In Ireland, the debate over Maastricht took on an added dimension. The previous Haughey government had sought a guarantee that Ireland would be immune to any changes to the abortion laws of the member states if Maastricht was ratified. The new Taoiseach Albert Reynolds was anxious to ensure that the abortion issue - which was already a controversial topic in Ireland as a result of the X Case - was kept separate from discussion of the Maastricht Treaty, which the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrat government wished to see ratified. Fine Gael also supported that treaty, as did Labour - in contrast to their opposition to the Single European Act in 1987. The only parties to oppose the treaty was the Democratic Left and the Green Party. Democratic Left released literature featuring party leader and MEP Prionsias de Rossa making the case against Maastricht as selling out the rights of women, while also warning of Ireland being made to conform to NATO's nuclear defence policy and of the inability of either national parliaments or the European Parliament to have input on the decisions of bodies such as the European Central Bank. This criticism was echoed by the Green Party, which warned that Irish economic sovereignty could be impinged by "Brussels hold(ing) the purse strings", and that domestic industry would suffer if the treaty was ratified.
Smaller groups more focused on the abortion issue also released literature, but Reynolds and his government were largely successful in their endeavour to treat abortion and the treaty as two separate issues. Reynolds planned to deal with the former in a new referendum later in the year.
|The results of the referendum. The colours indicate which side won in each constituency, the numbers indicate the winning figure.|