Commission failed to carry out its mandate

DESPITE the victory for democracy last week, serious questions must now be asked of the Referendum Commission.

It failed utterly to carry out its mandate to explain the subject matter of what we voted on last week. Specifically it failed to point out that the rejected amendment would have brought about a constitutional and political revolution.

That this would have come about was confirmed by the European Centre for Law and Justice which stated in a recent legal analysis of the amendment that “any properly enacted law, act or measure of the EU or its institutions cannot be prevented from having the force of law in Ireland, even where it is in direct conflict with the Irish constitution”.

Consequently, were it not for the efforts of no campaigners, people would have been ignorant as to the immensity of the changes they were being asked to vote in. Subsequent interventions by the commission were designed solely to benefit one side’s interpretations of disputed points.

The Government, in the Referendum Act of 2001 following the rejection of the Nice Treaty, had removed from the commission the function of presenting arguments for or against referendum proposals and of promoting debate or discussion on such proposals.

This renders the commission’s interventions even more dubious as these were designed to counter the well-grounded arguments against the treaty.

The public should know its interests were seriously undermined by a body that is supposed to be independent.

Michael O’Driscoll

Menloe House



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