Changing our Constitution can only happen by agreement of the people by way of referendum.
As the Supreme Court said on Thursday:
"The people adopted the Constitution 75 years ago. The Constitution belongs to the people and may be amended only by the people in a Referendum. It is this democratic process which is protected by the McKenna principles. Public funding should not be used in a Referendum to espouse a particular point of view."
If you want a great short primer on why change requires direct public approval check out the historical presentation by High Court Judge Gerard Hogan at this site Constitution Project @ UCC | Constitution Project is an interdisciplinary research cluster at UCC. You will need to roll down the page past four other items before you get to the heading 'The Referendum Process'. There is the video clip and it is really worth viewing to understand why in 1937 it was decided to keep the power to change the Constitution in the hands of the entire electorate and not give it to elected representatives.
The other clip to view there directly on point is UCC Constitutional Law lecturer Dr Maria Cahill. Her account of the Courts upholding that principle under severe pressure is excellent, and again concise.
40 minutes tops and then if you really want some reading material check out the gold standard for running a referendum here:
Code of good practice on Referendums adopted by the Council for Democratic Elections at its 19th meeting (Venice, 16 December 2006) and the Venice Commission.
The Venice Commission Code is mentioned in the concise 500 word Supreme Court ruling in the McCrystal case, which is here: http://supremecourt.ie/Judgments.nsf...8?OpenDocument.
We will face other proposals for change. 70 percent of the electorate feeling so alienated from the process that they abstain from voting is neither inevitable nor healthy.4. The McKenna principles may be found in the several judgments in that case. These principles, which are not in dispute, are consistent with standards recognised both nationally and internationally for a Referendum process, such as the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), Code for Good Practice on Referendums, adopted by the Council for Democratic Elections at its 19th Meeting (Venice, 16 December, 2006) and the Venice Commission at its 70th Plenary Session (Venice, 16 – 17 March, 2007).
We might try a better approach next time. The blueprint is there. Instead of following it, successive governments have been caught trying to subvert it.