Frequently Asked Questions
22. What exactly am I being asked to vote on in this referendum?
You are being asked if Ireland may ratify the Stability Treaty and if the Oireachtas may enact any laws necessitated by the Treaty.
This would be done by adding a new subsection 10 to article 29.4 of the Irish Constitution. It will say:
“The State may ratify the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union done at Brussels on the 2nd day of March 2012. No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of the State under that Treaty or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by bodies competent under that Treaty from having the force of law in the State.’
23. What will my ballot paper say when I go to vote?
For a sample ballot paper click on this link
24. Why does the Treaty refer to this country as Ireland, rather than the Republic of Ireland?
Ireland is the official name used in the Irish Constitution.
Article 4 of Bunreacht na hÉireann states: “The name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland.”
For this reason, Ireland is referred to by its official name, Ireland or Éire, in the Stability Treaty.
25. Have any countries ratified the Treaty yet?
Yes. Three eurozone countries have already ratified the Treaty - Portugal, Greece and Slovenia. This is a quarter of the number required to bring the Treaty into effect. Five of the other eurozone countries have begun the ratification process. The remainder are due to ratify before the end of the year. Once 12 eurozone countries have ratified the Treaty it will come into effect. It does not require unanimity.
So far, only Ireland is ratifying by referendum. As of now, all the other 24 signatories of the Treaty are doing so through their national parliaments.
The countries which currently use the euro are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.
26. Can Ireland prevent the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) being established?
No, Ireland cannot prevent the establishment of the ESM. It can be set up once the ESM Treaty has been ratified by euro Member States representing 90% of the ESM capital commitments. Ireland represents 1.592%.
In addition to the 17 euro countries ratifying the Treaty establishing the ESM, all 27 Member States are in the process of ratifying an amendment to Article 136 of the EU Treaties, which deals with arrangements for the euro, to include a reference to the possibility of a stability mechanism (such as the ESM).
Approval by all Member States is required for the amendment of article 136, which is not a precondition for the ESM being established. The agreed aim of EU governments is to have the ESM set up in July of this year.
27. What is the role of the European Court of Justice in the Stability Treaty?
The only reference to the European Court of Justice in the Treaty is in Article 8. It says that it will be possible for a country to be taken to the European Court of Justice if it doesn’t write the debt and deficit rules into its own national law. If the Court finds against it, and it does not comply, the country might be fined.
There is no other reference to the ECJ in the Stability Treaty.