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Home > The Lisbon Treaty > Ratification Stage >  Ireland
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1972: EU - Accession (Yes 83 % - No 17 % - Turnout 71 %)
1987: Single European Act (Yes 70 % - No 30 % - Turnout 44 %)
1992: Treaty of Maastricht (Yes 69 % - No 31 % - Turnout 57 %)
1998: Treaty of Amsterdam (Yes 62 % - No 38 % - Turnout 56 %)
2001: Treaty of Nice (No 54 % - Yes 46 % - Turnout 35 %)
2002: Treaty of Nice (Yes 63 % - No 37 % - Turnout 49 %)



Binding referendum provided for any transfer of power because that requires a constitutional amendment which makes a referendum mandatory.



Regulation about a special transfer of sovereignty to EU:
A decision taken by the European Council to establish a common defence shall not be adopted if Ireland would be included, Art. 29 IV 9 ConstIreland.

Approval of transfer of sovereignty without effect of constitutional amendment:
Majority from both chambers, Art. 29 V, VI ConstIreland.

Approval of transfer of sovereignty with effect of constitutional amendment:
Not expressly regulated, but constitutional amendment required.

Approval of constitutional amendment:
Majority from both chambers and by mandatory and binding referendum, Art. 46, 47 ConstIreland.

Other constitutional regulations about referendums:
Any bill not amending the constitution can be given to a referendum on demand of a majority of the members of parliament or not less than 1/3 of the members of senate, Art. 27 ConstIreland.



  • Ireland's foreign minister warned the country's voters at the beginning of February 2008 against rejecting a new EU treaty, saying critics were using the same "myths" as when the country vetoed a former pact. Dermot Ahern said Ireland, which sent shockwaves when it voted out the Nice Treaty in 2001, could not "turn its back" on the European Union in a referendum on the Lisbon treaty in 2008.
  • At the end of February the European Affairs Minister Dick Roche said: "My intention is to make absolutely certain that the Irish people would endorse this treaty at least two to one," "We do have a big challenge ... We can't be complacent, the complacency was the big enemy in the Nice referendum, [...] This one, there will be no complacency."
    As for the No camp's arguments, Roche said, they had regularly predicted disastrous consequences for Ireland in Europe. "They've been saying this since 1972," he said. But Roche acknowledged that the argument would also hinge on other factors, such as immigration, unemployment and the government's falling poll ratings. But he argued: "We have to disengage the domestic debates from the debates on Europe."
  • The Irish government on 26.02.2008 agreed the wording for the EU treaty referendum bill, with the text especially crafted to allay fears that the country's traditional neutrality will be undermined by the new EU document. The Irish Times reported that the wording will include a reference to the prohibition on Irish participation in an EU common defence force. "The proposed legislation reflects principles that the Irish people hold dear and that the government views as vital for Ireland," said Irish foreign minister Dermot Ahern, referring to 28th amendment of the constitution bill.
  • On 11.03.2008 the Irish government indicated that the country's referendum on the Lisbon treaty is to take place in the second week of June. Prime Minister Bertie Ahern told the Parliament: "The government has more or less signed off on the date. It is really a question about the day of the week. We are looking at the second week of June." Foreign minister Dermot Ahern told a Parliament committee that the Referendum Commission - an independent body meant to distribute information on issues covered in referendum questions - will be given €5.8 million to inform the public about the Lisbon treaty.
  • The result of the Irish referendum was a major blow, with Czech President Vaclav Klaus insisting that the Lisbon Treaty was now "finished" and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker conceding it would at least miss its January 1 target for coming into effect.
    Austria said the Irish "no" vote was an unmitigated "failure" for Europe. "You can't dress it up any other way," said Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, while her Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos acknowledged it was "not good news."
    Other leaders and senior EU officials refused to sound the death-knell for the treaty, which aimed to create a full-time EU president and foreign policy chief and streamline the workings of the 27-member bloc.
    "We take note of the democratic decision of the Irish citizens with all due respect, even though we regret it," French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a joint statement.
    "As a supporter of the treaty, the European Commission would have hoped for another result. However, we respect the outcome of the referendum," Baroso said, adding that the remaining ratifications should "take their course."
  • On 13.12.2008 Ireland agreed to hold a new referendum on the European Union's stalled reform treaty. The EU guarantee Ireland a European commissioner's post in exchange for putting the Lisbon Treaty to the people again. The bloc also note other concerns of the Irish people, including worries about European interference in Ireland's military neutrality, abortion laws and taxation, which led them to reject the treaty in June 2008.
  • On 02.10.2009 asecond referendum was held where 67.1 percent voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty while 32.9 percent voted against, turnout was 58 percent.


Eurobarometer (2006), The Future of Europe - Results for Ireland, Special Eurobarometer 251, Fieldwork: 23/02 – 15/03 2006. (PDF)







Voters in the Irish Republic rejected the Lisbon treaty in a vote by 53.4% to 46.6%.






Brady, H. (2008), Caution: The Irish Might Guillotine Lisbon, Real Instituto Elcano, ARI 56/2008, 6/6/2008. (HTML)

Hierlemann, D.; Heydecker, C. (2008), Grünes Licht von der Grünen Insel? Zehn Fragen zu Irland, Bertelsmann Stiftung, spotlight europe 2008/05. (PDF) (German)

Brown, T. (2008), The Lisbon Treaty Referendum in Ireland, Federal Trust, EuropeanNewsletter, April 2008. (PDF)

Deloy, Corinne (2008), Référendum sur le traité de Lisbonne en Irlande, Robert Schuman Foundation, European Elections Monitor. (French) (HTML)


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Doctorado en Unión Europea