The Dáil’s Technical Group of Independent TD’s, headed up by Donegal South West TD Thomas Pringle, have launched their campaign to refer the forthcoming EU Treaty Bill to the people of Ireland should the government, on the advice of the Attorney General, decide that a referendum is not a legal requirement.
The group is calling on all members of the Oireachtas to join with them in petitioning President Michael D Higgins under the provisions of Article 27 of the Constitution to forego the signing into law of the Bill if passed by the Oireachtas and to instead refer it to the people for their direct consideration.
Although never before used, Article 27 has been a part of the Irish Constitution since its enactment in 1937 and states that where a third of the members of the Dáil and a majority of the members of the Seanad sign a petition requesting that the President, “shall decline to sign and promulgate such Bill as a law unless and until the proposal shall have been approved . . . by the people at a Referendum in accordance with the provisions of section 2 of Article 47 of this Constitution”.
Deputy Pringle told the Democrat: “This mechanism was inserted into the Constitution all those years ago to ensure that even where there’s no constitutional requirement for it, there is a means by which the people may be consulted on matters of significant public interest. Regardless of the legal requirement to put this treaty to the people, there is a moral requirement to do so as its effects will be felt by the people of Ireland long after the current Dáil has been dissolved and replaced.”
The Donegal South West TD called on all TDs and Senators “to trust the judgement of those who elected them, pledge their support for the Independent Group’s petition and give the people of Ireland the opportunity to determine the course of their own future.”