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The Marriage Referendum
and the Age of Presidential Candidates Referendum

There will be two referendums in May 2015. The Taoiseach has said that they will be held on Friday 22 May. The two referendums are:

  • The Marriage Referendum
  • The Age of Presidential Candidates Referendum

This website will provide you with the unbiased, neutral explanation of what the referendums are about. As an independent body set up under the Referendum Act 1998, our role is to:

  • explain the proposals
  • give additional background information
  • and to encourage people to vote

We show you below how to make sure you are registered to vote.

Between now and the date of the referendums, we will be updating this website regularly. Between now and then there will be plenty of debate and people with strongly-held views will be urging you to vote for or against the proposals. As well as listening to the debate you should make sure you get the unbiased facts about what is proposed. This website will not encourage you to vote yes or no – but we will help you decide by telling you what exactly you are being asked to vote upon.

The Marriage Referendum

This proposal is to include a new clause in the Constitution which, if passed, will mean two people will be able to marry each other regardless of their sex. You can see full details of the Bill here. The explanatory memorandum is available here.

The Age of Presidential Candidates Referendum

This proposal is to reduce the age at which candidates are eligible for election to the office of President of Ireland from 35 years of age to 21. You can see full details of the Bill here. The explanatory memorandum is available here.

If you’re not on the Register, you can’t vote!

In order to vote in the referendums, you have to be on the Register of Electors. To see if you are, you can check the register here.

If you are not registered, or if your details are incorrect, you can download the forms to the register or to change your details here.

Interested in being a monitor at the referendums?

As well as explaining the referendum proposals, increasing awareness and encouraging voting, the Commission will consider and rule on applications from bodies or groups for declaration as approved bodies who may appoint agents, or ‘monitors’, at the referendums to be present at polling stations and at the counting of votes.

If you are interested in being a monitor, you will need to read the attached notes on Approved Bodies and complete the Application Form.

About the Referendum Commission

The Referendum Commission is an independent body that explains the subject matter of referendum proposals, promotes public awareness of a referendum, and encourages the electorate to vote. It is open to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to appoint a Commission any time a referendum is to be held.

A Commission has been appointed for the forthcoming referendums on marriage and on the age of Presidential candidates (technically there are two Commissions, one for each referendum, but they will act as one). It will be chaired by the Hon Mr Justice Kevin Cross of the High Court. Its other members are the Ombudsman, Mr Peter Tyndall; the Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr Seamus McCarthy; the Clerk Assistant of the Dáil, Mr Peter Finnegan; and the Clerk of the Seanad, Ms Deirdre Lane.

Learn more about the Referendum Commission