and the government is panicking.

The Irish government has voiced fear that the upcoming referendum on the position of women and the family in the Irish constitution may be hijacked by the so-called “far-right.” Elements of the referendum will have implications for immigration, and this will prove pivotal.

The two referenda are scheduled to take place on March 8th 2024, International Women’s Day. It will alter article 41 of the Irish constitution to widen the legal definition of the family unit, and to replace article 41.2 which recognises the role of women in the home, to a generalised, and gender neutral, alternative.

The government’s concern that the far-right may “threaten the outcome” of this referendum indicates a not-so-democratic presumption on their part; that they are implementing the referendum based on presumption they will win, not because they want to poll the Irish people. 

On the face of it, this referendum appears to be no less than legislative virtue signalling. So why is it that the Irish government is concerned about the meddlesome intervention of dissenting voices? 

Immigration has, within the span of the last year, become the most prominent issue in Irish politics, a fact the government is all-too-vexed to acknowledge. With 74% of Irish people believing that the country has taken in too many immigrants, the coalition government is both fearful and agitated that the political consequences of their policy mismanagement will come back to bite them.

Fine Gael TD, Neale Richmond, has admitted that the upcoming referendum is, in part, designed to facilitate a larger eligibility scope for immigration applications. On the topic of the referendum, Richmond commented: “This has serious consequences, particularly when we think of immigration law and proving that someone is a family member…or family reunification. This will allow that to be accommodated as well.”

As such, by the government’s own design, and not those of far-right boogeymen, has the upcoming referendum been painted as one in which the issue of immigration may come to the forefront of the Irish electorate.

The government has time and time again condemned the introduction of culture wars type political rhetoric into the Irish setting, but are wont to neglect that they themselves are responsible for their own political nightmares. This referendum is, by nature, one in which the progressive feminist supporters of mass-migration sitting in Leinster House are embattling themselves against those whose convictions and beliefs they consider anathema to very principles of utopian civil society.

The government is fearful that political dissidents may get a leg-up on them in this upcoming referendum given their history of political failures to amend the Irish constitution. 54% of Irish people voted no to the first Nice referendum, furthermore 53% voted no to the first Lisbon referendum. In both cases, the Irish government used the excuse of low voter turnout to conduct a successful second referendum. Furthermore, Ireland voted against immigration in the 2004 citizenship referendum, which sought to prevent immigrants from obtaining Irish citizenship through anchor babies and the exploitation of legislative loop-holes.

In an RTÉ interview, Simon Harris stated that the referendum was necessary to modernise the Irish constitution and to remove gendered, sexist language, stating in no uncertain terms that “this is not a referendum for which the outcome, in any way shape or form can be taken for granted.” Furthermore, Harris requested the support of all parties in Dáil Éireann to pull together and provide a united front in favour of the referendum.

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, in the same interview, warned that the referendum may, given the lack of political energy in civil society groups or NGOs at the current time, become a referendum on a different topic altogether. 

In fact, so concerned is the Irish government with facing the political consequences of their failures, that on the same referendum ballot was originally planned a referendum to allow Irish citizens overseas to vote in Presidential elections. Following Conor McGregor’s outspoken criticisms of the government, and proposition to run for office, however, the government have canned the ballot as the idea no longer benefits their political interests.

At a time when a government Minister refers to a lax border policy which, in effect facilitates mass-migration, as “the new normal”, there can be no doubt that the upcoming referendum is fundamentally about immigration.

If the function of referenda in a democratic society is to have the public engage, and decide on a specific policy which will have far-reaching implications on their society, then the Irish government’s conduct by its very nature undermines the democratic principles which they use to virtue-shield themselves from political criticism. 

Government campaigning in favour of the referendum, and the brazen comments made by Roderic O’Gorman and Simon Harris about ensuring its passage into law indicate a not-so democratic presumption on their part that either a) they will win implicitly, or b) they will use all the political tools available to them, ranging from civil society groups to NGOs, to ensure that the referendum is passed. In such a scenario, the government’s admission is clear – Irish democracy is a farce. 

Posted by Ryan Kiersey

3 Comments

  1. I think these referenda are just good old fashioned electioneering politics.

    The issues themselves are as meaningless as they seem.

    It’s about

    1. having a chance to raise profiles in advance of the upcoming elections

    In case anyone needs reminding there is still an Irish Labour Party and, another little know fact, Ivana Bacik is its leader. The referendum camaign is going to be a godsend to the likes of Ivana in advance of an election – a chance for RTE to give her round the clock coverage.

    2. turning it in to a culture war and stir up your progressive voters

    It doesn’t matter to government whether these referenda are won or lost. They’re about nothing. But it is a chance to remind your right on voters how much they need you and how much of their values you share and primarily what a threat there is out there to you both. Better get out and vote for us and keep us all safe. It’s us or them and we’re here for you.

    Reply

  2. Daniel BUCKLEY 01/01/2024 at 4:48 pm

    The People of Ireland are waking to the stupefying criminality and corruption of the Regime, and its Institutions of public life, to the obvious bullshit of people in charge who don’t deserve your respect or compliance.
    How they got into these positions is only another feature of that total criminality.
    What was hidden in plain sight will be revealed to those who are waking to their danger of a Regime ,which is their Enemy.
    The Referendum do matter . They are another attempt to increase Mass Migration by allowing Family re-unification under the dubious title of Marriage now refered to a ‘durable relationship’ .
    In legal terms this is open to interpretation and with our compromised systems mit will go only one way.
    Our Republican Constitution is their to protest the People from a tyrannical and dwpsotic Regime.
    It has always been under attack,especially by FG.
    Recent Referndums have weakened this protection in the case of Children ,Family and marriage ,by obfuscating legalese terminology and promotion by the controlled Media/RTE.
    Vote No for your own protection and that of the Nation.

    Reply

  3. Ivaus@thetricolour 07/01/2024 at 10:51 pm

    Refer-end-dumbs, we all should know by now THEY’re DESIRED OUTCOMES.
    CLEAR THE DECKS,because if this draconian bullshit continues to exist in
    IRELAND 2025…ELECTION…we deserve the end of time…scumSCAMS.

    Reply

Leave a reply

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