herald

Thursday 23 October 2014

Voters to get three referenda next spring

Voters will be asked to go to polling stations for at least three referendum votes next spring.

The three issues to be put to the electorate early in 2015 are:

l If same-sex marriage should be allowed by law

l If the voting age should be lowered from 18 to 16

l If the age barrier for candidates in presidential elections should be lowered from the current threshold of 35.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has already confirmed the same-sex marriage referendum would go ahead in the spring, although he has stopped short of expressing confidence that it will be approved by the electorate.

Confusion

Briefing documents given to Environment Minister Alan Kelly by his department state that at least three referenda will take place next year and possibly a number of others, too.

The Oireachtas will have to pass legislation by the end of February if the national votes are to go ahead by next Easter.

The Taoiseach has warned that the same-sex marriage question presented at the referendum must be "carefully structured" to ensure voter confusion is avoided. Mr Kenny said questions put to the public in past referendums have been unclear.

Mr Kenny also reiterated his pledge to campaign for a 'yes' vote in the gay marriage referendum.

"The Government will obviously put that question and as I've said, I believe it should be passed," he said last month.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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