Monday, 23 June 2008

Lisbon Treaty referendum and Ireland's abortion ban

The Sunday Business Post carries an interesting analysis of the critical role played by voters wanting to maintain Ireland's ban on abortion in the "no" verdict on the Lisbon Treaty Irish referendum on 12th June.

On the one hand Protocol 35 to the Lisbon Treaty clearly states: "Nothing in the Treaties, or in the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, or in the Treaties or Acts modifying or supplementing those Treaties, shall affect the application in Ireland of Article 40.3.3. of the Constitution of Ireland."; however, on the other hand, the European Centre for Law and Justice has pointed out in a legal analysis, that this would not necessarily be enough to protect the Irish Constitution from a court decision establishing abortion as a human right. Ireland is one of only three countries within the EU that protects the unborn in this way. A "yes" vote for the Lisbon Treaty might well have brought that protection to an end.