Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
The Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution Act 2001 is an amendment to the Constitution of Ireland which provided constitutional recognition of local government and required that local government elections occur at least once in every five years. It was approved by referendum on 11 June 1999 and signed into law on 23 June of the same year. The referendum was held the same day as the local and European Parliament elections.
|Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland|
|To provide constitutional recognition of local government|
|Date||11 June 1999|
The structure of local government in Ireland dates back to the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898, subject to amendments since then. There was no reference to local government in the Constitution as adopted in 1937. Local elections were held at irregular intervals: the local elections held previous to the adoption of the Amendment were in 1991, 1985 and 1979. Constitutional recognition of local government was proposed by the All-Party Committee on the Constitution, including a requirement to hold regular election.
Changes to the text
Insertion of a new Article:
- The State recognises the role of local government in providing a forum for the democratic representation of local communities, in exercising and performing at local level powers and functions conferred by law and in promoting by its initiatives the interests of such communities.
- There shall be such directly elected local authorities as may be determined by law and their powers and functions shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be so determined and shall be exercised and performed in accordance with law.
- Elections for members of such local authorities shall be held in accordance with law not later than the end of the fifth year after the year in which they were last held.
- Every citizen who has the right to vote at an election for members of Dáil Éireann and such other persons as may be determined by law shall have the right to vote at an election for members of such of the local authorities referred to in section 2 of this Article as shall be determined by law.
- Casual vacancies in the membership of local authorities referred to in section 2 of this Article shall be filled in accordance with law.
The Amendment was sponsored by the Minister for the Environment and Local Government and was proposed in the Dáil on 11 May 1999 by Minister of State Dan Wallace on behalf of the Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats coalition government led by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. It was passed final stages in the Dáil on 12 May where it was opposed by opposition parties Fine Gael, the Labour Party, the Green Party, the Socialist Party and Independent Tony Gregory. Their opposition was to elements of the drafting rather than the principle of constitutional recognition of local government. It passed final stages in the Seanad on the same day, and proceeded to a referendum on 11 June 1999.
|Constituency||Electorate||Turnout (%)||Votes||Proportion of votes|
|County Cork (Northern Division)||58,242||62.9%||26,053||6,699||79.6%||20.4%|
|County Cork (Southern Division)||136,188||52.5%||51,761||14,172||78.6%||21.4%|
|County Cork (Western Division)||37,426||65.6%||18,143||4,185||81.3%||18.7%|
Note: For this referendum, the constituencies used were each county and city, which were deemed to be constituencies for the purpose of the poll. Usually in Irish referendums the general election constituencies are used.
- "Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill, 1999: Second Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. 11 May 1999. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill, 1999: Committee and Remaining Stages". Houses of the Oireachtas. 12 May 1999. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill, 1999: Report and Final Stages". Houses of the Oireachtas. 12 May 1999. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "S.I. No. 114/1999 - Referendum Commission (Establishment) Order, 1999". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "Referendum Act, 1998". Irish Statute Book. 26 February 1998. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "Referendum Results 1937–2015" (PDF). Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. 23 August 2016. p. 62. Retrieved 15 July 2018.