Public gets its say for ninth time
THE referendum on the fiscal compact will be the ninth time the public has been consulted on an EU issue.
Twice, the people have rejected the proposal put to them -- in the Nice and Lisbon treaties -- only to ratify them the second time.
• 1972 EC membership: the referendum on EC membership in May 1972 attracted the largest turnout to date in an EU referendum, of 71pc, and was passed by the largest majority of 83pc. Ireland joined the EU in January 1973.
• 1987 Single European Act: after the longest gap between EU referenda of 15 years, the country passed the Single European Act to create a European market by relaxing border controls.
• 1992 Maastricht: the ground rules for a planned single currency were passed with the Maastricht Treaty. It also deepened foreign policy cooperation and gave the European Parliament extra powers. In 1999, the euro appeared on international money markets and it was in general circulation by 2002.
• 1998 Amsterdam: the beginnings of defence and security cooperation kicked in with the Amsterdam Treaty, but the end product was far less than envisaged.
• 2001 Nice I: the first rejection of an EU referendum was the Nice Treaty, which expanded powers of the directly elected European Parliament for the creation of EU laws and also laid ground rules for defence cooperation.
• 2002 Nice II: with assurances on Irish neutrality, the Nice Treaty was finally passed.
• 2008 Lisbon I: again the public rejected an EU referendum with the defeat of the Lisbon Treaty. The successor to the failed European Constitution sought to rationalise and streamline EU institutions, allowing for the creation of an EU Council President and EU foreign policy chief.
• 2009 Lisbon II: after reversing the decision to reduce the number of European Commissioners -- and with every country always having a commissioner -- the referendum was then passed at the second shot.