. So why include it? In a document such as our Constitution?

Anyone care to enlighten me?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Some Contributions from the Fifth Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill

Yesterday, the Dáil had its fifth day of debate on the Second reading of the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008. Some selected contributions.

Deputy Jimmy Deenihan (Fine Gael):

The Lisbon treaty is the outcome of an extensive and open process that has gone on since December 2001. The process included a convention on the future of Europe that included not only national governments from member states but also representatives from national parliaments. There was real participation in this process by the European Parliament and the social partners. The convention was held in public and was accessible to the media and the public and it produced the proposals for the constitutional treaty.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Deputy Mary Coughlan (Fianna Fail):

Looking to the future, in the period 2007-13, Ireland can expect to receive approximately €12 billion from the CAP, with €2.3 billion coming from the European agricultural fund for rural development, EAFRD, to fund REPS, ERS, farm investment programmes, installation aid schemes and Leader programmes. An estimated €10 billion will come from the European agricultural guarantee fund and will be used to fund the single payment scheme and market support measures, export refunds, intervention etc.This is the background against which we need to look at the Lisbon treaty. This treaty provides for Ireland’s voice to continue to be heard in the EU in an effective and efficient manner. A positive vote in the referendum on the treaty will send a clear signal that Ireland is determined to maintain its place at the centre of EU decision making. I have been asked on a number of occasions to state what practical differences will arise for agriculture with the adoption of the reform treaty. In practical terms, the reform treaty will not alter the arrangements that currently apply in the agriculture and fisheries sectors to any great extent. The reform treaty introduces the principle of qualified majority voting to certain new areas but the principle has been enshrined in the agriculture and fisheries sectors for some considerable time. While there will be some alterations to the thresholds for reaching a qualified majority under the new arrangements, these alterations will not have significant implications for decision-making. The reality is that most decisions on agriculture and fisheries are arrived at by consensus. It is highly unusual for matters to come to a vote on agriculture and fisheries issues and when they do, close voting margins are unusual.

Deputy Liz McManus (Labour):

I have been involved in a number of referendums, some of which have been extremely contentious, and I welcome the peace that has been achieved, although we must debate the issues in an open fashion and deal with questions and concerns.

This seems a simple matter at heart, even though it is a long, complicated treaty. It is essentially about ensuring we have a framework for 27 countries. At present we are operating under rules that apply to 15 country membership. With the considerable growth in the EU we must ensure it can operate as efficiently as possible. We are conscious that an element of bureaucracy surrounds the EU. To an extent this is inevitable but it must be streamlined. More importantly, the EU must be democratised further than has been the practice in the past.

One of my concerns is about meetings of the Council of Ministers, which have always been held in private. The fact that co-decision is provided for between the Parliament and the Council is an important step forward. The greater openness in respect of coverage of meetings is a step forward although there are always means to circumvent this when difficult decisions must be made. Human ingenuity will ensure this pertains into the future.

The European Union often seems to be a distant body which does things that create difficulties, such as straightening bananas and so on, that are at a great remove from people’s lives. However, one should look back and consider the longer term. The European Union has been an enormously benign influence in respect of inequality and at times has been a persuader in ensuring that we dealt with such issues. As someone who has been involved in the women’s movement for far too long, I recall times when we depended completely on the European Union to protect and promote our rights. When we were obliged to fight tooth and nail against reactionary Government policies that excluded, denied and neglected women, we were able to reach beyond the national Government and obtain support from the European Union in a manner that was transformative for our lives and for women of my generation. This was not limited to women as it also applied to workers’ rights and to Northern Ireland.

Deputy Rory O’Hanlon (Fianna Fail):

Why should we ratify the Lisbon treaty? First, the Lisbon treaty contains little when compared to, for example, the previous treaties such as the Single European Act or the Maastricht, Amsterdam or Nice treaties. Its main purpose is to make the European Union more manageable. The same structures manage the European Union today as obtained in 1953, when there were only six member states, as opposed to the present total of 27. The three institutions that drive the European Union are the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council of Ministers. The role of the European Parliament will be enhanced in respect of input into legislation and policy for the member states and citizens of Europe. Membership of the Commission has been reduced from 27 to 18 and it is important to remember this measure is not new to this treaty, because we already agreed in the Nice treaty to reduce the number of Commissioners.

An important point for the Irish people is that we will have equality with all other member states. Although our population is only 4 million people, we will have a Commissioner on exactly the same terms as does Germany, with a population of 80 million people, and all the other member states of the European Union. Moreover, the five bigger states, namely, Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Spain, had two Commissioners until 2004. However, they will only have one Commissioner, in exactly the same way as Ireland, that is, in every 15-year cycle there will be a period during which member states will not have a Commissioner.

Deputy Peter Power (Fianna Fail):

Those who invite us to oppose the treaty would ask us to agree that the referendum will not be about Europe or the European project but about the merits or otherwise of the detailed text of the treaty. I fundamentally disagree. This is a referendum on the European Union and it presents Ireland with an opportunity to pass judgment on where we stand in Europe. This vote is as much a referendum on the European Union as it is about the arguments and complexities of qualified majority voting or the rotation of commissioners. The destiny and ambitions of this country are intricately tied to the European project so we cannot consider the treaty in isolation. Weighing up its pros and cons without having regard for the wider issues would be a fundamental misunderstanding of what is at stake.

Deputy Brian Hayes (Fine Gael):

The problem with the Nice treaty was that the political establishment, including my party and others, took people for granted. That is why it is crucial in the weeks ahead that effort is made on the ground, public meetings are held, arguments in local media and on radio are put to the “no” side, and, ultimately, people are not taken for granted. Name-calling and calling people loolahs will not help. We need a mature debate on the issues of Europe.

It is also important that those who argue for a “no” vote in this referendum tell us their vision for Europe. If, for example, the rules were changed on QMV or the position of the Commission, would they argue for a “yes” vote? Of course they would not. This issue has been used by certain groups in this country for the same cynical reasons of getting 50% of the publicity or trying to push other political agendas. If the Green Party was on this side of the House today, it would argue against the treaty for its own narrow, pathetic little interest, and everybody in the House knows that. The Green Party has used in the most cynical fashion every EU treaty debate for its own political ends and the people realise that.

Irish citizens like the idea of having a second layer of rights through the European Union. We have primary rights through Bunreacht na hÉireann but we have EU-wide rights also, for example, for workers and women. One can ask whether the advance of women in this country would have been possible two decades ago were it not for the European Union. At that time this country was still in a very conservative mode in terms of the position of women. It was the European Union that led the way. Irish citizens know this and they have a multifaceted view of their rights being domestic but also Europe-wide and international.

Deputy Michael Moynihan (Fianna Fail):

Many opponents of the treaty are making much noise about rejecting it. We must accept the treaty. Ireland is the only member state to have a referendum on it. This opportunity to exercise our democratic right on the treaty is a lasting testament to de Valera’s 1937 Constitution.

Deputy Chris Andrews (Fianna Fail):

Ireland’s relationship with the EU has been a very positive one. The “No” campaign, on the other hand, is pulling up the drawbridge before less fortunate member states can get on board. Theirs is a selfish and thoughtless position to keep what we have achieved for ourselves. Being part of a wider regional political and economic entity enabled us to modernise in many ways. We are a small open economy. It would never make sense for us to go it alone.

I ask voters, when making up their minds, to do so on the basis of two questions. These are what the treaty will do for Ireland and what it will do for the individual. When voters reflect on those questions, they will realise this treaty is good for Ireland, other smaller nations and Europe as a whole.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan (Fine Gael):

People regularly assign blame to the European Union in this country when something goes wrong. It is an easy target and a whipping boy for when something goes wrong. We can blame the bureaucrats in the European Union. Nevertheless, I was told confidentially some years ago that we have a fair amount of bureaucrats ourselves and we did not need to go over there for them. We could supply them with a full market if there was a need.

The debate was adjourned at 13:00 and will continue next week it seams.


Source:
Parliamentary Debates (Offical Report) Dáil Debate Vol. 651 No.4, Thursday, 10 April 2008

Previous Posts:
Some Contributions from the Fourth Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill
Some Contributions from the Third Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill
Some Contributions from the Second Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill
Some Contributions from the First Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill

Some Contributions from the Third Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill

The Dáil resumed its Debate on the second reading of the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008. Some selected contributions.

Deputy John Perry (Fine Gael):

In resuming the debate on Second Stage of the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008 I reiterate my support for the provisions in the Lisbon reform treaty aimed at reinforcing the national parliamentary dimension in the European Union. In recognition of the growing importance of EU legislation and the need to hold the Government accountable for the negotiation of this legislation, the Oireachtas established the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny, the central task of which is to act as a watchdog, scrutinising all proposed EU legislation which, on average, amounts to more than 500 documents annually. It can decide to scrutinise in depth proposed EU legislation which it believes holds significant implications for Ireland.

The need to bring citizens closer to the decision making process has also been recognised by the European Commission which decided in 2006 to send all proposed EU legislation directly to the national parliaments at the same time as it is sent to governments and the European Parliament. The intention is to invite comments from national parliaments on proposals for EU legislation. The joint committee, through its scrutiny process, can prepare opinions on draft EU legislation. It, therefore, seeks to play its part in bridging the perceived divide between the citizen and their capacity to influence the EU decision-making process.

The work of the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny comes at a critical time as the country prepares to vote in a referendum to decide on the ratification of the Lisbon reform treaty. It is important to demonstrate efforts are being made both at national and EU level to listen to the citizens and respond to their concerns regarding the perceived lack of democratic accountability within the EU.

Any single national parliament will have the power to veto EU legislation in the field of family law. There is also a further safeguard whereby those national parliaments which submitted a negative opinion are free to bring an action against the Commission to the European Court of Justice on the grounds of an infringement of the subsidiarity principle. National parliaments would be represented by their governments in such proceedings.

An Taoiseach, Deputy Bertie Ahern (Fianna Fail):

We have the privilege of living in one of the most peaceful and prosperous regions of the world. It was not always that way and there is nothing written in stone saying it will always be. We have to work continuously to maintain and improve what we have and nobody with any sense believes we could have achieved what we have for our region by acting as individual member states. It would be foolish to believe we can sustain our shared success by pursuing it individually.

It is true this treaty does not contain a big ticket issue as others before it did. There is no Single European Act, no single currency to be launched on this occasion. Nor, in its structure, is it a thing of beauty. However, its focus on improving the functioning of the Union, rather than altering radically its area of competence, represents a level of maturity within a Union of 50 years standing. What we are doing now in Europe is getting our house in order; we are tending our tree.

In this regard, I see taxation features in the newspapers again today. Let me once again spell out the position: the treaty will change absolutely nothing here and decisions on taxation will continue to require the unanimous approval of all member states. Nothing could be clearer

When I signed the treaty on behalf of Ireland, I did so knowing that, as with the earlier constitutional treaty, we had achieved all our key goals during the negotiations. No country gets everything it wants in negotiations of this nature but we are extremely satisfied with a treaty which enables Europe to function much more effectively and efficiently and which does not adversely affect any of Ireland’s key interests.

Deputy Dan Neville (Fine Gael):

Ten or perhaps 20 years ago there were those who began to comment that there was a need to communicate with the people on what happened in the European Union and the benefits of membership thereof. Both the national parliament and the political system in general have failed to communicate this message to the public. However, some of the blame for this failure must be placed on the Union and its systems. In the next two months we will have an opportunity to debate the various issues involved. We have a duty to inform the people with regard to that in respect of which they are being asked to vote. We must ensure the treaty is passed in order to bring about a more effective and efficient Union and to allow it to develop in order that it might benefit all its citizens. We have had various communications with regard to criticisms of the treaty and the campaign to defeat it. Although we fully accept the right of people to campaign and express their views on the matter, some have introduced red herrings into the debate, which often cause confusion. I also experienced this in debates in Maastricht treaty referendum. I want to deal with some of these red herrings on which we have received information. Oireachtas Members have received documentation from several groups and individuals on the reasons we should vote “No”.

The treaty will not create a super-state, as has been claimed. It safeguards the sovereignty of Ireland and other EU countries. The “No” campaigners claim that the treaty is a grab for power by Brussels at the expense of the individual member states, including Ireland. In fact, the opposite is the case. The treaty sets out for the first time the European Union’s exact responsibilities and its limits in these areas. It outlines the parameters of the Union’s influence and decision making powers. There will be a clear division of powers in decision making and the influence of the Union over its members.

The previously rejected extension of the EU constitution has been discussed. We are told that the Lisbon treaty is the European constitution in another name and that a con-job is being perpetrated on the people by calling it the Lisbon treaty rather than the European constitution. The treaty is similar to the European constitution, but the elements that made that document a constitution rather than a treaty, including elements with which certain member states were uncomfortable, such as giving status to the EU flag, have been removed. We should vote on the substantive issues, not on the basis of words such as “treaty” and “constitution”. The European Union as a project is unprecedented and labels such as these do not do justice to the unique institutional arrangements put in place by the current 27 countries.

As other countries are not holding a referendum, it has been suggested we should use the opportunity to vote “No” to give these other countries a chance to have their say. That is one of the theories being peddled. We have our own Constitution that dictates that we must hold a referendum. No other European country has dictated to us that we should not hold a referendum or told us how to manage our affairs; therefore, why should we tell other sovereign nations how they should go about ratifying a treaty, whether it be an EU treaty or any other international treaty? How other countries decide whether they should sign up for the treaty cannot be dictated by Brussels or any other member state, including Ireland. This is basic international law and also common sense. It would be a dangerous precedent for us to try to dictate to other countries by insisting that they hold referendums. In fact, referendums are unconstitutional in some EU countries such as Germany where they were banned after being abused by Hitler in the 1930s.

We have seen posters of Deputy Creighton throughout the city implying that the treaty will force Ireland to join a European army, but this is absolutely not the case. The new arrangements for co-operation in the areas of security and defence fully respect the neutral position of Ireland and other member states. Ireland will not be subject to a mutual defence clause. European military activity is directed at peacekeeping and crisis intervention. Participation is the option of each member state and not obligatory. Since the 1950s we have been lauded throughout the world for our work with the United Nations. While we have and will continue to participate in peacekeeping missions, it will be on a case by case basis, subject to the triple lock principle, requiring the support of the Government, the Oireachtas and a United Nations mandate. Without these three criteria, the Army will not participate in any peacekeeping or crisis intervention duties.

The “No” campaigners have been forecasting the end of Irish neutrality for 36 years but they have always been wrong and still are on this occasion. There is a view that we should vote “No” to punish the Government’s poor level of performance. We agree that the Government has not performed well but we disagree with using a “No” vote to punish it in this respect. We are extremely concerned by the performance of the health service, about our inadequate education system, the mismanagement of the economy and crime. Coming from Limerick, I am very concerned about that issue, as are people from the mid-west and elsewhere. However, the people must not use these matters as excuses to vote “No” and punish the Government. That chance will come at the local and European elections next year. At that time they will be able to judge the Government’s policies, but to do so now would damage the country’s future role and influence in Europe. It would be the wrong thing to do. I will campaign actively in my area to ensure a “Yes” vote. We are having the first public meeting on this matter in Adare, in my constituency, on 21 April. The leader of Fine Gael, Deputy Kenny, will address the meeting.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform Deputy Conor Lenihan (Finna Fail):

This referendum is ample testament to the courage and dignity of the Taoiseach in his leadership of the country and Fianna Fáil. It is a benchmark of the singular importance of the referendum that he chose to put aside his own position and sacrifice himself politically in order that the referendum might be passed and that our national interests would be correctly served by a “Yes” vote. It is also a testament to the importance of the referendum and the treaty that the “Yes” vote for which I am calling is being echoed by the three major parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party. These three major parties command the hearts, minds and loyalties of the people when they go to the ballot box. It is important to note that these three major parties, which the electorate supported demonstrably in the recent election, are behind the treaty

The treaty will provide a voting system and administrative arrangements that will enhance the decision making process. Simultaneously, it carries the necessary changes and adaptations that will allow for democratic accountability, which is important.

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Deputy Michael Ahern (Fianna Fail):

Europe, including Ireland, cannot stand still, nor can we act alone. The world is becoming ever more interconnected and we need to exploit that interconnectedness to address new and emerging challenges, including globalisation, demographic shifts, climate change, the need for new sustainable energy sources and labour mobility. These are the issues facing Europe in the 21st century. Borders are meaningless in the face of such challenges and EU member states cannot meet them alone but, acting together, Europe can deliver results and respond to the concerns of its people.

Across Europe there is a consensus on the need to create a market for innovation and innovative ideas. The challenge for Europe is that competition for human resources in science and technology is now global. Europe is in direct competition with other major trading blocs for the best research resources. Researchers, for example, are moving more rapidly. We need to find ways to address these challenges.

Ireland supports openness and free trade. Our whole approach to globalisation is clearly linked to the improving competitiveness of the EU. This momentum must be maintained. The unambiguous connection between embracing globalisation and competitiveness, through national and EU programmes, must be maintained. The Lisbon reform treaty will provide the necessary cohesion to improve and drive our competitiveness.

The EU has played a critical role in the formation of our successful and vibrant economy. Yet, the benefits of EU membership go far beyond financial transfers. Almost no aspect of our public life has been untouched. The European Union has contributed to the modernisation of the Irish economy and society and the Union, under the Lisbon reform treaty, will continue to be a modernising influence in our move towards a knowledge economy.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins (Labour):

A “Yes” vote makes it possible for us to change the direction of Europe and defeat the Mandelson reductionist position and replace it with something that comes from the European tradition – a respect for intellectual life, values based on genuine humanity, respect for discourse, respect for diversity, respect for different models and hundreds of years of economic theory from Adam Smith through Marshall to Keynes that realised that the entire purpose of economic proposals was to serve a moral and social purpose. If we are living what I am saying, the case for a “Yes” vote need not be made in the context of illiteracy. It can be made from a standpoint of principle by social democrats and socialists who are anxious to develop a Europe that many future generations will respect as one that gave them a better prospect of intergenerational justice.

The Debate resumes later today.
—–
Source:
Parliamentary Debates (Offical Report) Dáil Debate Vol. 651 No. 2, Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Previous Posts:
Some Contributions from the Second Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill
Some Contributions from the First Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill

Public Information About the Proposal to Amend Article 29 of the Constitution

This motion is being layed before the House today persuant to section 23
of the Referendum Act 1994. It is as follows

The Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008 proposes-

(a) to insert the following subsections after subsection 10º of section 4 of Article 29 of the Constitution:

’10° The State may ratify the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon on the 13th day of December 2007, and may be a member of the European Union established by virtue of that Treaty.

11° No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union referred to in subsection 10° of this section, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the said European Union or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the treaties referred to in
this section, from having the force of law in the State.

12° The State may exercise the options or discretions provided by or under Articles 1.22, 2.64, 2.65, 2.66, 2.67, 2.68 and 2.278 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 10° of this section and Articles 1.18 and 1.20 of Protocol No. 1 annexed to that Treaty, but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses
of the Oireachtas.

13° The State may exercise the option to secure that the Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice annexed to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly known as the Treaty establishing the European Community) shall, in whole or in part, cease to apply to the State, but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

14° The State may agree to the decisions, regulations or other acts under—

  • i Article 1.34(b)(iv),
  • ii Article 1.56 (in so far as it relates to Article 48.7 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 4° of this section),
  • iii Article 2.66 (in so far as it relates to the second subparagraph of Article 65.3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union),
  • iv Article 2.67 (in so far as it relates to subparagraph (d) of Article 69A.2, the third subparagraph of Article 69B.1 and paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 69E of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union),
  • v Article 2.144(a),
  • vi Article 2.261 (in so far as it relates to the second subparagraph of Article 270a.2 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), and
  • vii Article 2.278 (in so far as it relates to Article 280H of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union),

of the Treaty referred to in subsection 10° of this section, and may also agree to the decision under the second sentence of the second subparagraph of Article 137.2 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (as amended by Article 2.116(a) of the Treaty 1referred to in the said subsection 10°), but the agreement to any such decision, regulation or act shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

15° The State shall not adopt a decision taken by the European Council to establish a common defence pursuant to—

  • i Article 1.2 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 7° of this section, or
  • ii Article 1.49 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 10° of this section,

where that common defence would include the State.

(b) to delete the following subsection from section 4 of Article 29 of the Constitution:

’11º The State may ratify the Agreement relating to Community Patents drawn up between the Member States of the Communities and done at Luxembourg on the 15th day of December, 1989.’.

2. IF YOU APPROVE of the proposal, mark X opposite the word YES on the ballot paper.

3. IF YOU DO NOT APPROVE of the proposal, mark X opposite the word NO on the ballot paper.

4. 4. A copy of the Bill can be inspected or obtained free of charge at any Post Office

The Irish Version:

1. Is é atá beartaithe leis an mBille um an Ochtú Leasú is Fiche ar an mBunreacht 2008-

(a) na fo-ailt seo a leanas a chur isteach i ndiaidh fho-alt 10º d’alt 4 d’Airteagal 29 den Bhunreacht:

’10° Tig leis an Stát Conradh Liospóin ag leasú an Chonartha ar an Aontas Eorpach agus an Chonartha ag bunú an Chomhphobail Eorpaigh, arna shíniú i Liospóin an 13ú lá de Nollaig 2007, a dhaingniú agus tig leis a bheith ina chomhalta den Aontas
Eorpach a bhunaítear de bhua an Chonartha sin.

11° Ní dhéanann aon fhoráil atá sa Bhunreacht seo dlíthe a d’achtaigh, gníomhartha a rinne nó bearta a ghlac an Stát, de bhíthin riachtanais na noibleagáidí mar chomhalta den Aontas Eorpach dá dtagraítear i bhfoalt 10° den alt seo, a chur ó bhail dlí ná cosc a chur le dlíthe a d’achtaigh, gníomhartha a rinne nó bearta a ghlac an tAontas Eorpach sin nó institiúidí de, nó comhlachtaí atá inniúil faoi na conarthaí dá dtagraítear san alt seo, ó fheidhm dlí a bheith acu sa Stát.

12° Tig leis an Stát na roghnuithe nó na roghanna a fheidhmiú a shocraítear le hAirteagail 1.22, 2.64, 2.65, 2.66, 2.67, 2.68 agus 2.278 den Chonradh dá dtagraítear i bhfo-alt 10° den alt seo agus le hAirteagail 1.18 agus 1.20 de Phrótacal Uimh. 1 atá i gceangal leis an gConradh sin, nó a shocraítear faoi na hAirteagail sin, ach beidh aon fheidhmiú den sórt sin faoi réir ceadú a fháil roimh ré ó dhá Theach an Oireachtais.

13° Tig leis an Stát an roghnú a fheidhmiú chun a áirithiú, i ndáil leis an bPrótacal maidir le seasamh na Ríochta Aontaithe agus na hÉireann i dtaca leis an limistéar saoirse, slándála agus ceartais atá i gceangal leis an gConradh ar Aontas Eorpach agus leis an gConradh ar Fheidhmiú an Aontais Eorpaigh (ar a dtugtaí an Conradh ag bunú an Chomhphobail Eorpaigh tráth), go scoirfidh sé, go hiomlán nó go páirteach, d’fheidhm a bheith aige maidir leis an Stát, ach beidh aon fheidhmiú den sórt sin faoi réir ceadú a fháil roimh ré ó dhá Theach an Oireachtais.

14° Tig leis an Stát aontú leis na cinntí, leis na rialacháin nó leis na
gníomhartha eile arna ndéanamh-

  • i faoi Airteagal 1.34(b)(iv),
  • ii faoi Airteagal 1.56 (a mhéid a bhaineann sé le hAirteagal 48.7 den Chonradh dá dtagraítear i bhfo-alt 4° den alt seo),
  • iii faoi Airteagal 2.66 (a mhéid a bhaineann sé leis an dara fomhír d’Airteagal 65.3 den Chonradh ar Fheidhmiú an Aontais Eorpaigh),
  • iv faoi Airteagal 2.67 (a mhéid a bhaineann sé le fomhír (d) d’Airteagal 69A.2, leis an tríú fomhír d’Airteagal 69B.1 agus le míreanna 1 agus 4 d’Airteagal 69E den Chonradh ar Fheidhmiú an Aontais Eorpaigh),
  • v faoi Airteagal 2.144(a),
  • vi faoi Airteagal 2.261 (a mhéid a bhaineann sé leis an dara fomhír d’Airteagal 270a.2 den Chonradh ar Fheidhmiú an Aontais Eorpaigh), agus
  • vii faoi Airteagal 2.278 (a mhéid a bhaineann sé le hAirteagal 280H den Chonradh ar Fheidhmiú an Aontais Eorpaigh),

den Chonradh dá dtagraítear i bhfo-alt 10° den alt seo, agus tig leis freisin aontú leis an gcinneadh faoin dara habairt den dara fomhír d’Airteagal 137.2 den Chonradh ar Fheidhmiú an Aontais Eorpaigh (arna leasú le hAirteagal 2.116(a) den Chonradh dá dtagraítear san fho-alt 10° sin), ach beidh aontú le haon chinneadh, rialachán nó gníomh den sórt sin faoi réir ceadú a fháil roimh ré ó dhá Theach an Oireachtais.

15° Ní ghlacfaidh an Stát cinneadh arna dhéanamh ag an gComhairle Eorpach chun comhchosaint a bhunú-

  • i de bhun Airteagal 1.2 den Chonradh dá dtagraítear i bhfoalt 7° den alt seo, ná
  • ii de bhun Airteagal 1.49 den Chonradh dá dtagraítear i bhfoalt 10° den alt seo,

i gcás ina mbeadh an Stát san áireamh sa chomhchosaint sin.’, agus

(b) an fo-alt seo a leanas a scriosadh as alt 4 d’Airteagal 29 den Bhunreacht:

’11º Tig leis an Stát an Comhaontú maidir le Paitinní Comhphobail a tarraingíodh suas idir Ballstáit na gComhphobal agus a rinneadh i Lucsamburg ar an 15ú lá de Nollaig,1989, a dhaingniú.’.

2. MÁ THOILÍONN TÚ leis an togra, cuir X os coinne an fhocail TÁ ar an bpáipéar ballóide.

3. MURA dTOILÍONN TÚ leis an togra, cuir X os coinne an fhocail NÍL ar an bpáipéar ballóide.

4. Is féidir cóip den Bhille a iniúchadh nó a fháil saor in aisce in aon Phost-Oifig.

——
Source:
RIAR NA hOIBRE – ORDER PAPER, Déardaoin, 3 Aibreán, 2008 – Thursday, 3rd April, 2008

So what will we be voting on come June?

Yesterday the Dáil started debating the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008, but what will this actually do in terms of our constitution I hope to show changes on an articles by article basis.

The Bill concerns Article 29 of the Constitution. It starts off by deleting Article 29.4.9 which states

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.

It also deletes Article 29.4.11

11° The State may ratify the Agreement relating to Community Patents drawn up between the Member States of the Communities and done at Luxembourg on the 15th day of December, 1989.

These take out artilcles that refer to decisons as the Lisbon Treaty amends the previous treaty so rewording is needed.

Article 29.4.10 becomes Article 29.4.9.

New Article 29.4.10

10° The State may ratify the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon on the 13th day of December 2007, and may be a member of the European Union established by virtue of that Treaty.

This article basicly allows the state to ratify the Lisbon Treaty.

New Article 29.4.11

11° No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the
obligations of membership of the European Union referred to in subsection 10° of this section, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the said European Union or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this section, from having the force of law in the State.

This article gives constitutional backing to the Supremcy of EU law which has been laid down by the European Court of Justice in the case Flaminio Costa v. ENEL [1964]. This is what we signed up to in 1973, so is no surprise that it is being given constitutional backing.

New Article 29.4.12

12° The State may exercise the options or discretions provided by or under Articles 1.22, 2.64, 2.65, 2.66, 2.67, 2.68 and 2.278 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 10° of this section and Articles 1.18 and 1.20 of Protocol No. 1 annexed to that Treaty, but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

Article 1.22 of the treaty provides for Enhanced Cooperation among groups of Member States.
Article 2.64 deals with a myriad of issues mainly Security, Discrimination, Enhanced Cooperation and the role of National Parliaments.
Article 2.65 deals Policing, border checks and Asylum.
Article 2.66 deals with Judical Cooperation in Civil Matters.
Article 2.67 deals with Judical Cooperation in Criminal Matters.
Article 2.68 deals with Police Cooperation.
Article 2.278 deals with the specifics of Enhanced Cooperation.
This amendment will basically allow Ireland to participate in schemes in these areas, when it so wishes. Basically an Opt-Out.

New Article 29.4.13

13° The State may exercise the option to secure that the Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice annexed to the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly known as the Treaty establishing the European Community) shall, in whole or in part, cease to apply to the State, but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

This is another Opt-out which allows us to opt in when we decide. This Protocol was agreed by the Treaty of Amsterdam.

New Article 29.4.14

14° The State may agree to the decisions, regulations or other acts
under—

  • i Article 1.34(b)(iv),
  • ii Article 1.56 (in so far as it relates to Article 48.7 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 4° of this section),
  • iii Article 2.66 (in so far as it relates to the second subparagraph of Article 65.3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union),
  • iv Article 2.67 (in so far as it relates to subparagraph (d) of Article 69A.2, the third subparagraph of Article 69B.1 and paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 69E of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union),
  • v Article 2.144(a),
  • vi Article 2.261 (in so far as it relates to the second subparagraph of Article 270a.2 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), and
  • vii Article 2.278 (in so far as it relates to Article 280H of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union),

of the Treaty referred to in subsection 10° of this section, and may also agree to the decision under the second sentence of the second subparagraph of Article 137.2 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (as amended by Article 2.116(a) of the Treaty 1referred to in the said subsection 10°), but the agreement to any such decision, regulation or act shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

More optouts this time the articles are as follows:
Article 1.34(b)(iv) deals with the European Council should decide that the Council should use Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in areas not specified by the Treaty. Nice to see that this will be sunject to Oireachtas Approval.
Article 1.56 deals with further revisions to the Treatys. Note this treaty is not self amending! “That decision shall not enter into force until it is approved by the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.” -Article 1.56.6
Articles 2.66 and 2.67 I have already mentioned and is about Judical Cooperation.
Article 2.144(a) changing the Legislative procedure to “ordinary legislative procedure” by decesion of the European Council.
Article 2.261 refers to changing the budget to QMV.
Article 2.278 again deals with enhanced coperation.
Article 2.116(a) deals with procedures.
This, I think is a good addition to the constitution as it will allow the Both Houses have a say in matters on the running of the EU and future changes to the running of the EU.

New Article 29.4.15

15° The State shall not adopt a decision taken by the European Council to establish a common defence pursuant to—

  • i Article 1.2 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 7° of this section, or
  • ii Article 1.49 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 10° of this section,

where that common defence would include the State.

This is an updating of the old Article 29.4.9 due to the Article in the treaty being changed and mentioned in two treaties now (Nice and Lisbon). This article will ensure that Ireland will not take part in an ‘European Army’ or anything else the no camp would like to say.

Overall I think this is a good amendment to the Constitution. It will give the oireachtas some say in when Ireland will opt in to decisions. It keeps us out of a Common Defence Pact. It clears up the ambiguity of supremecy of EU law by giving it a constitutional backing. Well done to those who drafted the Amendment a good piece of work! Role on the vote!

—–
Sources:
BUNREACHT NA hÉIREANN – CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND, Department of An Taoiseach
Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008Oireachtas.ie
Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon, 13 December 2007EUR-LEX
Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of IrelandWikipedia