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Legislation on Referendums

Legislation for referendums in Ireland is set out in the Referendum Act, 1994 and the Referendum Act, 1998.

There are two types of referendum in Ireland: a constitutional referendum and an ordinary referendum. 

Constitutional Referendum

When the Government wishes to change something in the Irish Constitution it must hold a constitutional referendum. The Irish Constitution can be found at the following link: Irish Constitution

38 constitutional referendums have been held in the State.

Ordinary Referendum

When the Government wishes to introduce a law of national importance, the Seanad and the Dáil can petition the president to hold a referendum.  No ordinary referendum has been held.

Further information on referendums is available at the citizens information website

Video on referendums in Ireland

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is responsible for overseeing the running of referendums in Ireland, an important part of its democratic process. This video shows how and why referendums happen and the State bodies that work to ensure citizens can have their say on referendum day. ( See below for both short and extended version )

Short Version of Video

Referendums in Ireland – making them happen so you can decide (short version)

Extended Version of Video

Referendums in Ireland – making them happen so you can decide (extended version)

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Data Protection

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government requires customers to provide certain personal data in order to carry out our legislative and administrative functions. The Department will treat all information and personal data that you provide as confidential, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection legislation. Personal data may be exchanged with other Government Departments, local authorities, agencies under the aegis of the Department, or other public bodies, in certain circumstances where this is provided for by law. 

The Department's Data Protection Policy and Privacy Statements, which set out how we will use your personal data, as well as providing information regarding your rights as a data subject, are available on the Department’s website.  They are also available in hard copy upon request from the Data Protection Officer, Department of Housing, Planning abd Local Government, Newtown Road, Wexford, email