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Referenda

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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, Local Government and Heritage 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)

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Extended Version of Video

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

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