Friday 24 March 2017

Coalition considers holding one referendum at a time

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

The Government is seriously considering holding just one referendum at a time following the debacle over the loss of the vote on Oireachtas powers.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has suggested taking two referenda on the same day this year, but there are reservations within the Cabinet about this approach.

The list of potential referenda to be held is still growing as the Coalition thinks about a second shot at strengthening the scope of Dail inquiries.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised a vote on abolishing the Seanad this year. The children's rights referendum is also due to the held in 2012. And there may also have to be a referendum on tougher EU scrutiny for members of the euro.

The periods around April/ May and September/October are provisionally pencilled in for the votes. "No decisions have been taken yet," a government source said.

Constitution

The Government is also going to set up a body to examine the entire Constitution, which will result in further referenda. But these won't be decided upon this year.

Mr Kenny has mooted the possibility of holding the Seanad and children's referenda on the same day.

Although these are the only two referenda definitely scheduled for this year, there are concerns within the Government of confusing voters following the Oireachtas powers defeat.

That referendum was held on the same day as the presidential election and the vote on cutting judges' pay.

Some ministers want to ensure the topic of future referenda is the sole focus of debates around polling day to ensure the Government's case can be put effectively.

Irish Independent

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