Ireland. According to
countryaah, the issue of the EU's so-called financial pact,
which, among other things, means stricter budgetary rules
for member states, dominated politics in the spring. As it
was a constitutional amendment, the Irish government had to
let voters vote in a referendum, which was held on May 31.
Most of the major parties pleaded for a yes to the pact; The
exception was Republican Sinn Fein, who argued that a no
would make it easier for Ireland to renegotiate the terms of
its crisis loan from the EU and the International Monetary
Fund (IMF). Jasidan won clearly with just over 60% of the
vote. More than half of the voters participated in the
Even though it meant a clear victory, there was still a
clear dissatisfaction with the two government parties, the
bourgeois Fine Gael and the Social Democratic Labor.
Particularly the latter of the parties lost in support of
opinion polls, while Sinn Fein and its leader Gerry Adams
gained a boost in opinion. Among Labor's constituents there
was a great dissatisfaction with the government's tough
New cuts of € 130 million in healthcare also led to
strong tensions within the government coalition. At the same
time, the IMF felt that even greater savings would be made
within the welfare system. In December, the government
presented another savings package, this time the budget
would be slimmed down by more than EUR 2 billion, including
through reduced child support and the introduction of a new
The economic crisis persisted, but the bright spot was
that the export industry was still doing relatively well.
The Bank of Ireland, the only one of the country's banks not
taken over by the state in connection with the economic
crisis, was able to show a small profit in February for the
first time since 2008, thanks in large part to a tax refund.
In March, it was announced that a major oil discovery had
been made in the sea off Cork in the south.
At the same time, emigration from the country continued.
From April 2011 to April 2012, more than 87,000 people had
left, of whom just over half were Irish. Most people applied
to the US, Canada and Australia.
In May, new demands were made for Sean Brady, leader of
the Catholic Church in Ireland, to step down. According to a
television documentary, the cardinal in 1975 had decided
that the church would not report to the authorities that the
priest Brendan Smyth was suspected of sexual assault against
a 14-year-old boy. Smyth then went on to commit a series of
new offenses before being sentenced in 1994 to four years in
prison in Northern Ireland.
Ireland's harsh abortion legislation came to the
attention in November after a 31-year-old Indian dentist,
Savita Halappanavar, a resident of Galway, had passed away
after being denied an abortion. Although the doctors knew
that the fetus could not survive, doctors at the Galway
hospital refused to do the surgery as long as the fetal
heart was beating. In several Irish cities, vigils were held
to honor the dead woman and to protest against the abortion
laws. Abortion opponents also gathered for manifestations.
In 2010, in connection with three legal proceedings, Ireland
had been criticized by the European Court of Human Rights
for lacking clear legislation on what would apply if women's
lives were in danger. This is despite the fact that the
Supreme Court already in the 1990s ruled that abortion would
be allowed in such cases.