Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Votes at 18.

Thursday, 4 May 1972

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 260 No. 11

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77.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  asked the Minister for Local Government when he expects to introduce the Bill to provide for votes at 18 for presidential elections, referenda and general elections.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  I propose to move for leave to introduce a Constitution Amendment Bill to provide for votes at 18 years at presidential and Dáil elections and referenda as soon as possible after the holding of the referendum on accession to the European Communities.

Mr. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Could the Parliamentary Secretary say what he means by “as soon as possible”?

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  This term.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  I do not think it will be this term.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Surely it must be this term when the Government envisage the referendum in September?

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  It is envisaged that the referendum will take place in the autumn.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  September?

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  And it may be possible to have it then.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  How can the referendum take place in September if we do not have legislation until September?

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  I did not say——

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  But somebody did say September when this thing was first discussed.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  It is proposed to have legislation through and the referendum taking place in the autumn.

[1750]Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Could I press the Parliamentary Secretary on this because the whole point of the Government announcement of a September referendum was presumably that the collection of names for the register which takes place in September would, this September, include people aged 18 and upwards. The suggestion now that this deadline is not to be adhered to but is to be pushed forward raises the question as to whether we are still guaranteeing that the collection of names in September will cover 18 year olds and that they will go on the register for April, 1973. Are the Government now trying to postpone it to April, 1974?

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  It is the intention tht they should go on for April, 1973.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  That can be done even if the legislation is not enacted until after the names are collected?

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  There will be every endeavour to have the legislation in time.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Everything possible is not good enough.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Question No. 78. We cannot debate a question.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Will this be a very complicated measure?

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  No.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Well, why is it not put through?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Will it be necessary to introduce ordinary legislation to change the provision in regard to local elections in addition to the constitutional amendment legislation which will be required for the other elections and, if so, when is it expected to introduce the ordinary legislation?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  That is a separate question.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  Votes at 18 for local government elections can be done by legislation.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  When?

[1751]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Deputies must put down specific questions if they want specific answers.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Is it not true that this refers to local elections and that I am entitled to inquire about the legislation?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The question refers to Presidential elections and general elections. Question No. 78.

Mr. Cooney: Information on Patrick Mark Cooney  Zoom on Patrick Mark Cooney  Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there has been a judicial opinion expressed to the effect that a referendum is not necessary to make this change?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  That would be a separate question.

Mr. Cooney: Information on Patrick Mark Cooney  Zoom on Patrick Mark Cooney  It arises out of this matter.


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