Citizens’ Assembly to meet in January to consider ‘the manner in which referenda are held’

The Citizens’ Assembly (the Assembly) will meet on the 13th and 14th of January to consider and make recommendations on ‘The manner in which referenda are held’. The work programme for the weekend includes discussion on the history of referendums in Ireland and an examination of voter turnout, super referendums and repeat referendums. There will also be a consideration of the impact of how referendum campaigns are regulated, including in relation to the provision of information to the public by the Referendum Commission and the media.

Today the Chair of the Assembly, the Honourable Ms Mary Laffoy, is calling on all interested groups, organisations and individuals to make a submission on this topic before the deadline of the 22nd December 2017. The submissions can be made on line or by post to the offices of the Assembly 16 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, to arrive no later than 22 December 2017.

The manner in which referenda are held is the fourth topic to be considered by the Assembly and the draft work programme to date includes public presentations, Q&A sessions and private roundtable discussions on the following:

  • History and outcomes of referendums in Ireland;
  • The legal background and process of referendums in Ireland;
  • Consideration of the of how referendum campaigns are regulated, including in relation to the provision of information to the public by the Referendum Commission and the media;
  • Voter turnout, super referendums and repeat referendums;
  • Citizens’ initiatives and direct democracy.

A full and final agenda will be circulated in advance of the January Assembly meeting.


Chair of the Assembly, Ms Laffoy said “The Assembly meeting in January is an opportunity to examine this significant feature of Irish democracy. In our consideration of this topic it is imperative that the Members should receive a full and factual review of the history of referenda in Ireland and of the legal and regulatory changes to the manner which referendum have been held since the foundation of the State.
“As with all topics before the Assembly, the development of our work programme is guided by the Members, whom we endeavour to provide with a comprehensive suite of material that allows them to make considered recommendations.
“Therefore in examining how referendums are held in Ireland it would be remiss of the Assembly to fail to consider the impact of how referendum campaigns are regulated, including in relation to the provision of information to the public by the Referendum Commission and the media. Further to this and in line with the resolution establishing the Assembly we will also give some time to the subject of super referenda days and matters of that nature including voter turnout and repeat referendums.
“With this knowledge of the work programme that will be before the Members I am encouraging people to participate in the Assembly’s work by sending in submissions on the topic.”

All submissions received by the Assembly secretariat may be listed on the website, in order of date received and displayed with a name/name of organisation, and the title of the submission. Submissions can be made online at www.citizensassembly.ie or by post to Citizens Assembly, 16 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, to arrive no later than 22 December 2017.
For more information on the Assembly go to www.citizensassembly.ie .

Media Contact : Síle Murphy/Paraic Gallagher 086 0288 132/087 818 0555 Q4PR, 01 475 1444