The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has announced that the Children's Referendum will be held on Saturday November 10; only the second time that a referendum will be held on a Saturday, the other one was the second referendum on the Nice Treaty, which was held on Saturday October 19 2002.
The amendment to the Constitution says the State recognises and affirms the “rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights”.
Mayo Fine Gael TD, John O’Mahony, has described the decision by the Government to hold the forthcoming referendum on Saturday November 10 as a great day for democracy. Deputy O’Mahony has long campaigned for elections and referenda to be held on a Saturday as it would allow voters living away from home an opportunity to vote.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the members of Young Fine Gael for keeping this issue alive and in front of the parliamentary party. Their perseverance has paid off and they deserve a lot of praise for their efforts. Hopefully, this will just be the start and from here on all elections and referenda will be held at weekends,” he said.
Castlebar Labour councillor Harry Barrett also welcomed the fact that the referendum is to take place on a Saturday. “It’s important that we demonstrate how serious we are about this very important issue and one way to do that is by enabling those still so close to childhood themselves to return to their home polling stations to vote. It’s vital that we hear the voices of college goers and those in the 18 to 22 age group - and one way to facilitate this is by holding the referendum on a Saturday to ensure their fullest participation on this issue.”
The National Youth Council of Ireland has also welcomed the decision. “A weekend date will make it easier for young people in education, training or work away from home to participate,” said Mary Cunningham, director of NYCI.