Referendum 1984: Extension of voting rights in Dáil elections

In 1948, the Irish government made known its intention to soon declare Ireland a Republic. Reaction to this rather unexpected announcement was largely warm, and once the Republic of Ireland Act was officially enacted a year later, the British government responded both with well wishes (including a telegram from King George VI to President O'Kelly) and with its own Ireland Act (1949), which formally acknowledged that Ireland was no longer a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and would henceforth be recognised by the United Kingdom as a Republic.

This act also stipulated that Irish citizens living in the UK would not be treated as aliens under British nationality law and would retain the right to vote in parliamentary elections. The initial Irish act had not included any such provisions, however, which left British citizens living in Ireland disenfranchised. This issue was left unaddressed for decades, until an Electoral Amendment Bill in 1983 sought to restore these peoples' right to vote in Irish elections. President Hillery referred the Bill to the Supreme Court, which rejected it as unconstitutional. Still seeking to address the issue, the government refined the legislation in the next Electoral Amendment Bill two years later, offering British citizens in Ireland the right to vote, but this time only in Dáil elections. A provision was included that would allow this measure to be extended to citizens of other EEC countries if similar provisions were reciprocated - as of 2012, this has not yet occurred.

The Bill was passed by the Oireachtas and was put to a referendum on 14 June 1984. It had the combined support of the ruling Fine Gael-Labour coalition and the main opposition Fianna Fáil party, and was not an issue regarded in any way as being controversial, as quickly evidenced by the results.

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government recorded the results of this
referendum by county and city rather than by constituency.
The low scale of importance attached to the issue was reflected in the low turnout - just 47.5% of the total electorate went out to vote. Overall, the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution was passed by 75.4% of the vote, with 24.6% rejecting it. The highest regional result in favour was in County Clare, which passed the amendment with 80.5%. The lowest was Louth, with 68.6%. The bill became law on 2 August 1984.