Irish liberals love to take pride in the fact that Ireland – by remaining democratic throughout the twentieth century while much of Europe was upended in conflict – is one of the longest surviving democracies in Europe.

However, given the premature character of the Irish constitutions, the question must be asked as to whether a document so prone to alteration functions in the manner of a traditional, or ideal constitution, or if it is effectively a tool of mass-rule subject to government NGO funded campaigns, as demonstrated by the 2018 Abortion Referendum.

In theory, constitutions are legal-heavy documents whose contents are generally considered to be inviolable, however, in practise, only the United States has maintained such a legal tradition. For Europe, constitutions are merely a form of legitimation for electoral diktat and representative democracy. Within the Irish context, the maintenance of our current constitution is largely a product of the convenience it gives the Irish government in general political activities.

The Irish constitution of 1922 was altered a total of 27 times before being retired for a more stable document in 1937. That constitution has now been amended on 32 occasions out of a total 38 attempts at revising the constitution.

For a legal document which underpins the state’s authority and its legislation to be altered so frequently acts to delegitimise the document, as it is demonstrated to function not as a legally binding document to which the state adheres, but as a political tool to be altered by the whims of statesmen.

This, then, arises the question as to whether the current Irish constitution still retains political value. While it may be legitimated by the stubborn, sycophantic faith that Irish liberals place in it, an abstract measure of a constitution’s value will find that the 1937 constitution ranks among the least reliable legal documents in use this century.

It is alterable upon referendum and is generally quite broad in permitting the state certain activities. The legislative apparatus of a state is only as good as the government running it, one which is currently detached from the interests of the Irish people.

The current dysfunctional state of political governance in Ireland must be assumed to be a product of the state’s susceptibility to be moulded by political actors and given the increasingly low quality of statesman that Ireland has suffered under over the past decades, the legislation of the state acts as a reflection of that.

While the Irish government’s obsession with replacement migration and so-called “tolerance” continually is demonstrated to have adverse effects on Irish people, the constitution as it stands has been repeatedly used by the government to grant itself authority through referenda on various issues.

Though the constitution is out-dated and susceptible to alteration in accordance with direct democratic mandate, there remains opportunities to be exploited for right-wing populists in Ireland.

The wave of recent protests may have unforeseen consequences on the government’s desire to institute a referendum on the right to housing. As seen in the results of the 2004 citizenship referendum, the Irish population has the capabilities to express its grievances against migrant exploitation of Irish law.

After only 5 years prior having shamefully legalised the practise of abortion, will a new opportunity to express populist sentiments, albeit from a rightist perspective, be offered in the near future? The ability to express national populist sentiment through the direct democratic mechanisms provided by the frequency of referenda in Ireland may contribute to the growing expression of nativist sentiment in Ireland.

Posted by Ryan Kiersey


  1. First a small correction;
    There has been 42 attempts to change the Constitution by referendum since Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973. And although the Published version lists 38 amendments there have in fact been only 32 amendments approved by referendum of the people. The first two amendments were passed by legislation (which was perfectly legal at that time) There are no Twelfth, Twenty-second, Twenty-fourth, Twenty-fifth, Thirty-second, or Thirty-fifth amendments.
    The correct number of constitutional amendments is therefore Thirty-four (34)
    At present, referendum (which only the government can initiate) require less support to succeed than to defeat, when those opposing a proposal have to achieve a higher majority from a higher turnout to reject a proposal. (the system is “loaded” in favour of the government) and when the turnout is low it makes it easier for the government to secure approval for changes to the constitution. It requires one-third 33.3% of the total electorate to reject a proposed change to the constitution therefore it follows that the turnout must exceed two-thirds 66.6%. of the electorate. 12 amendments of the constitution were approved (by the “people” but did not achieve the support of one-third of the votes and would have failed if equality of treatment applied:
    (1) Changes to the adoption laws
    (2) Reform of the Seanad University constituencies
    (3) The Single European Act.
    (4) Refusal of Bail by the Courts
    (5) Allowing cabinet confidentiality to be overturned by the High Court
    (6) Removal of the Death Penalty
    (7) Recognition of the International Criminal Court
    (8) The Nice Treaty
    (9) The European Fiscal Compact treaty
    (10) Allowing the State to take children into care for adoption.
    (11) Establishing a new Court of Appeal
    (12) Removal of “Blasphemy“ from the constitution.
    Yes we need a new constitution, a constitution which can only be amended by the people, and which protects Their human and civil rights and protects the Nations Sovereignty


  2. Ivaus@thetricolour 28/02/2023 at 9:48 am

    ” The Constitution ” has been reduced in terms of the Nations Sovereignty to bog roll status. It has not been protected by government or president as their oath of paid office defines and demands.It has been trashed and abused by the same involved knowing how to manipulate and secure their preferred outcomes by voter rigging interference of eu and ngo lobbying.


  3. Daniel BUCKLEY 01/03/2023 at 5:44 pm

    The Constitution of the Irish Republic was destroyed the day that President Higgins,signed off on the Covid Apartheid Law without referring it to the Supreme Court for legal forensic inspection and decision.
    This Law blatantly discriminated against the intelligent Few who resisted the massive Regime/Media propaganda campaign and refused the experimental, poisonous, ineffective Covid Injection. It was not a Vaccine.
    The Constitution further suffered abasement when the Supreme Court refused an application for a Judicial Review on John Waters and Gemma O’Doherty’s application against the Constitutional legality of the Lockdown and free movement.
    A Constitution in a Republic is designed to protect the People from a malevolent Regime with malicious intentions.
    The appointments to the Judiciary in Ireland are dependent on the Political Party in power .
    There can be no independent Judiciary , when a Judge is dependent on the Regime both for his appointment and promotion.
    A new Constitution and a Bill of Rights is required, but the present Regime and the Fake Opposition cannot be trusted to deliver one that protects the People, but will be a further opportunity to restrict their Freedoms under obfuscated legalese.
    There is no trust remaining in Ireland for the Regime or its State Institutions, who do not represent the interests of the majority of the People, but actively work against them.


  4. The US Constitution has been subjected to 27 ratified and 6 unratified Amendments since the late 1770s when it was formulated. That’s a fairly low number when juxtaposed with a similar number in Ireland but over a much shorter timeframe. Some Amendments to the US Constitution have proved fairly intractable, like the 2nd Amendment ‘right to bear arms’. But some have proved very short lived, such as the 18th Amendment to ban alcohol, which only lasted from 1919 to 1933 when it was repealed by the 21st Amendment.


  5. When was the most recent Amendment to the US Constitution?


    Most people didn’t pay much attention at the time. Very few remember it now.

    It says that Congress can’t give itself a raise (or cut its pay) during its current session. Any pay raise or cut can only take effect for the Congress that follows a sitting Congress.

    It was proposed as an Amendment back in 1789, six states ratified it and then it was let drop.

    Then in 1982 an undergrad at the University of Texas-Austin rediscovered it and proposed in a term paper that the remaining states should ratify it. He was given a C by his professor for the idea.

    The student, Gregory Watson, discovered that the proposed amendment could still be ratified and started a grassroots campaign. Congress had never stipulated a time limit for states to consider it for ratification.

    The proposed amendment and its supporters tapped into general public anger about congressional pay raises. Five more states ratified it in 1985, as legal experts pondered whether the entire process was valid.

    In 1992, two states raced to be the 38th state to sign off on the 27th Amendment, making it part of the Constitution. Alabama beat New Jersey to the punch on May 7, 1992, but New Jersey quickly voted for ratification, too.

    In 2017, the university retroactively awarded Watson an A for his paper


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *