Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Meandering articles in the Constitution

Recently someone I know posted a bit of an anti-Lisbon rant on Facebook. It seems that he was quite upset at the concept of the Irish Constitution being chucked in the bin.

The 28th Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland Bill, 2009, Article 29.4.6. Translated: No European law can EVER AGAIN be challenged on the basis of IRISH CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS! A vote for Lisbon will effectively destroy the ONLY document that can... protect US ALL from corrupt government at home or in Europe.

Sounds pretty serious, until you realize for a second that this clause has been in all EU referendums since we joined the EEC or whatever it was called way back in early 1970s. Initially it was part of a larger clause 29.4.3 which was added. Then in 1992, as part of ratifying the Maastricht treaty the words were moved into their own clause 29.4.5. With more clauses added for Amsterdam and then Nice the clause was renumbered first to 29.4.7 and then to 29.4.10.

With Lisbon effectively replacing all the other treaties, all of 29.4.4 to 29.4.11 are to be deleted and this phrasing is to be slightly amended and end up in the new clause 29.4.6. Now I'm no constitutional lawyer but if we vote no, the old 29.4.10 stays and the offending words will still be in Bunreacht na h√Čireann so I'm failing to see what all the fuss is about.

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