Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
At its meeting on 5 February 2019, the Government agreed that the preferred option to be put to the people in a referendum to extend the franchise at Presidential elections is for an extension of the franchise to all citizens resident outside the State, including citizens resident in Northern Ireland. More recently, at a meeting of the Government on 11 June 2019, the general scheme of a Constitution Amendment Bill was approved for drafting and for circulation to the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence, for pre-legislative scrutiny. The Committee agreed at its meeting on 27 June 2019 to waive pre-legislative scrutiny.
My Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are currently working in close consultation with the Office of the Attorney General on the preparation of the necessary Constitution Amendment Bill. It is intended that a Bill will be brought to Government shortly for approval to initiate in the Dáil in accordance with Article 46.2 of the Constitution. The publication of the Bill will allow for the establishment of a Referendum Commission in good time and to allow for the holding of a referendum in October/November 2019, subject to the passage of the Bill by both Houses of the Oireachtas.