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An amendment may be made to any part of the Constitution of Ireland but only by referendum. An amendment must first be approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas (parliament), then submitted to a referendum, and finally signed into law by the President.

Aside from constitutional referendums, the constitution also provides for a referendum on an ordinary bill, known as the ordinary referendum, but there has not been one so far.

ProcedureEdit

ReferendumEdit

The procedure for amending the constitution is specified in Article 46. A proposed amendment must take the form of a bill to amend the constitution originating in Dáil Éireann (lower house of the Oireachtas). It must first be formally approved by both the Dáil and the Senate, though in practice the Senate has only the power to delay an amendment adopted by the Dáil.

Then the amendment must be endorsed by the electorate in a referendum. A simple majority is sufficient to carry an amendment and there is no minimum turnout required for a constitutional referendum to be considered valid. The vote occurs by secret ballot. A proposal to amend the constitution put to a referendum must not contain any other proposal. While United Kingdom citizens resident in the state may vote in a general election, only Irish citizens can participate in a referendum.

After being approved by referendum an amendment must be signed into law by the President. Provided that the correct procedure has been complied with, the President cannot veto an amendment. The dates given for the amendments listed in this article are, unless otherwise stated, the dates on which they were signed into law.

List of amendments and referendumsEdit

The following table lists all amendments to the Constitution, and all past and scheduled referendums relating to the Constitution. In general it does not list proposed amendments which failed to be passed by the Oireachtas, for which see the separate list of failed amendments to the Constitution of Ireland. The exception is the 2001 Twenty-second Amendment Bill, listed below to explain the gap in the numbering of subsequent amendments.

Table of amendments referendums relating to the Constitution of Ireland
Proposal Enactment date Subject Referendum date Electorate Total poll (%) For (%) Against (%) Spoilt (%)
Draft Constitution 1 July 1937 Enactment of the Constitution 1 July 1937 70061775055000000001,775,055 70061346207000000001,346,207 700175800000000000075.8 7005685105000000000685,105 700156500000000000056.5 7005526945000000000526,945 700143500000000000043.5 7005134157000000000134,157 700110000000000000010.0
The draft Constitution was not technically a bill, but had been passed by the Oireachtas in the same manner as a bill.
1st Amendment 2 September 1939 Definition of war N/A
Extended the definition of "time of war" to include a war in which the state is not a participant. This was to allow the Government to exercise emergency powers during the Second World War, in which the state was neutral.
2nd Amendment 30 May 1941 Textual adjustments N/A
An omnibus bill with a variety of mostly minor textual amendments. Some changes were only to the Irish text, to correspond more closely to the sense of the English text.
3rd Amendment Bill, 1958 N/A Elections: Dáil: voting system 17 July 1959 70061678450000000001,678,450 7005979531000000000979,531 700158400000000000058.4 7005453322000000000453,322 700148200000000000048.2 7005486989000000000486,989 700151800000000000051.8 700439220000000000039,220 70004000000000000004.0
Proposal to alter the voting system for elections to Dáil Éireann from the multi-member single transferable vote (STV) to the single-member First Past the Post (FPTP) system. It also proposed to establish an independent commission for boundary delimitation of Dáil constituencies.
3rd Amendment Bill, 1968 N/A Elections: Dáil: constituency boundaries 16 October 1968 70061717389000000001,717,389 70061129477000000001,129,477 700165800000000000065.8 7005424185000000000424,185 700139200000000000039.2 7005656803000000000656,803 700160800000000000060.8 700448489000000000048,489 70004300000000000004.3
Proposed to allow greater malapportionment in favour of rural areas in boundary delimitation of Dáil constituencies.
4th Amendment Bill, 1968 N/A Elections: Dáil: voting system 16 October 1968 70061717389000000001,717,389 70061129606000000001,129,606 700165800000000000065.8 7005423496000000000423,496 700139200000000000039.2 7005657898000000000657,898 700160800000000000060.8 700448212000000000048,212 70004300000000000004.3
Another proposal to alter the Dáil voting system from STV to FPTP.
3rd Amendment 8 June 1972 Treaty: Europe: Accession 10 May 1972 70061783604000000001,783,604 70061264278000000001,264,278 700170900000000000070.9 70061041890000000001,041,890 700183100999990000083.1 7005211891000000000211,891 700116900999990000016.9 700410497000000000010,497 69998000000000000000.8
Permitted the state to join the European Communities.
4th Amendment 5 January 1973 Elections: franchise: voting age 7 December 1972 70061783604000000001,783,604 7005903439000000000903,439 700150700000000000050.7 7005724836000000000724,836 700184600999990000084.6 7005131514000000000131,514 700115400000000000015.4 700447089000000000047,089 70005200000000000005.2
Reduced the minimum voting age from 21 to 18.
5th Amendment 5 January 1973 Recognition of religions 7 December 1972 70061783604000000001,783,604 7005903659000000000903,659 700150700000000000050.7 7005721003000000000721,003 700184400000000000084.4 7005133430000000000133,430 700115600000000000015.6 700449326000000000049,326 70005500000000000005.5
Removed reference to "special position" of the Roman Catholic Church and to other named denominations.
6th Amendment 3 August 1979 Adoption board 5 July 1979 70062179466000000002,179,466 7005623476000000000623,476 700128600000000000028.6 7005601694000000000601,694 700199000000000000099.0 70036265000000000006,265 70001000000000000001.0 700415517000000000015,517 70002500000000000002.5
To reverse a 1977 finding that certain orders made by the adoption board were unconstitutional.
7th Amendment 3 August 1979 Seanad: university constituencies 5 July 1979 70062179466000000002,179,466 7005622646000000000622,646 700128600000000000028.6 7005552600000000000552,600 700192400000000000092.4 700445484000000000045,484 70007600000000000007.6 700424562000000000024,562 70003900000000000003.9
Allowed the Seanad representation of the University of Dublin and the National University of Ireland to be extended to graduates of other third-level institutions. This provision has never been invoked.
8th Amendment 7 October 1983 Abortion: recognised the right to life of the unborn 7 September 1983 70062358651000000002,358,651 70061265994000000001,265,994 700153700000000000053.7 7005841233000000000841,233 700166900000000000066.9 7005416136000000000416,136 700133100000000000033.1 70038625000000000008,625 69997000000000000000.7
Intended to entrench the statutory prohibition of abortion at a Constitutional level.
9th Amendment 2 August 1984 Elections: franchise: votes for non-citizens 14 June 1984 70062399257000000002,399,257 70061138895000000001,138,895 700147500000000000047.5 7005828483000000000828,483 700175400000000000075.4 7005270250000000000270,250 700124600000000000024.6 700440162000000000040,162 70003500000000000003.5
Overturned a 1983 Supreme Court decision that prevented the right to vote in Dáil elections being extended to UK nationals.
10th Amendment Bill, 1986 N/A Rights: Divorce 26 June 1986 70062436836000000002,436,836 70061482644000000001,482,644 700160800000000000060.8 7005538279000000000538,279 700136500000000000036.5 7005935843000000000935,843 700163500000000000063.5 70038522000000000008,522 69996000000000000000.6
Proposed to remove the constitutional ban on divorce. The ban was eventually lifted by the Fifteenth Amendment in 1996.
10th Amendment 22 June 1987 Treaty: Europe: Single European Act 26 May 1987 70062461790000000002,461,790 70061085304000000001,085,304 700144100000000000044.1 7005755423000000000755,423 700169900000000000069.9 7005324977000000000324,977 700130100000000000030.1 70034904000000000004,904 69995000000000000000.5
Permitted the state to ratify the Single European Act.
11th Amendment 16 July 1992 Treaty: Europe: Maastricht Treaty 18 June 1992 70062542841000000002,542,841 70061457219000000001,457,219 700157300000000000057.3 70061001076000000001,001,076 700169100999990000069.1 7005448655000000000448,655 700130900000000000030.9 70037488000000000007,488 69995000000000000000.5
Permitted the state to ratify the Maastricht Treaty.
12th Amendment Bill, 1992 N/A Abortion: exclusion of suicide 25 November 1992 70062542841000000002,542,841 70061733309000000001,733,309 700168200000000000068.2 7005572177000000000572,177 700134600000000000034.6 70061079297000000001,079,297 700165400000000000065.4 700481835000000000081,835 70004700000000000004.7
Proposed to partially reverse the 1992 Supreme Court judgment in the X Case, which allowed abortion where a pregnancy is life-threatening, by excluding risk of suicide as permissible grounds.
13th Amendment 23 December 1992 Abortion: right to travel 25 November 1992 70062542841000000002,542,841 70061733821000000001,733,821 700168200000000000068.2 70061035308000000001,035,308 700162400000000000062.4 7005624059000000000624,059 700137600000000000037.6 700474454000000000074,454 70004300000000000004.3
Specified that the prohibition of abortion would not limit freedom of travel in and out of the state.
14th Amendment 23 December 1992 Abortion: right to information 25 November 1992 70062542841000000002,542,841 70061732433000000001,732,433 700168100999990000068.1 7005992833000000000992,833 700159900000000000059.9 7005665106000000000665,106 700140100000000000040.1 700474494000000000074,494 70004300000000000004.3
Specified that the prohibition of abortion would not limit the right to distribute information about abortion services in foreign countries.
15th Amendment 17 June 1996 Rights: Divorce 24 November 1995 70062628834000000002,628,834 70061633942000000001,633,942 700162200000000000062.2 7005818842000000000818,842 700150300000000000050.3 7005809728000000000809,728 700149700000000000049.7 70035372000000000005,372 69993000000000000000.3
Removed the constitutional prohibition of divorce, but retained certain restrictions on its occurrence.
16th Amendment 12 December 1996 Rights: bail restrictions 28 November 1996 70062659895000000002,659,895 7005777586000000000777,586 700129200000000000029.2 7005579740000000000579,740 700174800000000000074.8 7005194968000000000194,968 700125200000000000025.2 70032878000000000002,878 69994000000000000000.4
To reverse a 1965 Supreme Court ruling by allowed a court to refuse someone bail if it suspected a person would commit a serious criminal offence while at liberty.
17th Amendment 14 November 1997 Cabinet confidentiality 30 October 1997 70062688316000000002,688,316 70061268043000000001,268,043 700147200000000000047.2 7005632777000000000632,777 700152600000000000052.6 7005569175000000000569,175 700147400000000000047.4 700466091000000000066,091 70005200000000000005.2
To reverse a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that meetings of the cabinet were absolutely confidential, and to permit the High Court to order the disclosure of cabinet discussions in certain circumstances.
18th Amendment 3 June 1998 Treaty: Europe: Amsterdam Treaty 22 May 1998 70062747088000000002,747,088 70061543930000000001,543,930 700156200000000000056.2 7005932632000000000932,632 700161700000000000061.7 7005578070000000000578,070 700138300999990000038.3 700433228000000000033,228 70002200000000000002.2
Allowed the state to ratify the Amsterdam Treaty.
19th Amendment 3 June 1998 / 2 December 1999 Treaty: Good Friday Agreement 22 May 1998 70062747088000000002,747,088 70061545395000000001,545,395 700156300000000000056.3 70061442583000000001,442,583 700194400000000000094.4 700485728000000000085,728 70005600000000999995.6 700417064000000000017,064 70001100000000000001.1
Allowed the state to be bound by the Good Friday Agreement and provided for the conditional amendment of Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution, which subsequently came into effect when the Good Friday Agreement did.
20th Amendment 23 June 1999 Elections: Local government 11 June 1999 70062791415000000002,791,415 70061425881000000001,425,881 700151100000000000051.1 70061024850000000001,024,850 700177800000000000077.8 7005291965000000000291,965 700122200000000000022.2 7005109066000000000109,066 70007600000000000007.6
Provided that local government elections must occur every five years.
21st Amendment 27 March 2002 Rights: Death penalty 7 June 2001 70062867960000000002,867,960 7005997885000000000997,885 700134800999990000034.8 7005610455000000000610,455 700162100000000000062.1 7005372950000000000372,950 700137900000000000037.9 700414480000000000014,480 70001500000000000001.5
Entrenched the existing statutory prohibition of capital punishment.
22nd Amendment Bill, 2001 N/A Courts: judges: discipline N/A
Proposed to establish a body for the investigation of judges and to amend the procedure for the removal of judges. It was introduced to the Oireachtas but lapsed after its second stage.
23rd Amendment 27 March 2002 Treaty: Rome Statute of the ICC 7 June 2001 70062867960000000002,867,960 7005997565000000000997,565 700134800999990000034.8 7005629234000000000629,234 700164200000000000064.2 7005350512000000000350,512 700135800999990000035.8 700417819000000000017,819 70001800000000000001.8
Allowed the state to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
24th Amendment Bill, 2001 N/A Treaty: Europe: Treaty of Nice 7 June 2001 70062867960000000002,867,960 7005997826000000000997,826 700134800999990000034.8 7005453461000000000453,461 700146100000000000046.1 7005529478000000000529,478 700153900000000000053.9 700414887000000000014,887 70001500000000000001.5
This would have allowed the state to ratify the Treaty of Nice. Voters reversed this decision when they adopted the Twenty-sixth Amendment in 2002.
25th Amendment Bill, 2002 N/A Abortion: exclusion of suicide 6 March 2002 70062923918000000002,923,918 70061254175000000001,254,175 700142900000000000042.9 7005618485000000000618,485 700149600000000000049.6 7005629041000000000629,041 700150400000000000050.4 70036649000000000006,649 69995000000000000000.5
This was a second attempt to strengthen the constitutional ban on abortion and to prevent risk of suicide being invoked as grounds for an abortion.
26th Amendment 7 November 2002 Treaty: Europe: Treaty of Nice 19 October 2002 70062923918000000002,923,918 70061446588000000001,446,588 700149500000000000049.5 7005906317000000000906,317 700162900000000000062.9 7005534887000000000534,887 700137100000000000037.1 70035384000000000005,384 69994000000000000000.4
Allowed the state to ratify the Nice Treaty.
27th Amendment 24 June 2004 Irish nationality 11 June 2004 70063041688000000003,041,688 70061823434000000001,823,434 700159900000000000059.9 70061427520000000001,427,520 700179200000000000079.2 7005375695000000000375,695 700120800000000000020.8 700420219000000000020,219 70001100000000000001.1
Abolished jus soli right to Irish nationality.
28th Amendment Bill, 2008 N/A Treaty: Europe: Treaty of Lisbon 12 June 2008 70063051278000000003,051,278 70061621037000000001,621,037 700153100000000000053.1 7005752451000000000752,451 700146600000000000046.6 7005862415000000000862,415 700153400000000000053.4 70036171000000000006,171 69994000000000000000.4
This would have allowed the state to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon. Voters reversed this decision when they adopted the Twenty-eighth Amendment in 2009.
28th Amendment 15 October 2009 Treaty: Europe: Treaty of Lisbon 2 October 2009 70063078032000000003,078,032 70061816098000000001,816,098 700158000000000000058.0 70061214268000000001,214,268 700167100999990000067.1 7005594606000000000594,606 700132900000000000032.9 70037224000000000007,224 69994000000000000000.4
Allowed the state to ratify the Lisbon Treaty.
29th Amendment 17 November 2011 Courts: judges: remuneration 27 October 2011 70063191157000000003,191,157 70061785707000000001,785,707 700155900000000000055.9 70061393877000000001,393,877 700179700000000000079.7 7005354134000000000354,134 700120300000000000020.3 700437696000000000037,696 70002100000000000002.1
Relaxed the prohibition on the reduction of the salaries of Irish judges.
30th Amendment Bill 2011 N/A Oireachtas inquiries 27 October 2011 70063191157000000003,191,157 70061785208000000001,785,208 700155900000000000055.9 7005812008000000000812,008 700146700000000000046.7 7005928175000000000928,175 700153300000000000053.3 700445025000000000045,025 70002500000000000002.5
Proposed to reverse a 2002 Supreme Court ruling which prevented Oireachtas inquiries from making findings critical of individuals.
30th Amendment 27 June 2012 Treaty: Europe: European Fiscal Compact 31 May 2012 70063144828000000003,144,828 70061591385000000001,591,385 700150600000000000050.6 7005955091000000000955,091 700160300000000000060.3 7005629088000000000629,088 700139700000000000039.7 700445025000000000045,025 70002800000000999992.8
Allowed the state to ratify the European Fiscal Compact.
31st Amendment Bill 2012 TBC Rights: Children's rights 10 November 2012 70063183686000000003,183,686 70061066239000000001,066,239 700133500000000000033.5 7005615731000000000615,731 700158000000000000058.0 7005445863000000000445,863 700142000000000000042.0 70037206000000000007,206 69997000000000000000.7
A general statement of children's rights, and a provision intended to secure the power of the state to take children into care who are at risk of abuse or neglect from their parents. The bill has not been signed into law pending the outcome of a legal challenge to its validity.
32nd Amendment Bill 2013 N/A Seanad: abolition 4 October 2013 70063167484000000003,167,484 70061240729000000001,240,729 700139200000000000039.2 7005591937000000000591,937 700148300000000000048.3 7005634437000000000634,437 700151700000000000051.7 700414355000000000014,355 70001200000000000001.2
Proposed to abolish Seanad Éireann.
33rd Amendment 1 November 2013 Courts: new Court of Appeal 4 October 2013 70063167484000000003,167,484 70061240135000000001,240,135 700139200000000000039.2 7005795008000000000795,008 700165200000000000065.2 7005425047000000000425,047 700134800999990000034.8 700420080000000000020,080 70001600000000000001.6
Mandates a new Court of Appeal above the High Court and below the Supreme Court
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