When Ireland went back to the polls in 2009, it wasn’t about overturning democracy, but doing it properly
Ever since the UK made the decision to exit the European Union in 2016 there has been a simmering political and public debate on revisiting the outcome in a second referendum. As the Brexit negotiations enter the endgame, a formal campaign for a People’s Vote on the final deal has gathered pace, although the proposition remains contentious. Theresa May claims that a second referendum would be a betrayal of democracy: strong words.
In exploring the legitimacy of holding a second referendum it is worth looking at how and why this has been done in other EU member states. Both Denmark and Ireland held second referendums on EU treaties within 18 months of the first ballot. There is a widespread perception that these second votes were held at the behest of the EU and that these small states were bullied into doing so.