Posted by Theresa Reidy
Last week, several ministers confirmed that the children’s rights referendum will go ahead in Autumn 2013. And, we are told that Seanad abolition will go before the people in 2014. Despite the proposed referendums ahead, we have heard very little about improving the structures we use for running referendums.
Ireland has a very tightly specified framework for holding referendums. The broad terms are set out in Bunreacht na hÉireann and legislation has laid down the specifics. Perhaps more importantly, a series of court judgements have established some of the most critical elements of referendum campaigns in Ireland (Crottey, McKenna, Coughlan). A 2008 IDEA report concluded that Ireland has the most heavily regulated environment for holding referendums. The experience of several recent referendum campaigns begs the question whether this heavily regulated environment is serving Ireland well. Continue reading