Interestingly this referendum will take place a few weeks before the August "World Meeting of Families."
It will also be likely that the referendum will not be about repealing the 8th.
Simply because an amendement cannot be repealed!
Someone said :
Any provision of this Constitution may be amended, whether by way of variation, addition, or repeal, in the manner provided by this Article.
Every amendement are "Amending Acts", even those rejected, and are published before the constitutional provisions, and thus cannot be considered "provisions" of this constitution, and therefore cannot be themselves amended ("by way of variation, addition, or repeal")
This is what happened before with the 19th Amendement: it allowed for changes to Article 2 and 3 IF the gvt was satisfied that the Good Friday agreement was respected. THEN it provided for the removal of the transitional measures from the constitution. But the Amendement itself remains. All we can do is amend the constitution to vary the Article 40.3.3, or repeal it.
But the 8th Amendement would still be in the constitution: only its effect would have been reversed/varied.
Otherwise, it would put in question all the other amendements since the 8th, as at some level if the 8th had never existed...
- Specifically, how would the 12th Amendment have faired? Would it have been adopted?
- What about the 13th and 14th Amendements, which added to Article 40.3.3. They were adopted. So they would need to be repealed too, as they start by referencing the subsection added by the 8th Amendement!
Would they need to be put back to the public for consideration?
- If you want to repeal the 8th, would you campaign to also repeal the 13th and 14th, giving freedom of travel and information ("relating to services lawfully available in another state.")?
So clearly, beyond the "Repeal the 8th" slogan, which is a pure marketing vehicle, the reality is about what will happen to Article 40.3.3:
- Repeal/remove the whole subsection? (Including right to travel/inform), and be in the same uncertainty as in 1983.
- Edit the wording to be less restrictive, and qualify the priorities: taking into account the unborn, but not acknowledging a "right to life", or making that right not equal to that of the mother
- Edit to constitutionalize the right to travel/inform (abroad), changing the very nature of that sub-section
- Edit to constitutionalize the right to service/travel/inform (at home or abroad), legalizing abortion!
The gvt will choose the wording, and will consider (or pretend to consider) which wording to adopt. And that could make all the difference.
But one thing is sure: it is not as simple as "repealing the 8th"...