Thursday 18 January 2018

Voters 'could face multiple polls'

The Taoiseach said several referendums could be held on the same day
The Taoiseach said several referendums could be held on the same day

Multiple referendums could be held on the same day as the much-awaited vote to abolish the Seanad, the Taoiseach has revealed.

Enda Kenny said the public vote, which he hopes will result in a reduction in the number of Oireachtas members, will take place in the autumn.

He said he intends to campaign himself for the scrapping of the upper house.

"Of course I do. Where would I be? Surely you do understand that when I say I will have a referendum on this that I believe in it," Mr Kenny said. "It's a central part of our structure of political reform, thereby reducing the number of Oireachtas members very substantially."

The Taoiseach said if the Constitutional Convention - a group set up to consider changes to the country's constitution - decides to make further amendments, a number of referendums could be held at once.

The convention met for the first time at the start of December where it considered around eight different issues - including same sex marriage, reducing the presidential term and lowering the voting age from 18 to 17 years.

"If they come back with a proposal, they will get an answer one way or another," said Mr Kenny. "It could well be a few referenda depending on what it is we want to do, but certainly the Seanad announcement is going to be in there. It focuses the mind of senators as well."

The Taoiseach insisted the Seanad vote must wait until Ireland's EU presidency term finishes at the end of June.

The Seanad is made up of 60 senators - 11 nominated by the Taoiseach, six elected by graduates of Trinity College Dublin and the National University of Ireland, and the remaining 43 elected by vocational panels.

The Fine Gael-Labour coalition committed to holding a referendum to abolish the second chamber in its Programme for Government. But the Taoiseach insisted that ultimately, the decision lies with the public.

Press Association

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