Why did Ireland vote twice on the Lisbon Treaty?

“What do you want for dinner?”
“I dunno. What are you getting?”
“I reckon I might order a pizza. You up for it?”
“What toppings?”
“Pineapple and pepperoni.”
“Ugh, no thanks. I don’t like pineapple.”
“OK, will we just get a pizza with pepperoni on it then? Without the pineapple?”
“I said no.”
“What?”
“I already said no.”
“You said that you didn’t want pineapple?”
“Yea, so why are you asking me again?”
“You’re not really making any sense here, mate. I’m asking if you want a pizza without pineapple on it?”
“How many times do I have to say no?”

The above conversation makes about as much sense as the claim that Ireland was forced to vote twice on the Lisbon Treaty.

Ill-informed fears.

In 2007, the people of Ireland rejected the Lisbon Treaty because of a myriad of reasons. People from all parts of society had various motives and fears that influenced their decision to vote no. In the aftermath of the referendum’s defeat, all of these reasons were collated and studied.

A major part of the problem was that the treaty itself was complex. It was a legal document and those who created it obviously didn’t put much thought into how a treaty full of legal jargon could be sold to an electorate. As a result, a number of ill-informed fears about certain topics started to spread, some of which hadn’t even been mentioned in the treaty.

A number of people felt that the Lisbon Treaty could force us to increase our corporation tax. Others narrowed in on subjects such as abortion, conscription to some sort of super EU army and the lowering of the minimum wage.

It was one big confusing mess and the NO campaign took full advantage of it.

Guarantees.

After the treaty was defeated in 2007, Ireland sought a number of guarantees from the EU. Consequently, we were able to get a number of legally-binding assurances about taxation, abortion and military neutrality. Furthermore, member states also agreed not to reduce the number of Commissioners in the European Union.

Basically, the fears that many people had about the Lisbon Treaty were collected, analysed and addressed. Therefore, the Irish government were able to go back to the people and ask them to vote again, with these new legally-binding assurances in mind.

Whenever this topic is brought up, Eurosceptics will often try to frame it as though Ireland was forced to vote on the exact same treaty twice.

This was not the case.

We had issues with the Lisbon Treaty and those issues were dealt with.

So why wouldn’t we have voted again?

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